Featuring her inspiring TEDx talk on its website, Upworthy describes Darryle Pollack as “a woman on a journey.” That remarkable journey of unexpected highs and lows has made Darryle a role model of resilience, authenticity and vitality.
Darryle’s life started off almost magically positive: being in the first class of women to graduate from Yale, a pioneering career as a woman reporter and anchor in TV news; Mel Brooks introducing her to her husband. But she also encountered speed bumps and boulders – her mother’s premature death at 41, a divorce, a diagnosis of Stage III breast cancer as a young mom with two small children.
Forced to face what she most feared, Darryle’s life spun around. Cancer was the catalyst which helped her tap into her own strength and resilience, and to realize that she could help others access those same qualities in themselves.
Always “artistically challenged,” while trying to recover from cancer Darryle accidentally discovered the healing power of art, developing a passion that led her to open her own art studio and to become, as she puts it, “the artist of her own life.” Her epiphany was realizing that making mosaics was not just therapeutic; it was also a metaphor for life itself.
Life often breaks things that are beautiful to us. Picking up and putting together broken pieces of tile was exactly what Darryle was doing with broken pieces of her life, rearranging them to create something different that could be beautiful in a new way.
After nearly 19 years as a survivor, cancer remains a big piece of Darryle’s life. A pioneer in the field of patient advocacy, she teaches others to advocate for their own health; and has served as an advisor for the American Cancer Society Blogger Advisory Council.
Her Power Pieces mosaic workshops help others de-stress and develop a resiient mindset. Cancer is only one example of how Darryle mines her own life to deliver her platform message focused on what can make the most difference and value for others, helping them become more resilient, more authentic, and more vital whether that applies to health, body image, parenting, relationships, and aging.
In addition to anecdotes and expertise, another essential element of Darryle’s style is humor. During her recovery from cancer, she collected stories and created a video called “What’s So Funny About Cancer” empowering survivors to be able to laugh at what they feared most. She’s even found humor in the loss of her breasts, via her line of mosaics called Boobalas, which she calls “thinking outside the bra”. Inspirational, Imaginative, and irreverent, these pieces represent a creative way to address body image issues and express the message that our bodies don’t define who we are.
Equally determined to prove that our age also does not define us, Darryle is a shining example of aging with vitality. An early adopter of blogging and social media, she is an online influencer and thought leader, who writes for many websites including The Huffington Post, and co-founded WHOA Network, Women Honoring our Age. Because she never expected any of the above to be part of her life, Darryle’s upcoming book, her TED talk, and her blog are titled “I never signed up for this….” In honor of all the times in her life she’s said those words. And she continues to be, as Upworthy calls her, a woman on a journey.
One of the things we can count on in life is to expect the unexpected. Stuff happens. Challenges that are confounding, confusing, and confronting are always part of life and can derail forward motion. Those broken pieces don’t always fall into place by themselves. Yet things that break can bring about the breakthrough that can make you. Stage III breast cancer was the catalyst that changed Darryle Pollack from powerless to powerful.
She also applied that mindset to her body, which was now missing both breasts. By thinking outside the bra she turned her “broken pieces” into Boobalas, a witty and inspiring collection of mosaics shaped as women’s torsos, designed to increase awareness of breast cancer and body image. Most importantly, Darryle realized that she could implement her insights about resilience beyond herself. In a constantly changing world, there is nothing more useful for an individual or a business than the ability to adapt. In this talk, Darryle shares her building blocks for resilience and reinvention.
Darryle Pollack could be the MOST unlikely person to talk about getting older……..Since she never expected to get there. Fully expecting to repeat the destiny of her mother who died at 41, Darryle seemed on track for a premature death when she was diagnosed with stage III cancer herself in her early 40’s.
In addition to writing and speaking about aging, Darryle founded WHOA Network, Women Honoring our Age, an enterprise intended to change the way our culture views aging, and pass on a new legacy to the younger generations.
In this talk, Darryle takes on our culture’s approach to aging. Combining her expertise with examples of demographic trends and stories of reinvention, Darryle’s fun and enlightening talk inspires audiences to go from fearful to fierce; creating a shift in attitude and the ability to see the value of aging – in ourselves, our families, marketplace, communities and beyond.
While working with organizations and individuals to mentor and help cancer survivors, Darryle Pollack, a 20 year Survivor of stage III cancer herself, developed her own unique ingredients for survival, using the metaphor of cooking. She finds this quite ironic since she comes from a long line of Jewish Mothers who can’t cook. Darryle’s creation is a different kind of recipe, …what she calls “Survival Soup.”
Though Darryle developed this recipe for cancer survival, she realized that the same tools used to survive cancer are successful in facing other challenges in life. Her entertaining and enlightening talk blends anecdotes, stories and humor – mixed in with solid sensible science to deliver the winning recipe!
"Darryle was outstanding---funny, authentic and inspiring--exactly what I hoped for and then some! She really has a way of getting people to think about their own lives, and to motivate them to do more with what they are dealt. Folks were talking about how great her presentation was all afternoon."
Darryle is a inspirational speaker with a remarkable personal story which is relatable to anyone who has faced any life challenge. Honest, funny, and informative, she hit all the right notes and our community was completely engaged in every minute of her presentation. She leaves her audience very uplifted with valuable perspective and useful takeaways."
"It is no surprise that you got the only standing ovation of the day. You are so natural, warm and engaging onstage, it was a delight to discover that you are exactly the same offstage, even more so. I so appreciated having the opportunity to talk with you afterwards; it was an honor and a privilege."
"Darryle's background and personal story provided so much inspiration to the many women who attended this session. You are such an ideal example of positive aging. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and wisdom with great vitality and authenticity. You instilled hope for the future and a renewed energy to those who were feeling unsure about 'the next chapter'.
"At our recent mentoring event, Darryle reached both hearts and minds of our multi-generational and diverse group. Thank you for a heartfelt, inspirational and memorable event. Your depth of experiences and expertise are unparalleled. We appreciated the way you connected both onstage and off. Your sincere presentation and authentic connection touched all of our lives."
KEYWORDS: Cancer Survivor, Resilience, Aging, Overcoming Adversity