Diane Seif is making her first run for public office, but she’s no stranger to Lee’s Summit, a community she’s been active in for decades.
Seif is one of two candidates who have filed for the District 3 City Council seat so far for the April election. Former District 3 council member Joe Spallo is the other.
Seif said she’s been actively contributing to the community for 35 years as a businesswoman, consultant and volunteer.
In that time, she built two successful businesses, sold them, and since has been working as a consultant for entrepreneurs and a volunteer.
“I feel it’s my civic duty to stay involved and give back to my community,” Seif said.
She was founder of Regulatory/Clinical Consultants Inc. which provided support to hospitals, drug and medical device companies doing clinical trials to get approval from regulatory agencies. She sold that enterprise to an international firm.
Her work in that business earned her many accolades, including twice being a finalist for the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year.
She has served on or is continues on many boards or advisory committees for local not-for-profits, including Lee’s Summit Educational Foundation, Rotary Club of Lee’s Summit, United Way of Greater Kansas City, the Greater Kansas City Health Care Foundation Citizen Action Committee and the Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council.
She said she likes to bring new ideas and concepts to an undertaking and see them advance.
She said Lee’s Summit has endless opportunities for economic development where she could help set the course.
“We have to set some best practices and outcomes that are concrete, and I’m not sure our council is at that point,” Seif said.
She said the city must be visionary and involved in regional planning to be successful in economic development.
“I like cooperation and not a lot of confrontation, it doesn’t get to the end point of growth and helping our city get to be a distinctive type of city,” Seif said.
She said that incentives for business development need to be considered on case-by-case basis, taking into consideration the private investment, the quality of and quantity of jobs created.
Business retention and supporting entrepreneurs is critical, and her business experience would be an asset for the city in those efforts, she said.
The city needs to leverage its advantage of being home to the University of Central Missouri’s Innovation Campus to attract knowledge-based jobs. The city needs to support that effort where it can, she said.
Seif said she that she’s a great supporter of the city’s cultural arts initiative and it “goes hand in hand with economic development.”
She said offering cultural amenities, such as great parks and quality of life, will attract the workforce that employers need to be successful and indirectly influence economic development.
She is on the Lee’s Summit 360 Implementation Committee, which works to see that goals and ideas created in the community’s grassroots strategic plan become real.
“We’re starting to see a lot of those things come to fruition,” Seif said. “That’s what really makes our community distinct.”