Meet the FSA Board: Dianna Rienstra

Dianna Rienstra has been reflecting on her career. As she finds herself on the verge of retirement from her position as Chief Financial Officer with Friends Life Care, she can say with certainty that she feels satisfied with the path she has taken and the impact her work through the years has had on others.

She’s come a long way. Starting off as an Accounting graduate from Montclair State University, flexibility was key as she made her way through a male-dominated industry. In one of her first positions, Rienstra was one of just two females in her entire company. When it came time for her to go out on maternity leave, there was no policy set. “The head of Human Resources—who was the other female employee—said to me, ‘how long do you think your leave should be?’ We figured it out from there!”

In a field that is forever changing, Rienstra believes that each role has truly prepared her for her next position. Having quickly learned that she was drawn to the nonprofit world, she served as an auditor and consultant for organizations focused on education, social services and faith-based service. “I enjoyed the value that I could add to their organization through my skills,” she says.

She discovered that within each nonprofit, she learned its whole story and watched it evolve. “I’d ask: how can they be the best they can be?” Trusting the process, navigating changes and seeing the impact, was rewarding.

Her work brought her to Friends Life Care in 2007, helping clients, who for any variety of reasons—financial, social, or simple personal preference—wished to age at home. Adaptation to the needs of this audience has been ongoing. “We continue to develop different ways to serve. We are always looking for ways to provide for the underserved, and finding ways to help those who in the past had conditions that might have disqualified them.”

While finding solutions for clients is a highlight of her work, Rienstra has also taken great satisfaction in working with her team. She has always been aware of how much there is to see beyond the numbers. Sharing that viewpoint with her staff has been important. She believes that it’s sometimes not enough to simply answer a question, and that taking the time to connect and help someone understand why things are done a certain way is essential to learning. Connecting the Quaker values—thinking about what the question really means and seeing how decisions impact outcomes—is a big part of this approach.

As for her time with FSA, it extends beyond simply her time on the board. Years ago, Friends Life Care and FSA just happened to share office space, giving Rienstra a unique insider’s view into FSA’s journey through the years. “We used to share a conference room!”

She believes the future opportunities are great for FSA and its members, citing a need for ongoing educational programming, organizational development, compliance services and more as the senior population grows.

Regarding her future after Friends Life Care, Rienstra has no doubt she’ll continue with nonprofit board work, but first: she has a list of things she wants to do. “Some things were pushed aside so I could get to my ‘must do’ list.” She will get to them now. Among them are travel with her husband, spending time outdoors and with friends and family, especially her three children and two grandchildren. 

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