Every February, Diane Lemonides works a service project she created called “Warming Hearts.” With the help of her local Rotary Club and her son’s hockey team, each week she brings a cooler to gather gallons of soups from eager participants. Then delivers them to Safe Harbor, a homeless shelter near where she lives in West Chester, PA. The following week, she returns empty containers to be filled up again. Her program grows each year. When asked where the idea came from she said, “In my family we always made soup. I love making it and knowing I’m doing something for others.” It’s like that for her: giving is just another thread in her busy day.
Diane is a self-proclaimed “Big-Time Environmentalist.” She supports all kinds of environmental causes, including The Natural Lands Trust, Appalachian Mountain Club and The National Parks program. She has been composting and working an organic garden for years. Since she was a little girl, she’s had an affinity for nature. She recalls as a teen, telling her parents she was going to clean up the town creek. Off she went with a rake, shovel and bag, clearing away all the trash. These days Diane’s often seen participating in her township’s neighborhood clean-up program.
She grew up in a family business. From those strong roots she gained a set of values that carries over into her own business. Values, rooted in an appreciation of the environment, spring forth in her giving nature. She was taught that caring for the land and for others can be blended into everything she does. Family is, for her, “The thread that ties it all together.”
When she isn’t cleaning up parks, she runs Verve Marketing and Design. A marketing company that supports hard-working and caring companies that have unique products and services to offer. Diane and her company provide strategic planning, along with graphics and content. Many of her clients create bespoke items. “I love when people are producing things that are just exceptional that they put their heart and soul into!”
Each year, she and members of her Verve family, as well as other family members and friends, cycle in The Multiple Sclerosis 150 City to Shore ride. The course is a 150-mile ride over two days from the city to the shore line. In the past her company has raised over $7,000 for the local chapter.
In lieu of gifts to her clients, Verve sponsored three children through Children International. This program allowed her to extend family even further. It began when the children were just two years of age and continued until they came of age.
The values she learned growing up thread through Verve Marketing and Design. For Heifer International, Verve handled the entire book packaging for a project called “Dreaming Cows.” It was a series of illustrated books, used as educational tools for children, filling them with an environmental and global perspective. “That was a really meaningful project. I was so glad to be able to do it,” Diane said.
Everyone who works for Diane is part of the family. She actually pays interns and has hosted many of them over the years. “I love to watch them graduate and see where the world takes them,” she said, with pride. One of her past interns, Guy, called one day, unexpectedly. He was on the train back from New York City where he had interviewed for and been offered a great job. If it wasn’t for her, he told her, he wouldn’t have the experience he needed to land that position. “It feels really good to be giving kids a break,” Diane echoed.
Diane likes to work with clients who share her family-based principles. 60% of her business is with Amish craftsmen. Diane understands the challenges they face in balancing family and work, and the need to preserve the business for future generations. Like Diane, her clients have the thread of family through their work.
With a background in arts, working as a designer and art director for many publishing houses across the planet, Diane brings a sharp eye to her work. Not only does that influence her ability to envision and evaluate the visuals to market her clients, it also fuels her appreciation of the bespoke items they create. Her appreciation of art and nature work hand-in-hand in her business.
The thread of family continues throughout her whole life. It keeps her giving wherever it’s needed. Deep-rooted values make her a beneficial member of her community as well as a successful business owner.
To contact Diane, click here.
For more information on the Dreaming Cows series, click here.