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My Story…

I come from a pretty solid blue collar background. My mother worked as the deli manager for a major grocery store chain and my father, a Cuban immigrant, worked for the local power company. My parents were divorced when I was an infant and both remarried during my childhood. I liked to confuse people by saying I was the oldest and only child, with three younger half brothers. I was the first person in our family to graduate high school or college. I even inspired my mom to go back to school and we graduated high school in the the same year. For most of my childhood, I was a latchkey kid, which developed my sense of self-reliance and ability to figure out solutions to challenging, and sometimes unpredictable circumstances.

My early dream of being a lineman like my dad, was replaced by my love of Elvis and a desire to be a performer myself. I was repeatedly told by my music teachers that I wouldn’t pass auditions because I didn’t have a private voice coach, but I found a way, did the work and graduated college with a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Voice. Incidentally, I was the only Jazz Voice major the university ever produced. After graduating, I was lucky enough to get a job in the music industry and worked for a prominent celtic and world music recording label as a publicity and promotions assistant.

Dawn head shot
Head shot from my singing days

I moved to NYC to pursue my singing career in 1999. It wasn’t until after I spent a few years singing in small clubs and restaurants that I realized I was not going to do what it would take to “make it” as a professional musician and I was unwilling to live the rest of my life as a starving artist. At the time, my main source of income was waiting tables and tending bar, which was also not part of the future I envisioned for myself.

Meanwhile, I earned my first degree black belt and started teaching Taekwon-Do on the side. After launching several successful children’s martial arts programs for other people, I started looking at shifting my own mindset from that of an employee to one of a small business owner.

Mind, Body & Self Defense Special Edition book cover

I expanded my personal growth and development journey beyond martial arts in 2006 and was able to transform my own limiting ideas around who I was and what was possible for me.  I spent several years training as a program leader and coach in the same programs that had helped me create success in my own life. As I continued on my personal development path, my net worth grew by more than 12 times over the next 10 years.

In 2007, I opened my first business, Gotham Martial Arts, in Manhattan. While continuing to develop my training and teaching of others, I earned my 5th degree black belt in 2011. After running the school for six years, I negotiated the sale of my share of the company and moved across the country, to San Diego. The sale of my first business gratefully bought me time to consider what I would like to do next.

The thing that lights me up the most is empowering others. So here I am, ready to use my knowledge and experience to support you in achieving your dreams, no matter what they are.

Why I Coach…

I’ve always been a teacher at heart. I enjoy sharing knowledge, resources and information to empower people. It doesn’t much matter to me what you want. I want you to go for it. I love showing people that they are braver, stronger and more capable than they realize. So what are you waiting for?