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UHV alumna earns national businesswoman of year award

Diane Kliem Award
Diane Kliem holds an armful of flowers after receiving the 2020 American Business Woman award in early October during the American Business Women’s Association National Women’s Leadership Conference luncheon.

Diane Kliem, a Victoria attorney and University of Houston-Victoria alumna, recently was named the 2020 American Business Woman, the top spot from the 2020 Top 10 Business Women of the American Business Women’s Association.

Jesse Pisors

Now, Kliem, president of Kliem & Associates, will serve as the ambassador for the association during the next year. She will be featured on the American Business Women’s Association magazine, be a keynote speaker at next year’s conference and have the opportunity to give presentations at association chapters and leagues across the nation.

“I’m very proud to be able to bring this award home to Victoria,” Kliem said. “This far exceeded anything I had on my list of goals, and I hope that this will inspire others to do something they didn’t think was possible, whether that’s going to school, pursuing a career or starting a business.”

Kliem was nominated to be one of the Top 10 Business Women by the Victoria Professional Express Network, one of two American Business Women’s Association chapters in Victoria. Nominees from across the nation were reviewed by independent judges using criteria, including education, career accomplishments and community involvement, to choose the Top 10. The finalists then went through another round of interviews and reviews to choose the 2020 American Business Woman.

“All of the Top 10 nominees were outstanding,” she said. “It was a validating but humbling experience to go through this process and receive this honor. I’ve been lucky to have a supportive family, staff and community who believe in my abilities and encourage me, and I’m grateful for the foundation I received at UHV.”

In 1992, Kliem earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in accounting from UHV. In 2015, she was honored as the Business Person of the Year for the Small Business Administration regional awards as a client of the UHV Small Business Development Center. She also serves on the UHV Here, We Go Campaign Leadership Committee.

“UHV alumni are doing great things in their spheres of influence, and no one represents this better than Diane Kliem,” said Jesse Pisors, UHV vice president for advancement and external relations. “Amidst the intense demands of family, a growing business and multiple nonprofit commitments, Diane finds time to give back to her alma mater in many ways. We are grateful for her and immensely proud of her selection as the 2020 American Business Woman.”

In addition to speaking at association chapters, Kliem plans to post inspirational messages on Facebook at least once a week. She will be a keynote speaker at this year’s Nov. 8 Leadercast Women event in Victoria and will be the keynote speaker for the ABWA Florida Area Council in February 2021.

“Top Ten candidates are a paradigm for ABWA members who strive for excellence in their careers, their communities and in the association,” said Rene Street, ABWA executive director. “It was a privilege to recognize these outstanding women this year at the National Women’s Leadership Conference and to gain inspiration from their accomplishments.”

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973, offers courses leading to 70 bachelor’s, master’s and specialist degree programs and concentrations in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.