Dyana Valentine: Getting Personal
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.”