Diane Curley Story

Diane Curley is a Registered Nurse by profession, Diane serves at the intersection of leadership & service, providing expert clinical education, compassionate healthcare, & professional oversight & supervision to ensure quality & safety for the healthcare & entertainment industries and the community.

Passionately supporting the mission of Lelt Foundation, a non-profit organization based in New York, as Medical Director, Diane established partnerships to improve the health of the population in two communities  in Ethiopia through increased access to healthcare & humanitarian aid.

Committed to meeting critical needs of victims of war, poverty, famine, disease and natural disaster, she serves on an International Disaster Assistance Response Team and has served the people of the Bahamas, Liberia, Nigeria, & Ethiopia, refugees from Syria, Pakistan & Afghanistan in Greece, refugees at the US southern border, and most recently in NYC Central Park field hospital for Covid19 response.

Challenging the narrative & influencing social media’s message, as CEO/Founder of Celebrating Women LLC, Diane created a global platform to amplify women’s voices and visibility; hosting events, speaking internationally, and writing, editing, and publishing a unifying collection of interviews about women. The interviews are accessible at: www.celebratingwomenusa.org

Please share your early life experiences that impacted you?

Oh the joys of childhood! I was born and raised on Long Island in New York and then my husband and I purchased the home I grew up in and we raised our children there as well. What impacted me most was the loving, stable marriage and home life that my parents provided. My dad delivered bread for almost 40 years and left at 4 in the morning for work each day.  Because he left for work so early, he was usually home in the afternoon shortly after my brothers and I returned home from school.  He would be tired, and even so he would spend time with us (or rather, I would follow him around doing whatever he was doing!) My mom always knew what we needed, and she would magically make it happen.  Cookies after school?  Done. Chores overwhelming you? Mom let us choose to do the chores we found fulfilling.  Arguing with your brothers?

Here is something to read and quiet time alone.  Whatever you needed, mom had a way of knowing and providing. Mom and Dad set the example for how to treat each other and provided a firm foundation of faith, love, values & responsibility.  My family, my home and my neighborhood were a safe place, I was truly allowed to be a child and play and enjoy childhood, which I do not take for granted as so many children are not able to do so.  I am profoundly grateful, and my childhood experiences have shaped me to hold space for others to be safe.  My home is that safe place. I am that safe place.

What challenges have provided the most profound transformation in your leadership style


Navigating the challenges in the healthcare industry has led to shifts in my leadership style over time. As a Registered Nurse I am an advocate, an ally, in service of others.  As a leader you acquire influence, which is a great responsibility. I meet that responsibility through servant leadership, as it aligns with my values and my work. Even so, I have boundaries of behavior that I will not accept, such as disrespect. To rise above the challenges and lead efficaciously, I have learned to care more about improving the outcome than receiving the credit. I have learned to say, “I appreciate you”, rather than “I appreciate that”.  It is a small shift in language, but it means so much more. I have learned to thank my team for their effort, for a great day, even on the not-so-great days. I have learned to recognize and publicly celebrate their acts of kindness and efforts to help. I have learned perfectionism is a control issue and impedes progress.  I have learned when issues arise, not to dwell in the problem, instead to shift my focus toward a safe way forward.

What have been your proudest moments in service?

One of the proud moments in service was providing medical care at the height of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic in New York at the Central Park field hospital.  Living where I do, I enjoy the privileges of access to healthcare, adequate resources, infrastructure, and a social safety net, therefore I typically serve in countries where those basic needs are not as easily met.  The pandemic increased the stress on New York’s healthcare system and our hospitals overflowed with patients.  Suddenly there was a lack of resources, infrastructure and a social safety net and people were dying by the thousands in my own country, my own city.  I volunteered at the hospital they built out of tents in a park and cared for patients who contracted Covid. Something about living through that shared experience was deeply moving. The days were so long and because the need was so great, the team just worked and barely slept, day after day, night after night. My first night there I did not think I could even make it to the next day.  I prayed for strength. The community rallied around us. The people cheered for us each night, the hotels donated rooms for us to sleep in, more volunteers came to help, and the news described us as heroes.  When I arrived back at my home the neighbors lined the streets clapping and cheering for my return.  I knew I had participated in something that had never before happened in American history, and I was very proud to be a part of it.

How has serving on an International Disaster Assistance Response Team impacted you and how you serve as a leader?

Volunteering on the team that is called into action to support a community during war, famine, disease, and natural disasters impacted me deeply.

 I learned to do what I can, while I can, for those in our care.  I learned to be satisfied with providing sufficient care.  I learned even in the hardship, joy is evident, love is everywhere, and hope is alive.

