Diane Martell

[(artist + leadership development) x alumna] = RESILIENCE

Diane has been involved in the training and development industry for over 20 years. Presently, she works as a consultant providing organizational and leadership development, manages her own landscaping business and serves on the Peace4Kids Board of Directors. As well, Diane is an accomplished artist, certified yoga instructor and is active in the community, facilitating educational sessions that develop conscious and holistic leadership. Diane spent the latter part of her teen years in the California foster care system, and today strives to give back, helping youth successfully transition into adulthood.

QUESTION: Why did you get involved in the Fostering Resiliency project?

ANSWER: As a result of my own experience, I recognize that resilience is one of the greatest characteristics that will lead to success for foster youth. I am also really intrigued by the research. If we can provide some nutritious information about how to better understand the assets that foster youth develop in care, then perhaps they can get out of their own way.

QUESTION: Can you explain what you mean when you say '...get out of their own way'?

ANSWER: It wasn't until I reached my thirties that I realized that my past didn't define me. There were some life changing events that happened during those years, which helped me discover that I was still intimately stuck in my past. While the past has influenced who I am today it should not be the most influential thing that shapes my current life path, desires and possibilities.

QUESTION: Do you think that this realization is important for all youth impacted by foster care?

ANSWER: Absolutely! As a child I often felt like I had to give up my power in order to have basic needs met. I felt alone in this experience because I didn't know that there were other youth who were having this shared experience. If our research can define this shared experience, identify the strengths, and build a platform for teaching the path to resilience, then future foster youth will fully grasp their value. I think that there is no greater gift to leave to the next generation of foster youth.




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