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Friday Feature: Diandra Gourlay

"I was very eager to work for a nonprofit in Detroit that supports individuals and communities and aligns with my personal mission and values."

Diandra Gourlay

Personal values
Diandra's story

Your name: Diandra Gourlay

Your role at Volunteers of America Michigan: Program Manager for the Health Profession Opportunity Grants Program.

What brought you to this position? I was very eager to work for a nonprofit in Detroit that supports individuals and communities and aligns with my personal mission and values. HPOG was specifically appealing to me because I was able to assist individuals in paying for their education and job skill training. In my own life I’ve had financial support from institutions in paying for my education, so I know what a difference that can make.

What is your biggest takeaway from working with Volunteers of America Michigan? The difference we can make in one person’s life and their family’s lives by guiding them through training and job placement.

What is your biggest challenge in this position? When working with individuals in social services, there is no single way to assist everyone. Every situation and every individual is unique, we must remember to keep fresh eyes and minds when we work with each participant.

Where is your dream vacation spot? Anywhere. I love traveling and being immersed in different places and cultures. As long as the food is good, I am happy.

What is your favorite book? It’s hard to pick just one favorite! I love reading in my free time and am usually reading a few books at once. The book I finished most recently was Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino and I loved it!

How do you spend your time outside of the office? Outside of work I stay busy. I enjoy yoga and teach a few classes in Detroit, I am on the Young Professionals Board for Mariner’s Inn, and run a non-fiction book club in the city. I enjoy spending my days in Detroit, being a tourist in my own city and prioritizing travel, in the United States and abroad.

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