Diane M. Simard is a psycho-oncology influencer and advocate to expand access to mental health resources for those impacted by the psychological trauma of cancer. A survivor of late-Stage III breast cancer, she is also a senior aerospace executive, board member, and business strategy accelerator with over 30 years of experience positioning early-stage companies for substantial capital events.
Diane is the former Board Secretary and member of the Executive, Compensation and Audit Committees of Bye Aerospace Inc. She was also Executive Vice President for the company, which is FAA-certifying the eFlyer family of all-electric aircraft for pilot training, air taxi, and regional business travel markets. Diane has had executive roles in media and stakeholder relations where she coordinated administrative actions during the merger of Bye Aerospace with a former subsidiary company. Activities included maintaining personal communication with 150 stockholders from both companies, organizing board and shareholder approvals, and canceling/re-issuing shares, options, and warrants.
Previously, she was co-owner and marketing executive of Integrated Information Technology Corp. (IITC), an information technology services contractor to the U.S. military, before the company was acquired by PEC Solutions for $34 million. In addition, she had various executive leadership roles in marketing at UAI Financial in Dallas, Texas.
Diane was a co-founder and served on the boards of Aero Electric Aircraft Corp. and Silent Falcon UAS Technologies, plus she served on the boards of Colorado Capital Bank, LERI, and Beyond Aviation. Recently, she completed Deloitte’s Board Readiness Program and is participating in a Soulful Inspired Mastermind course. Her volunteer board service includes Mental Health Colorado, Colorado Women’s College, Community College of Aurora Foundation (Board Chair and Executive Committee), Colorado Freedom Memorial, Aurora Chamber of Commerce and Defense Council (first female Chair), and Escuela de Guadalupe Leadership Council. She was selected to attend the U.S. Department of Defense’s Joint Civilian Orientation Conference and represented Region 8 on the Small Business Administration’s Executive Committee for the National Advisory Council, a U.S. Presidential appointment.
Within three months of completing a challenging breast cancer treatment protocol, she seed-funded a specialty at the University of Denver called the Center for Oncology Psychology Excellence (COPE), the first specialty in the country to offer psycho-oncology training at the graduate level. She has since helped launch a mental health therapy pilot grant program through the Ray of Hope Colorado Cancer Foundation and serves as a Patient Advisor for Blue Note Therapeutics, a prescription-based digital therapeutics company.
Diane wrote a five-star memoir, The Unlikely Gift of Breast Cancer, that describes how she used her business acumen to overcome cancer-related anxiety, and how the process of self-discovery motivated her to establish COPE. The Unlikely Gift was named one of the “Best Breast Cancer Books of All Time” by Book Authority and placed third in the memoir category of the 2019 Colorado Independent Publishers Association book awards, an international competition. Diane’s COPE story is featured in Courageous Warriors: Beauty from the Ashes, a multi award-winning independent documentary film.
Recognized as one of the 100 inaugural “National Women in Business to Watch” by BizWomen.com, her board service has focused on governance, risk mitigation, strategic planning, and resource management. Other honors include Top 25 Most Powerful Colorado Women in Business, Outstanding Woman in Business – Technology & Telecom and Top 40 Woman in Energy by the Denver Business Journal, Bob Cardenas Award for Outstanding Support of the Military, Mile High Girl Scouts Woman of Distinction, and Aurora Chamber Woman of the Year.