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Personal + Professional Coach
Why 'Opening Eyes'


Criss-crossing the nation, adjusting to new cities, attending different schools and making new friends throughout her childhood. Rowing on Cal's women's crew team: grueling 5am rows six times per week, running innumerable stadium steps, lifting weights, enduring long, steep fire trail runs. Traveling around the world on Semester at Sea meeting people from every walk of life. Teaching inner-city students the possibilities and joys of reading a book, crafting their thoughts on paper and speaking with confidence. Researching and writing her book, a three and one-half year alternately blissful and challenging endeavor. Through these experiences, Dana witnessed and experienced first-hand the internal and external shifts that are both necessary and invaluable in understanding oneself and reaching one's goals. As a result, Dana became motivated to turn her professional compass towards coaching so that she could devote herself to assisting others in making profound transformations in their lives, both professionally and personally.

In early 2008, she graduated from Newfield Network, an International Coach Federation-certified program, and launched Opening Eyes with a focus on ontological coaching. She works with entrepreneurs and corporate managers helping them fine-tune their visions—the WHY of their business or team; develop strategies to help them reach their long and short-term goals—the WHAT of their business, and; central to these aims, create practices or ways of being, that ensure that they and those with whom they work and conduct business, come from a centered, compassionate place—the HOW of their business.

Dana Whitaker


After trying to volley her time between teaching, raising her then 5-year old son, spending quality time with her husband and friends and staying physically fit, Dana realized that nothing was getting the attention required. Something had to give before she gave out! (Is it any surprise that a key component of Dana's coaching practice involves helping stressed-out professionals address—head-on—how to balance the competing roles in their lives?). So, Dana resloved to take a leave of absence from her beloved 16-year teaching career in the San Francisco Bay Area—where she taught English and Social Sciences to inner-city and alternative high school students and trained/mentored teachers—and became an international photojournalism entrepreneur herself.

In 2007, after three and one-half years of travel to thirteen countries on five continents—where she had the privilege to meet, photograph and conduct tear-jerking, utterly inspiring interviews with some of the world's poorest yet most determined individuals—Dana published Transforming Lives $40 at a Time, Women + Microfinance: Upending the Status Quo. Her book of photographs and stories brings readers face-to-face and heart-to-heart with the dreams, fears and successes of women (and a few like-minded men) who use microfinance tools to open businesses of their own, grow them and, as a result, transform their own, their families' and entire communities lives—inside and out.

Using Transforming Lives as a backdrop, Dana speaks at businesses, universities, bookstores and schools, to women's, professional and philanthropy groups, as well as in people's homes and religious institutions teaching people about the power of microfinance. Burned-out and bored professionals seeking coaching are also beneficiaries of this project, receiving insights Dana learned, both from the entrepreneurs she interviewed and her own research-to publish-to book promoting journey, about what it takes—in attitude and action—to create and maintain a business and a day-by-day, moment-by-moment life of passion and purpose.

Expert Ezine Author


Dana has been designated an Expert Author by ezine.com. Her articles on effective strategies for personal and professional growth and change may be found at ezine.com Articles.

"When I read Dana's book, I was thoroughly captivated by a whole new world of opportunity—I learned about microfinance and was compelled to somehow join this social movement. The book seller reached out to Dana on my behalf and I was amazed when Dana called me the next day! Upon telling her how she had inspired me to help this cause, she instantly donned her coaching hat and, after a few thoughtful questions, guided me to a local microfinance institution, Women's Initiative for Self Employment, and put me into direct contact with its directors. What a gift; I was led to my current position as a microfinance fellow living a life inspired as I serve the women of my community."
   —Veronica Miranda

More about Dana

Dana serves on the Women's Initiative for Self Employment, Alameda County Regional Board, CA. She also coaches groups of budding entrepreneur graduates of this domestic microfinance organization, helping them move from business plan to action. Dana holds M.A. degrees in Education from Stanford University, and in College Student Development from The George Washington University. She received her teaching credential in English and Social Sciences from San Francisco State University, and earned a B.A. degree from the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. She is a graduate of Newfield Network, an International Coach Federation-certified program.