Diane R. Irvin, B.A., B.S. Co-Founder
Diane was raised throughout the deep South. She earned her B.A. in English with a minor in Education, from Centenary College in Shreveport, Louisiana. Having lived only in segregated neighborhoods, she knew little about African Americans until she began teaching seventh grade in an all-black school in rural Louisiana. There she experienced systemic racism, the socio-economic suppression and exploitation of African Americans, and the social systems that limit their opportunities. She also learned that her passion was outside of the classroom, in social work.
After moving to Colorado, she earned a B.S. in Sociology from Colorado State University and worked for a county department of Social Services. Her caseload focused on families and victims of physical and sexual abuse.
Diane was drawn to organizing her mostly Hispanic Denver neighborhood. The active neighborhood association she co-founded empowered residents to close five disreputable bars, obtain Historic Landmark status for a school to prevent its demolition, eliminate gang graffiti, and shut down drug houses. The bilingual newsletter she started was a powerful community organizing tool.
In her column for a local bilingual newspaper, she exposed public officials for diverting a $26 million dollar grant obtained by her Hispanic neighborhood to areas that had far more resources, and for not providing quality city services to minority neighborhoods.
In 1988, Diane co-founded a human resource and organizational development firm that conducted employee exit interviews for companies in thirty countries and in nine languages. Each company’s combined data produced a turnover report that helped management improve working conditions. Besides retaining talent they had invested in, these companies benefited by increasing employee engagement and performance. This improved productivity, reduced the high cost of turnover, and increased profits. She left the company after twenty-seven years.
In 2017, Diane founded 3 R’s, LLC, which provides management and administrative services for before and after-school childcare providers for K-8 children in the schools they attend. The organization actively seeks parents who need financial assistance for childcare, and some families they serve are homeless. They offer community-based bilingual care in schools where Spanish is the primary language.
Willem T. O’Reilly, B.S., M.A., Ph.D. Co-Founder
Willem was raised in Chicago and Northern Illinois, where he attended public and Catholic schools. The oldest of fourteen children, he graduated from the University of Notre Dame with financial assistance from Lyndon Johnson’s anti-poverty Educational Opportunity Program, and earned a B.S. in Mathematics. Next, he completed an M.A. in Speech and Theater at Indiana University, Bloomington, and then earned his Ph.D. in Dramatic Art at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
For ten years, Willem held faculty positions in Pennsylvania and New Jersey in theater and performing arts, teaching a full range of performance and literature classes, as well as multi-disciplinary honors courses.
He transitioned through positions with the Basic Skills Assessment Program at the Dept. of Higher Education in New Jersey and the Office of Academic Planning at Rutgers University. In the latter, he co-authored budget requests to the State Legislature of New Jersey for new degree programs.
Willem then began a distinguished ten-year career in development and fundraising at Princeton University as part of a capital campaign that raised $750 million. He is most proud of his funding contribution to Princeton’s undergraduate physics laboratory. While there, he co-founded the Diversity Table program, which led him to co-found the Diversity and Spirituality Network.
His grantwriting skills then took him to the University of Pennsylvania where he was part of a campaign that raised $1 billion. While there, Willem earned a Certificate in Management at the university’s Wharton School. Soon thereafter, he left for a less hectic pace in Colorado.
At Colorado Mountain College, he taught Public Speaking, English Composition, Philosophy, and American Literature. In the mountain towns, he also served on the board of Habitat for Humanity and as Co-Chair of the social concerns committee at his church.
As a freelance writer, Willem has created business materials and online courses, including on decision making and problem solving. While a full-time caregiver for his spouse with Alzheimer’s, he published What Do I Do Now? A Caregiver’s Journey with Alzheimer’s. He has spoken in Colorado, Oregon, Arizona, and Illinois on caregiving for Alzheimer’s patients.
Recently, he was a Policy Analyst at the Colorado State Legislature, working with Representative Dafna Michaelson Jenet on her progressive agenda.
Having adopted three children from the Philippines, and with three mixed-race grandchildren, Willem is passionate about education and diversity. As an advocate for a mentally ill, addicted family member, he experienced serious flaws in the criminal justice system. This has amplified his motivation to aid efforts to reform that system, including, in particular, The Innocence Project and the Equal Justice Initiative.