Q&A with Diana Kotler, Executive Director, Anaheim Transportation Network
Q: In two sentences, give us an overview of your career journey. How did you get from your first professional role to where you are today?
A: I began my journey in Anaheim as intern and never looked back. The City of Anaheim provided me with an opportunity to work on transformational projects ranging from development of the Anaheim Resort Specific Plan to opening of the Honda Center (formerly Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim). My 14-year tenure with the City of Anaheim helped me transition to my current position with the Anaheim Transportation Network. I have been working for Anaheim for 35 years, and I love every moment of it!
Q: What’s the best piece of leadership advice you’ve received?
A: Value your employees. Mentor, develop, advise—all in an effort to build trust and earn respect. You can be a leader only if you have people to lead—they are your greatest asset.
Q: What aspect of your job excites you out of bed in the morning?
A: Our service… seeing smiling faces of families eager to begin their day and make memories that last a lifetime. In many cases, we are the first and last point of contact. Just the thought that we help make Happy Memories makes it all worthwhile.
Q: How do you manage high-pressure situations?
A: I look for the outcome, the rest is a journey. Of course, the road will always have challenges and not everyone along the way will be a “happy camper”, but as long as I am razor-focused on that final outcome and communicate with our employees along the way, the rest is simply focusing on the things I can control.
Q: What is your favorite way to unwind after a long week?
A: Two things: 1. Live music—I don’t care if it’s a cover band at OC Fair or sold-out concert, live music relaxes me, and 2. I backpack once a year, typically through Yosemite, which we call our backyard. I need to get away from the hustle of everyday life, away from TV, news and cell phones and get in touch with nature and the grandeur of our outdoors. I take inspiration in following in the footsteps of Teddy Roosevelt and John Muir—it helps me put everyday issues into perspective.
Q: What is your favorite part about living in Orange County?
A: OC beaches and Angels Baseball!