The Awesome Awards - Nominations

Diane Smith Key

Nominated by Linda Paige
May 26, 2014

At age 34, Diane Smith Key found herself a single mother of two young boys, Christopher and Calvin, ages 2 years and 2 months old, she was also unemployed, homeless and living in a Shelter for Women. A year later she moved from the Shelter and became a resident in the Salvation Army’s Transitional Housing Program and lived there for one year. 

Diane met and married Walter Key and they moved into their first home in Melbourne Florida, which together they help to build through the Habitat for Humanity Program, they also welcomed a third son, Cory.  Becoming a homeowner gave Diane a sense of responsibility for her neighborhood and she became a community activist. Diane volunteered to work on President Bush’s Front Porch Alliance Program based on the premise that faith based and other private agencies were critical for community revival. The program fostered a community renewal, provided benefits to families and children, carried out activities for youth and resulted in a significant decrease in crime in eight targeted neighborhoods. As part of the same initiative Diane volunteered to coordinate a community Job Fair and volunteered her services to assist senior citizens. By 1993, Diane was gainfully employed as a teacher and later worked for a Head Start and Child Development Program, she eventually received her CDA.  

Education has always been her passion but she took a ten year break to run her home and raise her children, she returned to school and in 1996 graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree and by 2003 she earned an MBA in General Management. In 2007, her husband Walter was facing health problems and had to be driven to and from dialysis three times per week by Diane or her youngest son Cory. Working full-time, taking care of three young boys and becoming the primary caregiver for Walter began to take a toll on the family finances. During these lean times Diane was determined and driven to provide for her family and on weekends she began to organize weekly garage sales on the front lawn of her home, she also created gift bag sets for sale which included fragranced lotion, hand cream and soap. In 2007 Diane and Walter joined Spirit of Faith Ministry in Gainesville, Florida under the leadership of Pastors Kenneth and Tabatha Claytor. In addition to being active in the local church Diane and Walter volunteer their time, energy and effort with Prison Fellowship Ministry founded by Chuck Colson. Diane is active in the Angel Tree Ministry which helps families of the incarcerated with physical and spiritual needs. In November 2007, the entrepreneur spirit was ignited when a family member told her to consider bidding on a Mail Courier contract with the United States Post Office.  This was unfamiliar territory, she had no previous experience or knowledge of the Courier business… but Diane has always been courageous and she submitted an online bid for a $30,000.00 contract and to her surprise the bid was accepted and that’s how her small business Key Transportation Solutions was born!    

At present, Diane Key Smith is the CEO of this woman-owned, minority-owned business which has grown to employ 10 part-time employees and secures three Post Office contracts in the States of Florida, Georgia and Maryland. Although the business is profitable she’s seeking to build and expand the business in the near future. Diane finds working in the service industry a rewarding experience, she takes pride in the knowledge that she’s meeting the needs of the public and creating employment opportunities for others which helps to create stable families and stabilize the economy.