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"LEADER" Online: Vol. 6, No. 2

Diane Lewis: Leader & Trainer Extraordinaire


Since 1987, Tennessee leader Diane Lewis, M.S.S.W., A.C.S.W., has trained thousands of parents and leaders in Active Parenting principles. Today her popular Knoxville parenting programs and special Leader Training Workshops in Gatlinburg draw a steady stream of participants. LEADER talked with Diane to learn some of the secrets to her success.

How did you get involved with Active Parenting?
I’m a clinical social worker and in 1987 I was searching for a program to use with parents who needed to learn more effective parenting skills. With the Active Parenting program videos, the parents can see what good, effective parenting and communication within a family looks like. The theory comes alive on the screen and the role-playing sessions help them model appropriate parenting techniques they can use later at home.

How have you grown your parenting education program?
In 1990 I started Lewis & Associates Educational Consultants and Training Group, a consulting and training organization specializing in parenting education and leadership development. We offer many programs including parent and leader training for 1,2,3,4 Parents!, Active Parenting Today, Active Parenting of Teens, Parents on Board, Active Teaching, and Active Christian Parenting.

How do you generate interest in your classes?
Parent education is my passion and I am constantly looking for ways I can partner with local organizations such as the public school system, community college, social service organizations, civic groups, chambers of commerce, United Way, and faith communities. I offer to come and speak at a meeting as a way of jump-starting a discussion about the need for parenting education. I help groups find and apply for grants to fund their program.

Your Gatlinburg Leader Training Workshops are extremely popular and draw people from all over the country. How did those start?
Well, I know from personal experience that people in the helping professions need respite and relaxation. Gatlinburg is beautiful in the spring and fall and I found a wonderful hotel to host us. I keep the group to about 12 people to develop an intimate atmosphere where people really get to know each other during the training session. I would encourage other trainers to explore nearby resort areas as possible training sites.

What keeps you motivated?
I really enjoy making a difference and being a part of a movement (parenting education) that is having an impact on the life of generations to come. It’s a joy to see “the light go on” as moms and dads learn new ways of parenting their children. By training new leaders I am helping to extend parenting education into more families. The potential for change is so exciting!

Reprinted from Leader magazine.
Copyright 2001 by Active Parenting Publishers, Inc.