C3 Fellow Diane BarberDiane Barber is not a quitter.
A mother of adult children who struggled with her own physical limitations, Barber was looking for a lifestyle change. A new routine of daily workouts at the gym gave Barber renewed confidence in her abilities, accompanied by a sense that her personal progress could be an infectious catalyst.
The positive physical changes she experienced inspired her to make a professional change that would enable her to spread a message of positive self-growth through her daily work. Barber decided to leave her career as a medical records administrator and enroll at Saint Paul College to pursue an associate’s degree in accounting and personal training with a certificate in holistic nutrition.
Barber became a Central Corridor College (C3) Fellow to connect with health care providers in the Twin Cities. The C3 Fellows program offers students living along the Metro Transit Green Line opportunities to gain entry-level and necessary experience to become successful health care professionals.
A Bumpy Start to Career Change
Barber’s experience as a mid-career adult returning to school at Saint Paul College got off to a bumpy start.
She suffered a concussion during her first year while pursuing an Associate’s Degree in Personal Training. Related health setbacks including weaker memory required extra effort on her part to write all of her thoughts down so as not to forget them later. She struggled in a required statistics course, but got a tutor, and worked through tears of frustration to complete the course. Every day, Barber was determined to work harder so that she could progress and succeed in her health care career.
Casual Encounter Opens Doors
In 2013, Barber unintentionally introduced herself to Brian Mogren, C3 Fellows Program Director, while casually inquiring about a poster advertising the various professional opportunities offered through the Fellowship. Mogren introduced himself and encouraged Barber to meet with him later that afternoon.
“Before meeting Brian, I never thought that I could be a C3 Fellow,” she said. “He encouraged me to apply that afternoon. I am so grateful that I bumped into him that day.”
Following their conversation, Barber successfully applied for a position at Region’s Hospital/HealthPartners as an administrative assistant. For a year, this position allowed Barber to financially support herself while attending classes, and helped her build a network within the health care field. After her conversation with Mogren, she learned the importance of effective communication and to never be afraid to ask for what you need. Barber’s proactive inquiry about the C3 Fellows program set her on a path for success during and after her time at Saint Paul College.
Barber maintains a close connection with Mogren and the C3 Fellows program. As a C3 Fellow, she has taken advantage of the opportunity to attend several hospital tours, learn tips on how to maintain a job, and build confidence in her skills in establishing professional connections. Today, she continues to find ways to give back to her community and the C3 Fellows program so that others can follow in her footsteps.
As a C3 Fellows alumnus, Barber volunteers to lead the Scrubs Camp hosted by Gillette Children’s Hospital. In this mentorship role, she has the opportunity to inspire young adults. One of the biggest lessons she teaches her students is, “Don’t be afraid to follow your goals. All you have to do is trust yourself and never quit.”
With that attitude, there is no question that Barber will continue to experience success in her career as a personal trainer, helping to shape healthier, happier lifestyles for people in the Twin Cities.