When bright-eyed Diane Senffner was a young woman breaking into broadcast journalism, her enthusiasm was soon dampened by the uncomfortable realities of the job. “Horrible things happen, like children dying in a fire. Then they expect you to stick a microphone in the face of grieving parents,” she says of an example that soured her on the business. “It didn’t seem true to me. It didn’t seem like something I would want to do long-term.”
Today, instead of earning her living doing something that wasn’t aligned with her values, Senffner’s made it her business to do something that embodies them. As owner of Cine Learning Productions, she’s helping others harness the power of education to make a positive impact on their organizations, which is an endeavor that is true to her heart.
For a while, her lack of a degree wasn’t an obstacle for her. She began working in hospitality positions, eventually landing a job as a meeting planner. Then she was offered a position with a top technology company, but when she met with the human resources representatives in person, she found herself at a dead end. They said, “Oh, you don’t have a degree. That’s a prerequisite,” she remembers. “I lost a plum position.”
“All the instructors were at the top of their fields, and I learned lots of great practical information that I could use right on the job the same day,” explains Senffner, who earned her bachelor’s degree in 2002 and immediately began the Master of Arts in Adult Education/Distance Learning degree program at University of Phoenix, earning her degree in 2004.
Senffner applied her newly learned skills in her role as director of training and development at Merv Griffin Hotels and later at Research International, where she served as the global organizational development manager, working in London and the U.S. on the professional development of employees in 25 countries.
In 2006, then-Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano appointed Senffner to oversee virtual office training and e-learning for the state’s Medicaid program. “It was specifically geared toward public health education,” she explains.
For three years, Senffner worked on the grant-funded program. “My group won a number of awards in public health for the programs we created,” she says. When the grant ended, Senffner worked for the Arizona Department of Health Services (DHS) for two more years. “I ran their multimedia education department,” she notes.
Senffner and some colleagues from DHS left the agency to found Cine Learning Productions, an interactive education company. “We help companies transform their learning organizations from something strictly classroom-based to a more 21st-century model with multiple learning modalities,” she says.
She and her core team of 12—along with dozens of consultants— develop content and curricula for e-learning, virtual instructor-led training, video and other media platforms to provide clients with relevant and dynamic education tools for leadership, soft skills, new hire orientations, customer service, sales, job skills and compliance training. Clients run the gamut from public health agencies to corporations in a range of industries.
“We put together curriculum and content, we have people who develop the programs, we have filmmakers who film our videos,” says Senffner about her team, which is known for its story-based approach. “People learn best through storytelling. When it becomes more relevant, they remember more and are more engaged.”
– Diane Senffner, MAED/AEDL '04
Despite the long road to her own education, she has no regrets about how her life has played out so far. “I don’t feel like any of my time was wasted,” she says. “Everything in life has given me perspective and experience that has brought me to the point where I am today.” And that’s right where she wants to be.
For gainful employment information, please visit phoenix.edu/programs/gainful-employment.html.