Studio Spotlight: Diane Burney

25 years ago, Diane, alongside her husband Leigh, opened the doors of Gusto – and later with support from their dog Bella, a friendly face around the studio.  Together they’ve helped this design company grow with the times – building a talented team with the flexibility to respond to the needs of their clients.

So it’s only right our debut ‘Studio Spotlight’, which shines a light on the exceptional individuals that make up our team, starts off with Gusto’s Co-Founder and Strategic Leader, Diane Burney. Where better to start! We’ve asked her to share some insights with us, to help us get to know this impressive woman in leadership better.

What is the most important lesson that you’ve learned working at Gusto?

I’ve learnt that no matter what the external environment throws at us, we’ll always thrive because we have a positive culture and are able to adapt quickly.

How would you describe your leadership style?

I like to empower team members to reach their potential by letting them work out their own solutions to problems. That way they build their expertise and capability, reducing my need to be involved in the operations side of the business and then I can focus on the high level leadership of the company.

What advice would you give someone in the design industry interested in a similar role?

Read and learn from successful business leaders. There’s unlimited access to information on how to improve and incrementally grow your business in both small and big steps. Throughout my career, I’ve engaged some highly experienced business mentors to expand my knowledge and provide me with inspiration. I’m an avid reader and particularly enjoy reading books about business and the people behind them. I also believe it’s important to separate yourselves from your competitors by finding a niche and by becoming experts in your chosen field.

Speaking of mentors, who is your role model in terms of leadership?

I haven’t had one single role model but have tapped into the wisdom of many. I don’t believe that one person provides everything you need to lead your business successfully.

One of Gusto’s five company values is Kaizen – the search for ways to continually improve. What’s something you’re trying to get better at?

I’m learning Spanish, along with my husband and son. My daughter-in-law is Colombian and we’re inspired to learn her beautiful language.


¡Bien hecho! And outside of Gusto hours, what do you enjoy doing?

Spending time with my family, particularly being able to relax with them on a tropical holiday or on a spontaneous trip to somewhere exotic. Our most recent trip was to Thailand where we were able to bathe rescued elephants in a sanctuary. Combining my love for travel and animals.

¡Gracias Diane!