Diane Gillian Lantz is the Executive Director of the IGFOA, having held the position since 2015. Prior to the IGFOA, she worked as a consultant to the NWMC, IMET, IGFOA and Illinois local governments. Diane was previously the Assistant Finance Director for the Village of Elk Grove, Assistant Director of Technical Services for the GFOA, and Financial Reporting Manager for the State of Ohio, Office of Budget and Management. While at the State of Ohio, she was integral in implementing a new statewide accounting system and preparing the State’s first comprehensive annual financial report. Diane holds a BS in Business with a major in Accountancy from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio and is a registered CPA in Illinois and Ohio. She is a member of the GFOA, Illinois CPA Society, AICPA, and the Legacy Project.
As a female in local government, what do you feel has changed over the last year?
From my experience, the biggest change is the physical and mental wellbeing of women working in local government. In Illinois, the pandemic upended everyone’s daily lives at warp speed. However, for women in local government, it toppled work-life balance in an instant, especially for women who are also caregivers. Navigating the pandemic meant adapting to an ever-shifting landscape for health & safety, school, childcare, work, and even just finding life’s necessities. I also found that many women were working remotely in sub-optimal conditions and not all local governments support family forward workplace policies. It is probably impossible to measure the scope of now the pandemic has impacted the overall wellbeing of women in local government, but associations such as IGFOA and the Legacy Project, can provide support through networking, education, mentorship, and of course friendship.
2. Did you see yourself becoming a public servant when you were growing up? If not, what else did you picture yourself doing?
No, my goal was to be president of a large company, and then in college I pivoted to the goal of being a partner in a top CPA firm. However, after starting my career as an internal auditor in the private sector, I was dissatisfied with the ironclad structure of job duties and lack of challenges and opportunities to grow, both in technical proficiency and in leadership skills. I earned my CPA, and then after only three years in the workforce, I learned that the State of Ohio was creating a financial reporting team to convert the state to reporting in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. Even though I was grossly underqualified for the position, I convinced them to hire me based on my incredible enthusiasm and desire to take on the challenge! The project was successful, and I have used the skills, knowledge, and experience learned in that role throughout my career. I would never have had those opportunities so early in my career in the private sector.
3. Has there been a local government leader or local elected official who made a difference in your career or life, whether a close mentor or someone that you looked up to? What did they teach you?
There has not been a single person who has made a difference, but rather many who have taught me valuable lessons – both of what and what not to do. These lessons – both positive and negative - resulted in my learning the value of building positive relationships through consideration, transparency, honesty, and basic courtesy; the importance of communication skills, both verbal and written; how to find common ground that leads to compromise and solutions, and most importantly that leadership is so much more than being in charge.
4. What advice do you have for people who are looking to work in a public service role?
The best advice I can give is to take advantage of every opportunity that moves you out of your comfort zone and stretches your technical and leadership skills. Ask for the chance to participate. I don’t think you will be disappointed!
5. What accomplishments, big or small, have you celebrated recently?
Professionally, I celebrate the fact that IGFOA very successfully adapted to the restrictions of the pandemic and continued to successfully adapt as the mitigations changed. IGFOA increased both its public sector and partner membership during a time when those budgets were cut, moved forward with strategic initiatives, and provided relevant and timely education at a time when the need was critical.
On a personal note, I celebrated my youngest son graduating last May, Summa Cum Laude with a BS in Business, major in accountancy (of course) from my alma mater Miami University, Oxford Ohio. He is returning to Miami University in the fall for an MS in Business Analytics.
6. How long have you been part of the Legacy Project? and what do you hope to obtain while being a part of this organization?
I recently became an official member of the Legacy Project but have participated in various events since learning about it from Dawn Peters when I became IGFOA Executive Director in 2015. In being a part of this organization, I hope to grow my own leadership skills and share my lessons learned with other women that will help them succeed in local government.
Past Member Spotlights
Village of Lincolnwood
Paula Martinez, AICP
Assistant to the City Manager
City of Evanston, IL
Village of Oak Park
Village of Bartlett
Acting Village Administrator
Village of Niles
Director of Human Resources
City of St. Charles
Village of Maple Park
UIC - CUPPA
Jake da Silva Passos-Hoioos
Water Plant Superintendent
Village of Western Springs
Business Workforce Compliance Coordinator
City of Evanston
Budget and Admin Services
City of Naperville
Senior Management Analyst
City of Evanston, IL
Dorothy Ann David
City of Champaign, IL
Community Development Intern Village of Elk Grove
Assistant to the Chair, Department of Public Administration,
School of Public and Global Affairs,
Northern Illinois University
Public Works Director
Downers Grove, IL
Assistant to the Village Manager
Downers Grove, IL
East Dundee, IL
Assistant Village Manager