Croydon College of Art & Design - Associate of Arts, Communication
Northern Virginia Community College - Foundation Degree, Fine Art
After working in the hospitality and entertainment industry for more than two decades, Diana Yeside Johnson was looking for new ways to assist others. A certified professional trainer in customer service, she was interested in improving productivity and the quality of service in other’s professional and personal lives through emotional intelligence training.
Now serving as the executive director at Team Management Partners, Diana and her team set out to improve internal working relations between management and employees in both public and private enterprises. In addition to ratcheting up frequent flyer miles. Diana has lived and worked in multiple countries, including the United States, United Kingdom and Nigeria. She’s also coordinated programs in every one of those countries, as well as Ghana and Sierra Leone.
With such an impressive resume, Diana doesn’t see an end goal quite yet. “For me, my work is continuous growth and personal development … There’s so much to be done,” she says.
None of us know how long we have here. It’s so important to find one's purpose.
What responsibilities do you have in your job?
I’m the lead facilitator for the team, but apart from that, my duties include diagnostics for clients, designing proposals and training modules, writing reports of all training sessions, research, operations management and marketing.
How did you decide a job in this career field was right for you?
The course of my career seemed to wind its way here. Working in sales, customer service and the entertainment and hospitality industries, I was always involved with people. And my involvement in training teams in customer service helped me discover what most teams lacked: emotional intelligence and the ability to work together cohesively. So I naturally veered into facilitating soft skills and team building sessions.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Facilitating. I find each session so extraordinarily different from the next, and most importantly, I learn so much about myself and about human nature from these sessions. It fascinates me!
What challenges keep you awake at night?
I worry about my children. I hope I’ve instilled the right values in them and the coping mechanisms to face life's challenges.
Is work/life balance ever a problem with you? If so, what is one no-fail tactic you use to create balance?
If I find myself getting extremely stressed, I take off to the beach or a new place for a couple of days. I also exercise regularly, which really helps in reducing stress.
Was there ever a moment in your career where you’ve thought, “I made it!” What was it?
My work is continuous growth and personal development, so I doubt if there will ever be a point when I’ll feel "I made it." But on several occasions like after a session, participants have come up to me and made statements like, "This has changed my life," or "This has given me back my self-esteem." In those moments, I feel wonderful! I feel like I’ve achieved some of my purpose.
What are some of the rules you live by?
Honesty, integrity and love. None of us know how long we have here. It’s so important to find one's purpose and make any changes for the better. It's like throwing a pebble into water: there will always be a ripple effect, no matter how small the pebble. At the end of the day, we’re all accountable for how we’ve lived our lives and what we did with the opportunities we had.
What qualities does it take for someone to be successful in your line of work?
I think you have to genuinely like people and be really interested in human nature. The work I do calls for understanding, patience, empathy, the embracing of diversity and the ability to adapt to change. It calls for people management skills and a well-developed level of emotional intelligence, too.
What one piece of advice do you wish you could tell a 21-year-old version of yourself?
Believe in yourself and your abilities. Never let anyone undermine you. Trust your instincts. Listen to that "inner voice.” Don't be afraid to fail; through failure comes key learning, knowledge and eventually, wisdom. Pick yourself up and move on! We’re all travelers here, and those who are afraid to experience new horizons lose out on so much in life. Fear is the greatest inhibitor. Trust me, I know! Align yourself with people who have—and appreciate—appropriate values. That way, you’ll never be in conflict with your inner self.
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
Hopefully, still living and learning! There is so much to do and so little time. I need to do a lot more work with the youth of Nigeria; helping them to build confidence and self-esteem. We’re living in bad times where ethics and values have gone awry. We need to steer the young in the right direction, because the hope for a better country lies within them. We need to equip them with the best coping mechanisms and values possible. We need to rebuild their trust and belief.
There is still so much to do.