Friday, October 21, 2011

JOLT a Wake-Up Call: Are you the person you want to be, doing what really matters to you? If not now, when?

Unfortunately, it too often takes a literal JOLT - like Thursday’s Bay Area earthquakes - that impels us to ask, “Is this all there is?”, “Am I content with my life?” and “What am I waiting for?” Fortunately, there was no damage or loss of life as a result of the October 20th, 3.9 magnitude tremblors, so we’re not in an ‘it’s too late’ state.

Since they did strike, how can we capitalize on this disconcerting wake-up call? How about deciding to live consciously with gratitude and wonder? How about looking at what’s unsettling or unsatisfactory in our lives and/or in the world around us, and deciding that enough’s enough. That we’re going to make a change, beginning with clarifying what’s not O.K., identifying a new goal, making a plan and then following through, step by baby step. Maybe it will require guidance and support. Get it. Maybe there will be failures along the way. Consider them learning opportunities. And as there is progress, celebrate!

It takes concerted practice to live consciously, plus courage and persistence to shift the status quo. But if you’re engaged in what matters to you and you’re committed to be(com)ing the person you want to be, you won’t need to ask, “If not now, when?” when the next JOLT happens. Why wait?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Workshop Series for Women: 7 Keys to Living a Passion-Fueled Life

Attend the informational telecall: Friday, Oct 14, 4:30-5:00 - 712.432.0075; Access Code:419355#

What does it take to move from mere surviving to thriving? Exhausted to energized?

Bored to excited? Anxious to calm? Unclear to focused? Sad to happy?

In essence what does it take to live a passion-fueled life,

moment by moment, day by day, year by year?

It takes: vision, action, self-care, learning, connecting, conscious attitudes and sharing.

Join Dana on a journey exploring and activating the

7 keys necessary to creating the personal and professional life YOU want to live.

For a full description of the workshop series go to: 7-Keys to Living a Passion-Fueled Life
Groups (of 8 maximum) are currently forming in San Francisco, Marin County, Oakland, CA and Bend, OR.
Attend the informational telecall: Friday, Oct 14, 4:30-5:00 - 712.432.0075; Access Code:419355#
Information/Sign Up:

Monday, September 26, 2011

TRANSFORMING LIVES Book Talk: 7 Keys to Living a Passion-Fueled Life...Lessons from Women Who Know...

Julie’s Coffee and Tea Garden

cordially invites you to meet

photojournalist and career/life coach


who has explored the life-changing

power of microfinance in her book,

Transforming Lives $40 at a Time

Women + Microfinance: Upending the Status Quo

Please join Dana on a virtual global tour, meeting women

who -- with the help of microfinance business and personal training, loans and other financial services -- are transforming their lives inside and out. Learn from them and Dana’s own journey about what it takes in attitude and action

to live a passion-fueled life!

When: Wednesday, October 12th, 7:00-9:00pm

Where: Julie’s Coffee and Tea Garden

1223 Park Street, Alameda, CA

Highlights of the book are viewable at:

*Each book purchase will benefit an organization whose clients are included in Dana's book.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Hear Dana Speak about "Transforming Lives" - July 6th!

Commonwealth Club International Relations Member-Led Forum: TOMORROW, Wednesday, July 6: "Transforming Lives $40 at a Time: Women + Microfinance, Upending the Status Quo."
Speaker: Dana E. Whitaker, photojournalist, principal, Opening Eyes, LLC
Dana is an author, photographer and coach committed to helping women realize their potential both professionally and personally. She will explore the intricacies and importance of microfinance in helping to eradicate poverty. What are the challenges and successes both for the sector and for those most affected – the microentrepreneurs themselves?

Dana Whitaker lives in Berkeley, and for 17 years taught English and social sciences at Bay Area inner city and alternative high schools. She became very interested in microfinance and took a leave of absence, traveling to thirteen countries on five continents as a photojournalist. The countries she visited included Guatemala, Bolivia, Argentina, Chile, Ghana, France, Georgia, Jordan, India, Bangladesh, China and Vietnam.

