Mother’s Day: ‘Three Musketeers’ mom and kids work at Georgian

Working at Georgian College can feel like working with family, and that’s especially true for Diane DeCunha, whose two children, Chantel and Jamie DeCunha, work at the college, too.

Diane has worked at Georgian for 24 years and is a faculty member at South Georgian Bay Campus and an Academic Program Assistant at the Barrie Campus.

Chantel and Jamie have each worked at Georgian for 19 years and are Adaptive Technologists at the Barrie and Orillia campuses, respectively. Jamie is also a three-time Georgian alumnus of the Pre-health Sciences Pathway to Advanced Diplomas and Degrees (class of 2016), Cabinetmaking Techniques (class of 2018) and Business – Entrepreneurship (class of 2019) programs.

To celebrate Mother’s Day, we caught up with all three family members and colleagues, who are known as The Three Musketeers. They share what it’s like working with family and what their mom has taught them in life.

Three people sit on a couch and one of them gives a thumbs up.
Diane, centre, sits with her children, Chantel and Jamie.

What’s it like working with your mom?

Chantal: It’s nice to be able to go for a coffee with her and connect whenever we want, but I’ve never known what it’s like to not work with my mom since I’ve worked at Georgian for so long. We don’t work in the same capacity as we used to, but when I previously worked in Testing Services, it was nice to be able to ask her questions when I needed help. She’s a wealth of knowledge. Even if I had a question about something outside of her department, I could ask her, and she would be able to get me a quick answer or know who I could reach out to.

Jamie: I work at the Orillia Campus, so it’s not like I have my mom visiting all the time or looking over my shoulder, but she’s just a Microsoft Teams call or message away. Anytime I go to the Barrie Campus, I make a point of trying to stop in and see my mom and sister. Like Chantel, I’ve also reached out to my mom with questions many times. She’s so knowledgeable about the college, so I’ve also asked her about pathways for me, as an employee, to register for extra studies. My mom has helped me navigate that.

Two people sit at a table in a restaurant.
Chantel and Jamie like being able to connect with each other and their mom regularly through work.

Diane, what’s it like working at Georgian with your kids?

I think it’s great. One thing I love the most is that every person I run into has nothing but great things to say about my kids, and, as their mom, that makes me so proud. I like being able to check in on them. Chantel works in the library, so when I’m coming back from teaching a class, I’ll peek in to see if her door is open. If it is, I go in and we have a little visit. We’ve always been a close family. The three of us we were nicknamed The Three Musketeers many moons ago.

A person smiles and puts his arms around two people on either side of them who are kissing their cheeks.
Chantel, Jamie and Diane have been nicknamed The Three Musketeers.

Has working at Georgian brought you even closer?

Diane: I don’t know that we would touch base as much as we do if we didn’t work at Georgian.

Jamie: For me, I’m a classic introvert, so I don’t necessarily visit people a lot, but if my mom or sister need something, I try to be responsive to help them out. Chantel and I also work in the same department, so we are often at the same meetings, so that gives us something to talk about as well. All of us working at Georgian does bring us closer together because not only do we have that connecting tissue being family, but also being work colleagues.

Chantel: We’re a great support for each other, and we always have some laughs. One time, a colleague sent me a message on Teams in the middle of a big meeting: “You and your brother are on the same screen for me right now, and you guys look identical.” I had my hair back, so she saw our faces side by side and we look a lot alike. She took a screenshot of it and sent it to me. It was so funny. That type of dynamic wouldn’t happen if we didn’t work together.

A white mug with black writing that reads: It's glamma not grandma.
Diane’s favourite mug. She’s a proud glamma of four grandchildren.

Chantel and Jamie, tell us about your mom.

Chantel: She has been hardworking our entire lives. All my mom did was look after us. All I remember is my mom always being there for us and working several jobs just to make sure that we had what we needed.

Jamie: Every Friday, my mom would also clean the house top to bottom, and during the week on her lunch breaks, she’d go home at lunch to tidy up the house. We used to poke fun at her for cleaning at lunch time.

Chantel: She is also so supportive. About nine years ago, I was nominated for a Georgian College Board of Governors Award of Distinction, and my mom shared a really nice message on Facebook about what a great accomplishment it was. That’s a nice memory.

Diane: I’m their biggest cheerleader.

Three people stand together in front of winter holiday decorations.
Jamie and Chantel say their mom, Diane, left, has taught them about strength, perseverance and how to treat others.

What is something your mom taught you?

Jamie: Perseverance. Even when things are hard, you can’t just throw in the towel. Also, she taught me calmness and patience. One thing I’m often told in my role at Georgian is that I’m good at helping frustrated students feel calmer and get a plan in place. For some people, that ability’s an intrinsic thing, but I definitely got it from my mom because she’s always laidback.

Chantel: Our mom used to read us books about treating others the way you want to be treated. That’s embedded in my head even now. The other thing I learned from my mom is strength. Our family has gone through so much and we saw our mom persevere. We got ourselves out of some difficult times and we always had each other’s backs as our own little support system.

What have you learned from your kids?

Diane: I admire their strength. They’ve been through difficult times where they could sink or swim, and they would swim. As a parent, there are times when your kids are in trouble and all you can do is have their backs – they have to get out of it themselves. They’ve done so well, and I’m so proud of them.

Our categories