Nonprofit hires executive director


Diane Fleser. Courtesy Disability Network West Michigan

A nonprofit focused on helping individuals with disabilities has named its new executive director.

Muskegon-based Disability Network West Michigan, or DNWM, hired Diane Fleser for the role.

DNWM provides independent living resources for people with disabilities in Muskegon, Oceana, Newaygo, Lake and Mason counties.

Fleser will manage day-to-day operations of DNWM, which employs 24 people.

She’ll have oversight of strategic planning, employment, finance, grants, partnerships and related administrative duties.

Fleser will oversee and implement the organization’s strategy on behalf of the board of directors, ensuring that DNWM “builds a diverse board and team that reflects the population it serves.”

John Wahlberg, chair of the DNWM board, said Fleser is “experienced in creating and developing strong mission-drive programs” in the area DNWM serves.

“She has personal contacts and a history of building hands-on community partnerships,” he said.

Flesner’s background

Fleser brings 16 years of professional experience to her new role, including six years with the Michigan Army National Guard, which featured a 12-month deployment to Iraq.

She received multiple medals for her military service.

Most recently, Fleser served as self-sufficiency and community health director with TrueNorth Community Services. She started at True North in 2010, working directly on case management with vulnerable youth and their families.

During her tenure with TrueNorth, Fleser developed, implemented and grew current and new programs, engaged with stakeholders from local communities to the federal level, managed budgets and grants, led communication and continuous improvement efforts and embraced the use of technology to support an increasingly mobile workforce.

In 2016, Fleser was part of a multi-disciplinary team that received the Spectrum Health Synergy Creativity Award for work with individuals and families to improve their wellness and build a healthier community.

Fleser has volunteered with various organizations, including Girls on the Run, Muskegon Habitat for Humanity, United Way and others.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Grand Valley State University and a master’s in science administration from Central Michigan University. She is currently working on her doctorate in interdisciplinary health science from Western Michigan University.

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