“I created the company with intention,” Myles says. “If I don’t like something or it doesn’t make me happy, I don’t do it. I operate my company much like my life. I don’t believe the two live outside of each other. It has to make sense and be aligned with who I am.”
Born in Colorado, Myles originally started Dope Mom Life as a vlog documenting her own outdoor adventures such as skydiving, ziplining and whitewater rafting with her children. She enjoyed the thrills and didn’t know any other Black people who were interested in these activities.
“As I educated myself on Black people and outdoors, I’ve learned of the historical racism that kept us from experiencing the outdoors with the freedom of not fearing for our lives,” she explains. “So I do it for my ancestors that couldn’t do it.”
Myles created about twenty videos for the blog. The experience inspired her to quit a human-resources day job and take video production and editing classes at Emily Griffith Technical College for nine months. She soon launched Dope Life Media, which eventually became Dope Mom Life without a real client focus at the time.
One day, Myles shot a video about a neighborhood in Aurora undergoing gentrification. She met a coffee shop owner who was receiving a grant from Aurora’s Lodger’s Tax to renovate his storefront.
“I went home and researched the Lodger’s Tax and went down a rabbit hole and thought what the community members could do if they knew about opportunities, resources and services in a way that was reflective of them, spoke of them and moved them to action,” she explains.
Myles decided to focus Dope Mom Life on working with nonprofits and cities to share their resources with people from underrepresented communities and cultures. Some clients include the City of Aurora, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science and Hunger Free Colorado. She built a staff including Chief Operating Officer Mike Connolly, production assistant Amanda Barber, graphic designer Nigel Sanders, video editor Daniel Pineda, videographer Nate Letteer and copywriter Mylei Zavala.
“We create culturally responsive and respectful videos that are authentic to the communities our organizations want to engage with,” she explains. “We work to understand the community’s needs, then convey that to our clients, doing all the work through diversity, equity and inclusion and anti-racism lenses. We do video production, community relationship building and outreach and ambassador marketing.”
In the end, Myles says, she wants Dope Mom Life to “be committed to the internal work and not be harmful to diverse communities. The video is the icing on the cake.”
Learn more about Dianne Myles and Dope Mom Life at dopemomlife.com.