Dionne Monsanto graduated Magna Cum Laude from Hunter College with a BS in Accounting in 1994 and became a certified life coach in 2009. She was a founding member of Theater on the Edge and was its first treasurer. A performer since childhood, she has used her theater skills in a myriad of ways. These skills have helped her tremendously as a mental health advocate and public speaker.
Dionne has been on the board of the NYC Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) since 2014 and has completed a 3-year term as Chair of the Board. She is a native New Yorker who began her work with AFSP in 2009 with their Community Walk in NYC, moved on to Advocacy (locally and nationally), was trained, became a board member and then part of their speaker’s bureau. She has trained the NYPD and community organizations. She passionately speaks about and trains people internationally in mental health awareness and suicide prevention. As the current chair of the Education Committee, she led the first Talk Saves Lives training via Zoom.
Shortly after the death of her 15-year-old daughter by suicide, Dionne left her 20-year financial services career and became a full-time yoga and dance teacher in 2012. Since then, she has taught thousands of classes internationally.
Dionne is the Executive Director of The Siwe Project, a mental health organization named after her late daughter, Siwe. She believes that telling her story continues her healing and keeps her daughter’s memory alive. As such, Siwe Lives was a featured article in the January 2014 issue of Essence Magazine on her journey as a care provider treating her daughter’s mental illness. She was also a guest on *exhale* TV, Exploring Mental Illness. She has been on radio shows and done PSAs. In the Spring of 2019, she was one of the speakers on Dadasphere TV and the first guest on the Big Fat Talk Show.
Dionne has conducted multiple “Talk Saves Lives” trainings for the NYPD, as well as with various community partners such as Border Patrol & Protection, and others. She is one of the AFSP media liaison for radio and TV. Dionne has initiated suicide prevention education in Kenya, where she spends a good deal of her time annually. Due to her relationship with Befrienders Kenya, the country hosted its inaugural Survivor Day in 2019. She is also a certified Mental Health First Aid Trainer.
Prior to working with Dionne, I felt like I was not able to maintain consistency. I kept losing and regaining the same 10-15 pounds, never reaching my ideal target weight. The accountability piece was the first step that helped me to gain awareness of my patterns that I was stuck in. Her encouragement and guidance have helped me to stay on track far past where I have been in a long time. As I work through her program, I am able to continue to grow in awareness of my habits and gain the confidence that I am reaching my goal. Her support through this journey has been priceless!
This was such a fantastic retreat... that left me so beautifully recharged. I had had a terrible backache that's better after the yoga retreat and what a healing MOMENT!!! I will share the 6th June retreat widely....Thank YOU!!!
It has been such a pleasure to work with Dionne for various member projects, from Yoga, African Dance & more. Dionne has provided our clientele with great programs live and pre-recorded right in the comfort of their own how. If you are looking for professionalism and expertise in the field Dionne & her team are perfect for your event needs.
The reason I take Dionne’s class is not only because we have a history of over 10 years of friendship or because she’s great at what she does , she’s awesome and very hands on plus direct . Her classes are very calming and soothing . As far as what’s beneficial Yoga has helped me maintain a certain zen plus keep my weight at a certain level . It also has allowed me to get thru the day smoothly and at peace . Even when trouble or stress arises , it keeps me intune focused and level headed . I just need to be more disciplined and repetitive