In Diane's Words...
If you have a few minutes, let me take you on a short journey to here:
I feel like I've been in training for Lady Up America my whole life!
What I'm about to share with you has God's fingerprints all over it...
"I wouldn't trade my "valleys" for 1000 "peaks". The valley is where I learned the sound of God's voice and grew to know His heart." - Diane Canada
In the custody fight of my life at 20 years old, and with no college degree, I was waiting tables and in dire need of a better-paying job. I applied boldly for a management position I was completely unqualified for with Dr. Michael Press.
He was tickled when I showed up for the cattle-call interview and told him to send everyone else home...that "I" was his new Office Manager because nobody would work harder than me.
I worked there for a year and then an agency recruited me for a much bigger practice. The favor of God went before me and I was miraculously hired to manage an advanced dental practice of 11 employees in the heart of Buckhead in Atlanta:
Dr. Ventress, Dr. Carroll, & Dr. Andrews. At 22 years old, I was the youngest on the team.
Dr. George Andrews
I wish I could find pictures of all of the Doctors, but Dr. Andrews was the youngest and is still practicing today in Atlanta.
They were WAY ahead of their time, they had top Consultants come in every year just to spit-shine-and-polish us, and they taught me so much about the significance of building relationships within our team and with our clientele. It was an invaluable incubator for me to learn about how to properly operate a thriving business.
Somehow succeeding in this role for nearly 5 years, I was recruited by the female VP of the Consulting firm that was polishing our practice at that time.
She said to me, "Why aren't you working for me?"
I was flattered, but said, "I don't know how to be a Consultant."
She said, "I'll teach you."
So, with the full blessing of my Doctors, she took me under her wing and taught me how to become a Consultant; to heal companies in crisis.
While my day job was all unfolding, I was "discovered" one night while waiting tables. I was goofing off singing Karaoke with another waitress. One of my customers was a professional in the music industry.
He said, "You're green, but you've got something special".
He hand-walked me into the industry, groomed me for a professional music/songwriting career, and sent me on pilgrimages to Nashville to write with established Producers.
Another good friend of mind in the industry called an investor on my behalf without my knowledge. He convinced him to come and secretly scout me, which he did for several months where I was singing. I had no idea who he was, but we became good friends.
I was summoned early one Saturday morning to join them both for coffee. They revealed their little scheme and all of a sudden, out came a checkbook. onto the table. The investor said, "What's it gonna take to get you on the radio?"
He meant it, too. I was stunned. He paid me a salary so that I could quit my job and focus on music full-time. He paid my band to rehearse, he paid for studio time for my first demo, a nose job my manager insisted I needed, a new wardrobe, and then...
Tears streamed down my face as I watched him count out cashier's checks buying me Waylon Jenning's favorite bus; the one Waylon had owned for 13 years. The picture on the left shows Charles Young, my investor, in the black hat on the day he bought it for me.
Waylon sat me down backstage at a concert one night and gave me a good "talkin' to". He said, "Little girl, if you're gonna be runnin' up and down the roads in my bus, then there's gonna be some ground rules". He made me promise him I would NEVER sell out for the money. I have kept that promise to him to this very day.
I eventually moved to Music City with a major record deal in motion, which later fell through. Although losing the record deal was devastating in the moment, it proved to be a blessing in disguise as it opened an exciting door.
In another stroke of God's favor, a dear friend of mine who was a Producer at CMT personally recommended me to become the Assistant to the VP of the Grand Ole Opry, Pete Fisher.
Pete was the decision-maker of the talent that graced the legendary stage. I got to assist him and Gina Keltner (Director of Opry Talent) with the Artists and their management, the backstage flow, and all of the promotional dynamics that went into designing the weekly shows.
I learned so much and then went on to create an intimate songwriting show of my own, with an emphasis on songs that heal.
Nashville Unleashed toured for 7 years and was ultimately televised. It reached over 100 million households in the United States and syndicated in 3 countries, helping to heal hearts all over the world.
When the show ended, I opened a new Consulting Firm, specializing in women-owned businesses, and evolved into professional Speaking to empower women.
I wanted to focus more on the emotional and mental barriers women face in business. I held full-day women's symposiums called Lady Like Leaders and invited other strong women I knew to help me present enchanting events that women would love.
One morning around 5 am, I got the call that rocked my world...a call I wouldn't wish on ANYBODY! My little brother, a Special Ops Marine with tours in Afghanistan, succumbed to PTSD.
After the initial devastation began to ease, God started tugging strongly on my heart for public service. I was initially very resistant to running, with no previous history in politics, and a great aversion to entering into it.
But I ultimately obeyed the call and ran for the Tennessee State House of Representatives in 2020, campaigning to heal a broken system for veterans who suffer from PTSD.
As the underdog, during the shutdowns of covid, nobody thought I had a snowball's chance. I got very resourceful in reaching people on the campaign trail. but I was as shocked as anybody to nearly win, finishing with 46% of the vote.