Attributing much of her success to her confidence, Diane L. Baird also credits the fact that she was older and more mature when she returned to school. First completing coursework at Shepherd College, she went on to obtain a Master of Science from the West Virginia University. She excelled in her studies, impressing her professors, who encouraged her to pursue a career in programming. After graduating, she took a government aptitude test that simulated writing a computer program and was assigned to work in production for the U.S. Navy. Transferring to the database division, she went on to join the Defense Information Systems Agency as a problem manager, a position she would hold for three decades until her retirement.
During her tenure with the Defense Information Systems Agency, Ms. Baird continued her work with the U.S. Navy, managing the utility programs for Navy equipment and weapons, writing and creating security systems, and overseeing all the Navy’s purchasing. She is also notable for creating an indexed database that allows for the easy access and retrieval of data, which she traveled to Washington, D.C., to present to the Navy’s admirals. While her database was not used entire, aspects of it did end up being incorporated into many of the Navy’s programs. Rising to the rank of supervisor, Ms. Baird cultivated considerable expertise in management as she oversaw a team of database specialists.
When her branch was eventually dissolved, Ms. Baird was retained as a problem manager and, due to her years of experience and expertise in data processing and management, was put in charge of the entire management program. Throughout her career, she continued to further her education and expertise by seeking out additional management training that was offered by the Defense Information Systems Agency. As she grew professionally, she noted how vital it is to recognize people for the work they do, and, to that end, she made a point to write all of her team members letters around Christmas time praising and thanking them for their work. Ms. Baird was frequently recognized herself with appointments as a group leader among her peers.
In addition to her primary responsibilities, Ms. Baird considers her favorite part of her career to be the opportunities she has had to teach others. She spent time as an instructor at Hagerstown Community College, where she taught courses about data processing that were geared toward senior citizens. Looking toward the future, she hopes to continue to proffer her expertise through presentations and other public speaking events. She previously made her mark as a public speaker during the retirement ceremony for the head of the Defense Information Systems Agency’s data center, where her speech was the most well received of all the speeches given. Even earlier, Ms. Baird had been asked by one of her teachers to write a poem for his retirement as well.
Ms. Baird has been continually motivated throughout all of her endeavors by her deep, abiding love for designing programs and all things mathematical. Above everything, she considers the highlight of her career to be the major computer program that she wrote. Furthermore, she hopes to leave a legacy as an accomplished woman professional in a very male-dominated industry, who thrived in the field of data processing and helped people to the utmost of her ability. In her retirement, Ms. Baird has turned her attention to environmental causes and is a donor to both the World Wildlife Fund and the Sierra Club.