A Conversation with Diana Lowe 

re: Bloom is excited to welcome new board President, Diana Lowe, Founder and President of Humbly At Your Service. Diana brings extensive experience as a small business owner, particularly as a Black woman entrepreneur in Pittsburgh.

Chelsea Cavlovic

April 24, 2024

re: Bloom is excited to welcome new board President, Diana Lowe, Founder and President of Humbly At Your Service. Diana brings extensive experience as a small business owner, particularly as a Black woman entrepreneur in Pittsburgh. Her humble confidence is a valuable asset to re:Bloom, and we are privileged to have her in this leadership role. Please join us in welcoming Diana Lowe to our community.

In my conversation with Diana, I couldn’t help but feel inspired by her lived experiences, resilience, and courage. Speaking with her was a reminder that although nothing is guaranteed, with the support of your community, a good business sense, and a touch of audacity, you can bet on yourself and win. 

Becoming a Small Business Owner

Born and raised in Pittsburgh’s North Side, Diana was a single mother working for UPMC when life pushed her to take a chance on herself. “In 2016, I was working at UPMC as an Executive Assistant, and in October of that year, the department I worked for downsized. I just realized that they don’t care about us as people.”

After her layoff, Diana took time to process her grief and eventually decided to embrace the uncertainty and take a leap of faith. “I had been working on my own administrative assistant business, Humbly At Your Service, since 2006. I had never ventured off to do my own business because there was a perceived sense of security and stability but I realized there is no security - nothing is guaranteed but God. I was laid off in October 2016 and by January 2017, I had gone from a sole proprietor to an LLC and decided to take the chance on myself. It was scary but it was rewarding.”

Diana continued, “It was hard. I didn’t have much money in those first few years, and I had to take everything day by day. I had to focus on how to get bread on the table that day. I wouldn’t worry about how I’d get bread for next week.” She had to learn everything about running a business, especially how to value herself and her skills. “It took years to make enough money and start planning the future again but I still had more financial and personal freedom than I ever had before”. 

Finding Empowerment in Identity

Owning a small business is challenging, and navigating it as a woman and minority adds even more barriers. Despite that, she found confidence in her identity.  “I am three things, a woman, black, and a black woman. Each one of these identities comes with its challenges”. Despite enduring misogyny and racism as a small business owner, Diana finds empowerment in her entrepreneurial journey.  “I choose who I contract with and I can set clear boundaries with clients. If I’m uncomfortable with something, I don’t have to work with them. As I’ve gotten older, I am more confident in who I am and how I show up. If they want to walk away from that because I am a woman or because I am a black woman, then they’ve lost a qualified, organized, and confident person.” 

In a city that was named “The Worst Place for Black Women to Live” (CityLab 2019), the challenges faced by black women entrepreneurs is heightened. Diana’s advice is to “connect with other women. Women have unique things that are normal for women entrepreneurs but need to be addressed in general discussions about small business. Racism and misogyny are a very real part of being a small business owner. It’s exhausting juggling appearance and perception and it helps to connect with peers and lean into support networks such as entrepreneursforever.org and social media groups.”  She says,  “there are authentic, safe spaces where black women grow and develop as business owners.” 

Stepping into Leadership: Diana's Journey to the Board Presidency

Diana believes that re:Bloom is one of those authentic and safe spaces. Discovering re:Bloom came at a time when Diana felt overwhelmed by the daunting prospect of improving her online presence. Reflecting on her experience, she remarks, "The re:Bloom program transformed something seemingly insurmountable into something tangible. They showed me how to use the technology and taught me how it was beneficial. It created trust.”  

Having dedicated a year to the board, Diana was asked to lead the Board. Initially hesitant, she recalls, "At first, I declined, uncertain of my qualifications to lead... but after thoughtful discussions with fellow board members and praying, I chose to once again bet on myself." Her decision to lead was confirmed because she “trusts the collaboration of the board and of re: Bloom to be inclusive, to have all the conversations, and to create trust.” 

Gratitude and Inspiration

At re:Bloom, we are thrilled to have Diana in this leadership role. Her experience is a testament to the power of resiliency and community. Her final piece of advice for someone betting on themselves is that “it’s hard, but it is rewarding. You have to believe in yourself, and that takes courage, strength, and audacity.”