From the Editor: November 2017
How many times could Dia Draper have quit? When she was a 10-year-old Army brat shunned by her playmates? When money got tight during her sophomore year of college? When her first marriage dissolved after less than a year?
When the diagnosis was stage 3 colon cancer?
Truth is, there’s no quit in Draper.
As she told contributor Rebecca Perkins Hanissian for this month’s cover story, Draper is “super extroverted,” embraces change, knows “no stranger,” and lives life in the belief that “a setback is a setup for a comeback.”
Today, the 44-year-old Draper serves as the director of strategic initiatives, diversity and inclusion for the MBA program at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, where she works to build and support diversity on campus. The Lyme resident also is the founder of Draper & Co., a performance coaching company, and co-founder, with her wife, Jennifer Jones, of Gift Crate, which assembles personalized gift packages for cancer survivors (and which recently took first place in “The Pitch,” Dartmouth’s entrepreneurship competition for students, faculty and staff).
“She doesn’t forget the experiences that made her the person she is today,” Kalina Newmark, who met Draper in 2013 at Tuck’s Summer Bridge Program, told Hanissian. “She’s a testament to hard work and hustle.”
A testament, too, to the qualities of empathy, candor and good humor that she brings to her work — and her life.
Draper understands the pain people sometimes feel, their need for an honest assessment — and sometimes a “kick in the pants.”
She knows how to laugh at herself and at the world, Sally Jaeger, assistant dean and director of Tuck’s MBA program, told Hanissian. “It’s why there isn’t a student here, minority or not, who doesn’t feel comfortable talking to Dia,” Jaeger said.
I think you’ll be comfortable reading about her, too, especially in Hanissian’s capable hands. Enterprise readers may recall her earlier profiles of Tuck professor Vijay Govindarajan, Dartmouth computer science professor Hany Farid and White River Junction entrepreneur Amy Robb. I’m thankful she agreed to take on the force of nature that is Dia Draper for this month’s edition.
Speaking of being thankful: Believe it or not, there’s more to this time of year than pumpkin spice. It’s also a time — and these days perhaps an especially important time — to reflect on our good fortune. As Newport’s own Sarah Josepha Hale wrote in 1860: “Everything that contributes to bind us in one vast empire together, to quicken the sympathy that makes us feel from the icy North to the sunny South that we are one family, each a member of a great and free Nation, not merely the unit of a remote locality, is worthy of being cherished.”
A little something to chew on between courses.
— Ernie Kohlsaat