June 03, 2017
It breaks our hearts to announce that a very special member of our Kids’ Fest Family, Diana Stewart-Imbert, our Education and Volunteer Manager, is retiring from the Festival after spending 20 years with us. Over the years, Diana has worked in many roles at the Festival. She started out as the Stage Manager for Green Thumb Theatre shows performing at the Festival, then as a site coordinator and then, 15 years ago she began in her current and final role as the Festival’s Education and Volunteer Manager.
Diana is one of the most generous people we have ever had the privilege to work with which is one of the reasons she is so amazing at her job. Her dedication to her volunteers is admirable and as a result she brings out the best in them and in those working alongside her. Diana has managed over 1,200 volunteers a year, so that means during her time with the Festival, she has guided and provided opportunities for over 18,000 volunteers! We often hear from volunteers that their experience working with the festival has been life changing and this is due to the hard work of Diana!
She is often the glue that holds us all together, making us laugh, reminding us to have fun while working hard, and her keen eye for detail has saved us more than once. Diana, is a delight; she’s smart, fun, kind, committed and strong. Her dedication to the Festival over the past 20 years is an inspiration to all of us who have and continue to work with her. Her kindness and wicked sense of humour have carried us all forward through both the struggles and the fun times.
Thank you, Diana from the bottom of our hearts for everything you have done for both the Festival and the Volunteers, you are a rock star and will be seriously missed!
Diana has many things planned for her retirement and we wish her all the best in her new adventures. Listen to this beautiful Diana Farewell song written and performed by non-other than Fred Penner and learn more about her in the following Q&A:
What would you say is your overall highlight of working with The Vancouver International Children’s Festival for 20 years?
I enjoy working with volunteers and helping them leave the festival more self-actualized.
What has been your very favourite part of the Festival each year?
Any chance I get to see a show and mingle with staff and crew!
What kept you so intrigued by the Festival for decades?
The festival faced challenges through the years that we had to find a way to resolve and overcome which always kept me very motivated. We also had to keep up with the ever-changing technology and social waves.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
I see myself gardening in Galicia, Spain and travelling more often.
Ideally, what do you plan to do once you retire?
I would like to explore things I haven’t had time to such as: getting my 1996 Renault Caravelle Convertible back on the road, renovating my house, and writing!
Is there a particular thing at previous Festival’s that stands out to you the most? If so, why?
I loved sitting outside after Festival hours in Vanier Park and mingling with people in the Performer Lounge.
What has been the most rewarding part of creating these Festivals for the public?
Becoming intergenerational and seeing people’s faces light up with joy when asked if they had been to a previous festival.
Do you have any hidden talents that we should know about?
I am quite the fan of bacteriology and virology. I have some interesting theories I would like to write about!
What do you wish other people knew about the Festival?
How complex it is and how long it takes to put it together. It doesn’t just take a month or so, it’s well over a year before we are able to get it up and running.
What might someone be surprised to know about you?
I lived in France for 9 years!
What would you like to see happen at future Festivals?
I have always wanted there to be an opening parade with a long ribbon and fun entertainment to kick-start the festivities!