I was always the girl with the smile and positive attitude. I guess I was born with a happy chip in me.
I learned to be the peace-maker (middle child syndrome) in the family. Being in the spotlight was not my thing but I sure loved encouraging others to be brilliant in their own spotlight!
My passion as a young girl was writing poems, journaling, and dreaming about my adult life as a well known writer, speaker, innovator, and inspirationalist. Writing came easy for me. I soon learned that was my art. It’s where I would find my solace. I’d write from the heart and feel so connected to my spirit. I didn’t understand what all that meant then; just that it felt natural to me to express my thoughts and feelings through writing.
I connected the dots while in my young adult years. I grew up in an artistic family and learned to love all the arts, personal growth, and culture. It fed my spirit and creativity like crazy; my energy was contagious!
I graduated San Diego State University with a degree in PR, Journalism eager to change the world with my love of writing, creativity and people. Two years outside of college on one serendipitious day in 1986, I met someone in the entertainment industry that changed the trajectory of my life – I found my purpose and passion that led to a incredibly fun and highly creative 22 year career as an entertainment publicist living the dream.
My daily work required me to position my celebrity, visual and performing artist clients in the spotlight. I loved it! I was in heaven! I was the girl behind the scenes being the cheerleader and creative strategist for my clients. Red carpet events, film premieres, press events, Hollywood affluent parties with famous people, magazine shoots with celebs, famous fashion designers and photographers filled my days. I was truly monetizing my passions in one career – writing, entertainment, arts, culture, trend-setting, people, creativity, and supporting others in their brilliant talents.
In the midst of that amazing career – I got married, had a beautiful baby boy (He’s 25 now in a thriving career- proud Mama!), got divorced, became a single Mom and for 13 years ran my own entertainment PR agency. I struggled at times with being both the mother and father to my son given my son’s father was not present much. Financially I was challenged during parts of this time period, but the positive-minded driven person I was led the way. I persevered and came through.
I then survived breast cancer in 2003 which led to turning that challenge into a gift by becoming a speaker chair for the Los Angeles chapter of Susan G. Komen Foundation. I so enjoyed inspiring women to be proactive about their health. I served two terms on their board and supported Race for the Cure® events. I found my true spiritual core through my then spiritual community during early 2000. That became my saving grace through all of these challenging life events. It was an incredibly trying time for me; but my optimism pulled me through.
Then it happened.
Here’s where my story takes an even more dramatic turn because I was willing to listen to my intuition.
I call it a “Divine Urge.” That intuitive nudge kept whispering to me –“Time to move on, innovate, re-invent, and move front and center away from your role behind the scenes. It’s time to affect more lives on a bigger platform – your platform; not someone else’s.” (Gulp) It was time I embraced my spotlight.
I avoided this for a few months and then surrendered. Not comfortable at all. The Universe was calling my name to step into my own spotlight to grow, evolve, and become even more of who I was supposed to be.
That’s when the real evolution began.
In 2007, I started searching for a “new” life and purpose. I asked the Universe “How do I repackage 22 years of this talent and knowledge?” Holy cow! Thank goodness I leaned on my spiritual practices and listened to the Universe when it placed opportunity after opportunity in front of me. I was led to a few powerful business mentors that walked me through the transformation of building myself into a mentor and coach.
I built a new career as a personal branding and business innovation strategist for small to multi-million dollar creative business owners. Talk about being stretched to the limits on all levels! I grew up fast at this point even after all I had been through in the last 24 years!
Beginning in 2008, I learned from my mentors how to be a savvy, smart, courageous, bold, gutsy, brilliant business owner whose passion was lifting entrepreneurs up and guiding them to stand strong and confident in their spotlight using a strategic marketing system that created revenues.
Hence, the initial name of my business from 2008-2016, Embrace Your Spotlight. Today I have evolved into “Marla Diann Mentoring International.” The international comes from another re-invention and major evolution in my life and brand. In June 2017, I had a life changing coaching session from my success mentor, Gina DeVee. My dream of having a laptop lifestyle business so I could travel, work, play and live a richly fulfilling life came true as a result of committing to my dream to travel to Florence, Italy for a month in August 2017, the beginning of many trips to Italy. Everything about the experience was life affirming and cleansing.
I came home as a new Renaissance Woman.
Today, my brand now reflects that re-birth. I was living for a month in the epicenter of Renaissance, art, culture, wine, food, architecture, and more. Remarkable experience. (Photo below was taken at the stunning Duomo del Piazza, Florence, Italy – one of 5 locations my branding photographer used for my new photoshoot! Another dream come true!)
And that’s how I came to be the girl in the spotlight. Grateful beyond words for being in a position to work with amazing women and men mentoring them with my years of personal and professional growth.
Location: Piazza del Duomo, Florence, Italy Aug 2017
This is why when I say “Your brand is who you are; not what you do” – I walked it and lived it.
My purpose is to inspire you to Be BOLD, Be Gutsy, and Break the Rules in your own life and industry and stand out – live your dreams – evolve, go beyond self-imposed limitations. I desire for you to be a tall poppy and take a stand for what you love so that you inspire others to do the same.
Leaders and innovators inspire.
Let’s turn you into an innovative brand so your community feels a sense of “increase” for their lives. Change is not easy for most; it’s a must though if you are to be innovative, respected, and believable. People want to do business with those who are innovative. It gives them a sense of increase and expansion I call “The Law of increase for all.”
Your ideal client craves being with someone who gives them a sense of increase in their mindset, money, business and life. I encourage you to find a way to be that for your clients as you gift the world with your art and creativity. I stand for women’s dignity and worth. Let’s travel this road together as you embrace your own spotlight.