Diane Olmsted has watched center grow to 40 ministries
Diane Olmsted could have retired a couple years ago.
“I waited longer than I expected to, to retire, because I love to be here,” Diane Olmsted said. “It’s a beautiful place.”
Olmsted is the outreach coordinator for the U.S. Digital Outreach Center. That is her official title anyway.
Unofficially, she is the face of 40 ministries, the receptionist, for all who visit the center.
In 2009, when the outreach center opened, there were about a dozen ministries, Olmsted said. Now, 24 ministries have full-time office space and 16 more utilize community space at the center. These ministries are in adoption and orphan care, arts and education, compassion, counseling, evangelism, mentoring, missions, networking, prayer, and there is a radio station, as well.
All are faith-based, nonprofit organizations.
All rely on Olmsted to help organize all of a ministry’s needs.
Olmsted’s mission is to provide service to those who are serving others.
The Outreach Center offers office space, copy machines, phones, conference rooms. All at no cost to the ministries. The center also has a fitness and massage center, free for ministry employees.
It started out in 2009 with 17,000-square-feet of office space but has expanded in the 11 years.
Olmsted coordinates the conference room space, welcomes visitors, and tells them how to find each office. Each ministry also gets a week every year to receive proceeds from the outreach center’s coffee shop, Engedi Cafe. Olmsted schedules those weeks.
She gives a friendly hello to every employee, every day.
“That may be how God made me,” she said. “I don’t have to work at that. I just enjoy people.”
She is in awe of those who minister.
“I love the Lord, and I love what these people are doing,” Olmsted said. “They’re doing ministry that I can’t get out there and do. It’s maybe not my gift. So I love to support them. I like to see it happen. I like to experience what they are doing.”
Now, though, she is preparing for her next stage in life. Her final day at the center will be July 1. She and her husband Lee are looking forward to retirement, spending time with their three grandchildren. Once the country reopens, traveling to national parks is on the list of things to do.
“It’s going to be nice to have flexibility, to do anything. I will enjoy that,” she said. “But I’m going to miss the people here. I’ll be back around. I’m going to stay in touch with them.”
After all, she expects the center to be around for a long time, too. She is a big reason for the center’s success.
Diane started working for U.S. Digital in customer service in 2004 when she and Lee moved to Vancouver. In 2009, owner David Madore opened the outreach center. Olmsted was asked to be the receptionist.
“It’s just so generous,” she said of the center. “To see that growth, it’s exciting. It’s exciting to be part of it and learn about another new ministry and what their work is. Every day I learn something that wows me that somebody is doing.”
She also wants to thank Madore for making all of this a reality.
“This is just an incredible place,” she said. “David’s heartbeat is for these groups, and he wants us to do all we can to help them.”
Putting Olmsted into the position as the face of the center was a strong start.
“She’s a special person,” said Doug Frazier, the executive director of the center. “She has been the backbone of the outreach for a long time.”
Olmsted never thought of her position in such a way
“It’s very humbling. I don’t think of it in that large of a picture. It’s just (working with) each individual ministry, one at a time,” she said. “It’s been such an honor, an honor to work at this candy-coated beautiful place. The nicest atmosphere.”
That atmosphere got its start with the first friendly face at the center’s reception area.