10 Years In, and No Sign of Slowing Down
Dianne Eineichner Celebrates 10 Years as Executive Director of Downtown West Allis
Slowing down is not a phrase in Dianne’s vernacular. Whether she is meeting with new businesses or cleaning out brick planters, Dianne lives her job as Executive Director of the Downtown West Allis Business Improvement District (BID). Since starting the position on Valentine’s Day of 2009, she has worked towards building awareness of the downtown, creating some of the biggest events in the city, and keeping the area vibrant and viable.
In honor of her ten years, I decided to ask her ten questions about her time with the Downtown West Allis BID and give our followers a behind the scenes look at what it takes to be an Executive Director.
E: What was your first thought when you were offered the Executive Director position?
D: Honestly? That I wasn’t qualified and lacked experience because I wasn’t a business owner. I later learned that being a business owner wasn’t a big part of the job, but understanding small business and being an advocate for them was more important.
E: Was this a career path you saw yourself going down before you were offered the job?
D: No! I’ve always been a very organized, analytical person and this is the job of an extrovert. It didn’t take long though for me to learn to be out going and now I consider our members family, and they treat me and my family like we’re members of theirs.
E: How did you get involved with the organization?
D: In 2006, my kids were all out of elementary school and I was looking for a part time job. There was a ad in the paper for a program assistant with Downtown West Allis. I was good at office work and the hours worked for mw, so I applied. Shortly after accepting the job, I fell in love with the organization’s mission and projects they were working on, especially the marketing, and I got my whole family involved!
E: Whenever someone starts a new job, they usually set goals for themselves. What was a goal you set?
D: When I took over in 2009, our members knew they were paying BID Dues but they weren’t sure what the organization did. I made it my goal to make sure our members were informed about the organization and everything we were doing and offered. I like to think I have met this goal by making myself readily available for any questions or concerns a member might have, and if I don’t know the answer, finding someone who does.
E: Working for a non-profit is tough, especially when there is so much competition and having to justify what your purpose is. Why do you feel an organization like the BID is important?
D: The BID has created a singular voice for our business community. When a group gets together and has one voice and one mission, they are a lot stronger and more powerful than business and property owners only looking out for themselves. The businesses in West Allis Downtown look out for each other and the area as a whole, which plays a big part in our success.
E: You definitely have a unique job. What is something you love about your position as Executive Director?
D: There is never a dull moment! Between meeting with businesses and planning events, the days go by so fast! I also enjoy that I’m constantly learning. There’s always new knowledge to take in and use to make our organization better.
E: Since I asked what you love about the job, I have to ask, what is something you don’t like?
D: I hate that I can’t solve everyone’s problems and make everyone happy. It’s frustrating because I want to help, and I’ll do everything I can, but sometimes all I can do is listen.
E: In your ten years as Executive Director, what is one thing this job has taught you?
D: Change doesn’t happen overnight. This job takes a lot of patience and the ability to work with different personalities and follow different procedures.
E: Do you have a favorite memory from your time here with Downtown West Allis?
D: At the time it wasn’t my favorite, but looking back it would have to be the Monsoon of 2008! It was the very first West Allis A La Carte and it down poured from 6 AM to 12 Noon while we were setting up. Everyone was giving me grief because I refused to cancel the event, but now, we look back and laugh and realized we learned a lot about the art of outdoor event planning that day!
E: Ten years is a long time for someone to be in an Executive Director position, and you don’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. What do you hope to see in West Allis Downtown in the next ten years?
D: I hope to see an increase in foot traffic and businesses that will bring people out of their homes to interact and socialize, like art galleries, theatres, restaurants, businesses of that nature. I think the more activities and unique businesses we provide, the easier it will be to position West Allis Downtown as a destination.