Dyana Valentine

Dyana Valentine: Getting Personal

Written by in Profiles

By Erin Moore for Neenah Paper

Dyana Valentine in motion at the Denver Airport. She looks taller in real life.

She is nosy.  She is bossy. She is creative, social and adventurous. She is an entrepreneur worthy of attention. And she gets a lot of it. Dyana Valentine is a one-woman conference catalyst, an idea machine and project impossible coach. She motivates. She challenges. She occasionally ticks you off. That is what is making her such a popular force on the design lecture circuit.

Dyana’s work motivates people to a life of diligence and success, of self-fulfillment and self-discovery. Of thinking beyond one’s own self- limiting assumptions. She looks for the undiscovered energy and establishes “grounding boards” to codify information that is real, and productive. She believes potential exists within all of us.

Dyana’s interest in others was shaped as a child by her talented artist parents and nontraditional experiences. She grew up among immigrant communities struggling to assimilate into the U.S. culture because her mother directed a place called Settlement House. Exposure to diverse people and cultures shaped her more than any other experience.

Even at 14 years, her resilience was already evident: begging for a work permit and negotiating barters, shoveling the muck of horse stalls in exchange for riding lessons. She attended an alternative high school, too, that allowed her “walk-abouts” (independent projects). Pursuing photography, an avid interest of her father’s, Dyana also worked 8 weeks on a Native American Reservation photographing its people, customs and daily rituals. This colorful past engendered a life-long love for the nontraditional.

Dyana Valentine often poses this question: “What excites you?” Well, we asked, what excites Dyana? She loves getting lost in good book or great film movie – sports films, specifically. “I’m turned on by radical systems thinkers: Nancy Duarte, Garr Reynolds. Linchpin, the Pease’s Body Language and Freakonomics, for example. Anything Malcolm Gladwell even breathes on flares up my mind crush on him, too.”

Dyana’s love for her home community, Santa Monica, is palpable. She gives back by teaching a class on success at an L.A. community college. Guess what she leads them to discover? “When you do what you love, it surfaces in everything else,” she states. Obvious? Sure. But why on earth do so few follow the advice? Because, they forget the path.

What does Dyana Valentine have to do with Neenah? She practices what Neenah believes: when you do something, do it well. Dyana Valentine runs a digital business.  For her, paper is reserved for the personal communication, the functional and entertaining, the “warm” and the “fuzzy.” Whenever she prints, she does so on 100% recycled paper. Green is her thing.

“Some maintain sustainable paper products are, well, an oxymoron.  I believe Neenah Paper has blown that notion out of the water by raising the bar for recycled paper and papermaking.  There will always be a need for fine paper. What we need are sustainable paper options.”

She continues, “It is important to reach out to people in a very personal and tactile way. Paper can make a big impact because it is personal, tactile and beautiful. It is a motivating, intelligent medium.”



  1. 08

    Dyana IS a force to be reckoned with… but such a welcome energy and so refreshing! This is a great post describing what makes her cool.

  2. 08

    thanks, Kelly! I’m really starting to get that the bigger I reach into my force-of-nature-ness, the better it is for me and for everyone else. I really appreciate the support! I love the way you kick butt over at CareerMax.

  3. 08

    Fantastic interview! You captured Dyana in a way I don’t think anyone has done before, and it’s completely accurate. Rock on, Dyana, and rock on, Neenah!

  4. 08

    what an awesome article! it completely captures the energy and passion that is dyana valentine! i haven’t known her long, but i can concur that she is a poker and pusher and gets the best (and often unexpected) responses out of you. she can make you feel like you’re smarter and cooler than you ever realized – and she makes caring for our environment effortless and natural – like it’s just a given that it should matter (and it is!).

  5. 08
    Jodi Womack said:

    Dyana rocks my world. Everything you said about her is true, and there’s more. She’s generous, fantastic, and inspiring without the empty ra-ra… She moves people with her insights that she shares abundantly. Lucky you for getting to hang with this life-force!

  6. 08

    Great capture of a great person. Dyana makes the circuit boards in your brain smolder with possibilities – both while you’re jamming with her and for hours after. “I never thought of that …” is a popular refrain post-convo. Not only is she remarkably intelligent, insightful and generous but she’s effortlessly likable and down to earth.