Diane Havlinek is in her fourth year at Presbyterian School as the Chief Finance and Operations Officer. Diane would describe her path to this role as very unconventional but has enjoyed the circuitous journey. She received bachelors and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from Cornell University and spent 5 years in oil and gas at which point she realized that engineering was not her calling. She met a professor from Yale who convinced her to pursue an MBA with a concentration in finance, operations and non-profit business; with that plan Diane and her husband headed off to Yale. Upon graduation Diane returned to Houston and oil and gas for another 5 years before moving to non-profit and academia at Rice University. Wishing to experience the world and an expatriate experience, the following 5 years were spent moving and working internationally for the Independent Schools that her 2 children attended. Her favorite part of that experience was visiting 18 countries in the 24 months that she lived in London, England. Since returning to Houston in 2012 she has worked in finance and operations at two Houston area Independent Schools. In her spare time Diane enjoys traveling, never visiting the same place twice and constantly seeking out interesting new destinations.
Bachelors of Science, Electrical Engineering, Cornell University
Master of Electrical Engineering, Cornell University
Master of Business Administration, Finance and Operations, Yale University
Q & A with DIANE
What are your top five CliftonStrengths, and which ONE do you find yourself leaning into the most these days?
Achiever, Responsibility, Relator, Learner, and Deliberative are my top five strengths. The strength that I find myself leaning into the most these days is responsibility, ensuring that my team has the support to get their jobs done in the most efficient manner possible and ensuring that they can enjoy doing it as much as possible.
What’s your favorite part of the PS Mission ("Family, School and Church united in the education and support of each Child") and why?
I love the word “united” in our Mission because in the end we will only succeed individually if we work together and succeed together, united.
What was your best academic subject when you were in elementary school?
I have been a math nerd my whole life. It was the subject I could excel at without trying therefore it was my safe place.
What’s your go-to comfort food?
Chocolate cake or brownie with vanilla bean ice cream.
What’s your happy place?
I love a good run. When my kids were younger, it was the only time I was alone, now it is when I do the best thinking!
Harry Potter or The Hunger Games?
Harry Potter without a doubt. I have so many great memories of reading those books with my girls. We lived in London when the last three movies were released and I insisted that the girls read the books before they could see the movies. It was a total family affair.
Are Christmas gifts from Santa wrapped or unwrapped?
Wrapped, with special paper. It never even occurred to me that they might not be wrapped.