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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 one book, then a second, were both alternately blissful and challenging endeavors. 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 individuals, entrepreneurs and leaders helping them: fine-tune their visions—the WHY; develop strategies to reach short- and long-term goals—the WHAT, and; central to these aims, design practices that support new ways of being, internally and externally, and based on values and beliefs—the HOW.

Dana Whitaker


After trying to volley her time between teaching, spending quality time with her family and friends and staying physically fit, Dana realized that nothing was getting the attention each 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 individuals address—head-on—how to prioritize the competing roles and responsibilities 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.

Salam: Welcome. These are the first words of Dana's second book, Exploring Morocco; Discovering Ourselves. In just thirty pages, Dana welcomes readers to Morocco and perhaps, more importantly, into themselves. A brilliant photo and self-reflection question on each page inspires readers to explore and discover their own story, what they value, how they see themselves, where in their lives it's prime time to let go or take the leap.

Training her eye and that of her camera on the vast and minute, writing both books, her travels, encounters, risks and challenges, combined to teach Dana about the value of commitment—in attitude and action—to create and maintain a day-by-day, moment-by-moment life of passion, purpose and connection. Sharing her books and photographs, speaking to groups and working one-to-one, Dana supports and inspires others to unleash their unique selves, inside and out, personally and professionally.

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 relishes serving as a mentor both to college students as part of the Berkeley Community Fund, and to high school students as part of Girls, Inc., Alameda County, CA. She holds M.A. degrees in Education from Stanford University, and in College Student Development from The George Washington University. She also earned teaching credentials in English and Social Sciences, and completed a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. She is a graduate of Newfield Network, an International Coach Federation-certified program.