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Alumni Answers: Diane Smullen

Thursday, January 21 2016 12:00am

Chief financial officer at Cameron Mitchell Restaurants, Smullen has a lot on her plate—some days even literally as she helps taste recipes! Find out more about her job, background, and words of advice.

Tags: Alumni

By Brianna Wilson 

Cmr Portraits 2 28 11 5715AAlumni: Diane Smullen

Current role: Chief Financial Officer, Cameron Mitchell Restaurants

Home base: Columbus, Ohio

Ohio College of Business alumna Diane Smullen oversees accounting, finance, and information technology areas at Cameron Mitchell Restaurants (CMR). On any given day, she does everything from tasting new recipes to meeting with vendors to reviewing marketing efforts. “I love how each day is different; it keeps it exciting,” she said.

But perhaps the most useful thing students can learn from Smullen is not what she does in her current role, rather how she got there. That story starts with OHIO’s College of Business, where Smullen was a finance and accounting double major.

“The professors were very involved with my personal growth,” she explained. “Their commitment set me up for success, and [my experience in] the College was instrumental in giving me the confidence that I needed to make it in the real world.”

Prior to graduation, Smullen turned her internship at Deloitte into a full-time job. There, she worked with a variety of clients, and learned the value of professional relationships—particularly with people who are not your exact peers. 

After leaving Deloitte, she stayed in touch with a client who was then the chief executive financial officer at another local restaurant company. “I loved to pick his brain, and eventually revealed that his job was my dream job, so he contacted me when he knew the role was opening up at CMR,” Smullen said. “That’s somewhat how I got my dream job; through connections. They matter, and building business relationships is very important.”

Smullen also advises students to find a work life balance. “Having a family and a career is more challenging than I realized it would be,” she explained. “But you can do it. You just have to consciously choose to be ‘in the moment’; when you’re at work, be at work. And when you’re at home, be at home.”

- Potpourri –

Pressing questions for Diane Smullen

What’s the most exciting part of your job?

“It changes every single day.”

What advice do you have for students?

“Get involved with student organizations during school. And network--I have my position right now largely because of networking.” 

Why do you continue to support and stay involved with OHIO’s College of Business? 

“It was so instrumental in giving me the confidence that I needed to make it in the real world.”

When you weren’t in class, where could we find you on campus?

“The Delta Sigma Pi office in Copeland." 

What is your favorite Cameron Mitchell restaurant dish?

“The lamb burger at the Guild House.”