by Janis Von Kaenel
Hinsdale Magazine, February 2019
Diveheart executive director Tinamarie Hernandez talks about giving back
She describes herself as the person you don’t think of when great things happen, but to others, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Tinamarie Hernandez, executive director of Diveheart and full-time consultant for Accenture, does so much more than she realizes, and is someone to be admired. Hernandez said she’s “never the fireman rescuing the baby from the burning house, but the person who made sure he head his equipment at the ready and the training he needed to get the job done.” That statement in itself is one modest cape-wearing superhero.
Growing up in the western suburbs, Hernandez graduated from Northern Illinois University in De Kalb, and then proceeded to the University of Denver for graduate school. She acquired a job at Accenture in 1997 as a consultant which enabled her love of learning and travel. Hernandez has always been someone to keep herself busy with second jobs, photography, diving, quilting and volunteer work, immersing herself as a Sunday school teacher, being active in her children’s PTA and even the Special Olympics.
She got involved as a volunteer at Diveheart, an organization that builds confidence, independence and self-esteem in children, adults and veterans with disabilities through scuba-diving, scuba-therapy and related activities, in 2011 and jumped in with both feed, developing into her current role as executive director.
“At the time I started volunteering and then working for Diveheart, I was at a point in my professional life where I was questioning my value and the skills I had developed,” Hernandez said. “As it does for so many people, Diveheart has given me a purpose, and a way to share my skills and passions to help people.”
It’s not just a job for Hernandez, but a whole other family of people to learn from and enjoy.
“I’ve learned a lot from [volunteering] at Diveheart, and I try and bring what I’ve learned into my life,” she said. “Our adaptive divers have taught me appreciation of the healthy body and mind that I enjoy today and which may not be with me tomorrow.”
The donors and volunteers have given Hernandez numerous moments and gratitude for their generosity of time, talent and spirit.
“It’s easier for me to live in the moment, appreciate what is going on around me and not over worry about tomorrow,” she said.
Read the full Hinsdale Magazine article (page 46)