Hi, I’m Dillan.
I share stories about identity and resilience—in print, on stage and in small group settings with other people.
read more about me below
Surprising Health Problems that Come from Working Too Hard at New York Daily News
7 Ways to Get Over a Winter Slump at FASTCOMPANY
Do I Say 'I Love You' Too Much for a Guy? at HUFFPOST
Stories from the Stage on PBS — “Fresh Start”
PODCAST Guest Appearances (click image to listen)
Dillan DiGiovanni is a storyteller and writer who inspires resilience through mindfulness and identity development. Dillan’s message and presence make him someone every person can learn from as he helps people practice self-care and compassion for themselves and others.
Dillan is a two-time TEDx speaker and has been featured on PBS. He has spoken at companies like IDEO, Microsoft, General Assembly and WeWork. Adept across multiple disciplines, Dillan shares his 20+ years of expertise in educational theory, diversity and identity development, behavioral change theory and integrative health. After years of coaching individuals and teams within companies, his current mission is to get people off social media and gathered in community-based groups to reconnect and relearn skills to find more compassion, patience and more love for themselves and others.
Dillan earned his B.S. in Education from The College of New Jersey and his MEd from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA. He returned home to New Jersey after living in New England for 12 years and is trying to assimilate. He runs on 80s music and coffee and needs to eat more greens. His favorite movie is The Karate Kid and he would definitely beat you in a lip-syncing contest.
Credentials & Education:
Master of Education, Integrative Wellness, Leadership and Change in Individuals and Cultures: Lesley University, Cambridge, MA
Bachelor of Science in Education, Secondary Major in Art: The College of New Jersey, Ewing, NJ
International Association for Health Coaches (IAHC)
State of New Jersey, Standard Teaching Certificate
I was a child of divorce and emotional neglect who intuitively chose to thrive as a coping skill. I was a high-achiever with straight As and robust list of achievements. With no safety net from a very young age, I was unconsciously motivated to perform and succeed for survival via the validation from others to fill a huge void within me. Symptoms of an eating disorder in high school showed a crack in my vivacious facade. I overcame that experience without hospitalization or much support from adults or mentors.
Things improved when I rigorously pursued personal development in my early 20s.
In the early 2000s, I read books like The Celestine Prophecy, Ishmael and Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? I felt clear and confident about myself as a spiritual, white, queer-androgynous person until I picked up Just Add Hormones and She’s Not There and was terrified by the stirrings of gender dysphoria within me.
When I became a certified health coach in 2009, I felt empowered and confident in my new identity as business owner and health enthusiast. I was going to change the world one kale smoothie at a time! I started a successful business with an office in Somerville, MA and toured around New England as a speaker and coach.
A decade of weekly therapy and my own self-education nurtured a profound resilience that paid off when tragedy struck in my mid-30s. After several decades of “coasting” on charm, high intelligence and a good work ethic, my resilience was tested by profound adversity when I chose to transiton my gender identity at the age of 34 while bootstrapping my own business as a coach and speaker. Within months of sharing the news of a decision that was supposed to make my life better, I lost my family, the person I considered a partner and friend, and my own sense of self and very identity. My business brand suffered from the stigma of cultural transphobia.
I struggled through the next several years as I adjusted to the next phase of my personal and professional growth. On the edge of burnout and breakdown, I chose intentional isolation in the woods of Vermont to integrate all I learned and heal myself from PTSD, anxiety, depression and a crippling ego. I’d barely emerged from that healing retreat experience when I experienced the sudden death of my beloved therapist of 10 years. Reeling from shock, I spent another 6 months traveling and healing as I continued my journey toward total transformation.
I’m on the other side of such profound loss and trauma with a message of inspiration to share.
So many struggles in my own life inspire me to have breakthroughs which I strive to pass on to others. I’ve experienced eating disorders, health issues, accidents, surgeries, heartbreaks and countless instances of personal and professional shame. I know adversity, I know identity, I know resilience.
I began my career as an 8th-grade classroom teacher and anyone who attends my events will know I never left that identity and love of learning and teaching behind. Among many speaking events, I'm a two-time @TEDX speaker and was featured on @PBS. My writing can be found at @Medium @GoodMenProject and @NJTECHWEEKLY as well as my own blog and many other places.
As I navigated my way through grief and survival, I learned a lot about identity and resilience.
I’m now sharing stories from my life in print and on stage to help inspire resilience for as many people as possible.
I look forward to sharing them with you.