We partner with the local governments, churches and organizations. We serve our brothers and sisters side by side, hand in hand, & heart to heart. They invite us to share in their culture, their lives, and their families.   In Greece I served with a team providing medical care in the streets of Greece for the Syrian, Afghani, and Pakistani refugees that were not able to be in the refugee camp due to immense overcrowding during the Syrian refugee crisis.  In the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian the hospitals were damaged and flooded.  We set up a field hospital of tents where I was on call in the Operating Room 24/7 during my time there.  At the United States Southern border, we assisted the families seeking asylum who are granted a temporary stay. We provided meals, clothing, access to bathrooms and showers and a place to sleep and assist them with travel arrangements.  In Liberia during the Ebola crisis we built and staffed an Ebola Treatment Center to reduce the burden on the healthcare system, I was asked to teach a class at the only nursing school in Liberia, I participated in health clinics at a refugee camp and dispensed medication to so many children diagnosed with malaria, and cared for children whose bodies were stiff and in pain from tetanus at a hospital.  The children were amazing. So resilient, even as they fight diseases that have been eliminated where I live. Many children did not make it. The reality was so painful. But there was also hope: I was asked to visit a teenage girl who was dying with advanced disease and was sleeping on the ground like so many others in the village.  Her body was contracted, she was weak and in pain, others thought there was nothing left to do. And they were right, except I bought a mattress to provide some measure of relief from the cold, hard, dirt floor.  Her relief fueled my hope, my faith, my capacity to love.  That is the miracle….that hope, and faith, and love endure. Every time I serve, I witness that miracle, I protect and defend that miracle.

How do you describe A Role model?

Someone who comes just as they are, not as they wish to be, and by simply being their inherent self, sparks hope within another person.

Please share the most profound moments that led you to start

Celebrating Women LLC.

The narrative surrounding women and portrayed on social media really hit a nerve for me in 2017.  As if women are not living, breathing souls with something important to contribute to society.  I could not believe we were still fighting this battle after all the progress of our sisters from the previous decades.  I believed we needed to take up the work of our sisters and effect change, encouraging the next generation of women as well.  I then participated in a project of Dr. Kirsten Ferguson and with her encouragement I began to interview women and created a blog to share the stories.  I published the blog on social media under the Celebrating Women name with the purpose of challenging the narrative and influencing social media’s message. Celebrating Women incorporated as an LLC in 2018 as a brand, a platform for amplifying women’s voices and visibility, recognizing & celebrating women, and demonstrating that every woman is a role model.

How has publishing a unifying collection of interviews about women impacted you and your life’s mission?

I get so much joy from reading, editing, and publishing the stories, it is indescribable.  I find this project unites us as women, celebrates us as women,  heals us as women, supports the next generation of women, and inspires women and girls to continue to work towards equality and equity for ourselves, and for each other. Just sharing a small part of their lives, is freeing, empowering and inspiring not only for the women interviewing, but for myself and the women they reach through the blog and social media outlets. My mission has expanded to include speaking internationally, hosting events & finding new and different ways to amplify women’s voices and visibility.

What has been the most fulfilling moment in your life?

The most fulfilling moments in my life have occurred after surviving the darkest moments of my life.  And there were many.

Spoiler alert: Love wins!

If you could rewrite a chapter in life, what one would it be?

I would not want to rewrite any chapter completely, but I would like to slightly edit the chapter when I was raising my children, to give them, my husband (and myself) more grace.

Why? Life is both a beautiful and difficult dance, and we could all use a little more grace while we step through circumstances that seek to silence the song in our heart and soul.

I would not want to rewrite that chapter completely because some of the greatest joy came from raising my children, happily playing, and being together.

If you had the power to change one thing in this world what would it be and why?


We are not born with it; how does it even exist? Indifference is a variant of hate, and just as dangerous. Nothing good comes from hate, it simply should not subsist in the world. Prejudice, injustice, inequity and inequality are all products of hate and indifference. The answer is love. There is a meme that responds to hate in this way: I love you. You’re probably thinking you don’t even know me. That’s true, but if people can hate for no reason, I can love. We need to love more freely, easily and for no reason.

 What’s next for Diane?

I will carry on with my peaceful protest of writing and publishing Celebrating Women interviews, and I encourage women to participate! I intend to publish a Celebrating Women book filled with stories and pictures celebrating women as role models and I am considering publishing a quarterly magazine in the meantime. My next trip is to Zimbabwe to volunteer with a team performing cleft lip and cleft palate repair and stop by Ethiopia to visit with friends who have become family to me, and the children we support.

I continue to work in my profession as a Registered Nurse and welcome the peace that comes from returning home to my family, to my home, that safe place.

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