Diane Bridgewater is a Des Moines executive who has pursued jobs that added substance to her life.
“I always wanted to work for something that had some kind of meaning,” said Bridgewater, executive vice president and chief financial and administrative officer for LCS. Spun off from the The Weitz Co. several years ago, the company develops, manages and owns senior living communities.

She joined LCS in 2006, so for the last seven years, her focus has been on improving the lives of senior citizens.

For the previous 18 years, Bridgewater worked at DuPont Pioneer, where you could say she brought sustenance to people across the world through the development grain species that can survive in a variety of climates.

Bridgewater’s first job out of college was with KPMG Peat Marwick, where bosses Johnny Danos and Suku Radia asked what types of community service interested her. The year was 1985, and Bridgewater would jump head first into a commitment to serve the community that also has led to serving on the boards of Greater Des Moines’ premier for-profit and nonprofit organizations.

It’s all connected. She points out that Fred Weitz was on the board of directors at DuPont Pioneer, where she spent 18 years and had risen to vice president and chief financial officer when she left for LCS.

Danos persuaded Bridgewater to accept a spot on the Casey’s General Stores Inc. board of directors. The ever-persuasive Radia recruited her to join the Bankers Trust Co. board, but it took two tries to convince her.

In his nominating letter for Women of Influence, Radia said, “I have known Diane for 27 years and we do have one thing in common – both of us majored in accounting and French. … Both professionally and personally, she has led a remarkable life, having accomplished much more than most.”

Bridgewater also has served as a director at United Way of Central Iowa, ChildServe, Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central Iowa, Hospice of Central Iowa and the UNI College of Business dean’s advisory board.

“Diane shared her insight, wisdom and influence in a manner that extended ChildServe’s mission to serve more children and families,” said Lloyd VanderKwaak, ChildServe president and CEO.

Bridgewater and her husband, Gary, also launched Climb Iowa LLC, the state’s largest climbing and training center, after watching their daughter demonstrate an affinity for climbing. The center has served as a melting pot for a variety of cultures, lifestyles and age groups.

“It really happens in the climbing gym,” she said. “It doesn’t matter what your role or title is.”

The professional and community activities aside, Bridgewater said her greatest satisfaction comes from her family life. The Bridgewaters have been married for 27 years, and their son and daughter are now college students.