She is membership chair of the Northern California chapter of Women Advancing Microfinance, a worldwide organization encouraging women who work in the microfinance industry. Check out her website at

Wine and networking reception 5:30 p.m., program 6 p.m., book signing 7 p.m.
$8 for members, $20 (DISCOUNTED TO $10 for non-members)*, $7 for students with current school ID.
Location: Commonwealth Club headquarters, 595 Market Street - Mezzanine, San Francisco (at Montgomery St. BART/Muni station), cross street Second Street
Reservations are not required but recommended - phone (415) 597-6705 or (800) 847-7730. Tickets can also be purchased via website:
*Directions for the special non-member discount:
Instead of paying the standard $20 rate, each person using the coupon below will receive a $10 discount at the check-out page and will receive the $10 discount rate for 1 ticket purchased.

To redeem the discounted ticket:

-Visit the direct event page,

-Select the number of tickets desired at the bottom of the event page, select Add to Basket and proceed to check-out

-At the check-out page there will be an opportunity to enter a coupon code. Yours is: sfforwhitaker

Keep in mind that the coupon code is case sensitive and is only available for one ticket per transaction.

If there is any trouble redeeming the coupon, it can also be used by calling our automated ticket line at 415-597-6705.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Want to make an impact in the world? What a gift it is!

Come for an evening of fun, cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, music and shopping. Leave inspired having learned about the mission of Women's Initiative and having heard the stories of how we've empowered women to build businesses and enriched communities in Alameda County.

Business in Bloom
Thursday, April 21, from 6 – 9 pm
443 25th Street
Oakland, CA VIEW MAP

learn more Click here to RSVP and purchase tickets ($25 per person) or contact Carmen Angulo at for more information.

Music by Women's Initiative Graduate
Ruby “Baby” Bennett

Raffle tickets available for $5 each or 5 for $20. Raffle prizes include Oakland/Berkeley restaurant gift certificates, fabulous gift baskets from Women’s Initiative graduates, and much more! Contact me: to purchase tickets. They will also be sold during the event. You do not need to be present to win.

Event program and ‘Fund-a-Need’ campaign begin at
7 p.m.
Raffle prize winners announced at 8:45 p.m.

Shopping at the Women's Initiative Graduate Marketplace includes unique jewelry, clothing, distinctive accessories, gourmet foods and other items from the businesses created by Women's Initiative graduates.

Special thanks to Barbara Llewellyn Catering for generously donating their space for this event.

About Women's Initiative
For more than 20 years, Women’s Initiative for Self Employment has provided low-income, high-potential women with the training, funding and ongoing support to start their own businesses and become financially self-sufficient. The women who go through our program significantly increase their income and assets while launching businesses, creating jobs and stimulating the local economy.
In 2010, our recent graduates created 3,818 jobs!

The Gifts of Impact
There are innumerable ways to make an impact in the world. What's continuously amazing to me as a board member and volunteer for Women's Initiative is that I receive as much if not more than I give.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Valentine's Day - A Professional Boon

Valentine's Day does not have to be for lovers only.
Nor does it need to begin with Hallmark or include a box of chocolates. While there's nothing the matter with any of these things, Valentine's Day can also be a professional boon for YOU.
Who has supported you over the past year? Introduced you to a new client? Given you business? Teamed up with you for what became a successful, profitable project? Listened to you when you were down, confused or overloaded? Contributed to a cause about which you're passionate? Applauded your efforts privately or publicly? Became a trusted friend...?
Valentine's Day is a perfect time to call, send a hand-written note or write an email thanking those people in your professional sphere for supporting you in whatever way they did.
It doesn't have to take a long time to connect, but
your heartfelt efforts will have long-lasting results
both for the receiver and the giver - you.

Friday, January 7, 2011

What's Love Got to Do with It?

     It struck me during the holidays how tempting it was for me and for others with whom I spent time to overbook, eat too much, stay out too late, purchase one more unnecessary gift and forgo time to reflect, not to mention get adequate sleep. The consequences of such choices are what I call the 3 Bs: the blues, bulge and burnout. 

     Whether you over- or under-indulge, you’re actually depriving yourself physically, mentally and/or emotionally.

      What if I told you that you could say ‘Never again!’ to these all too typical actions and deleterious results? This can be accomplished by making and committing to following one decision: love yourself. Yep, that’s it. Decide to love yourself like you love a best friend, a child, a spouse, a partner. Decide to stop plowing into each day, each opportunity, each responsibility, each plate of food without consideration for what you really want, really need, really have energy and time to undertake. Decide to take the time at every opportunity to ask yourself, ‘Will this decision reflect my love for myself?’ If the answer is ‘Yes’ then do it. If it’s ‘No’ then consider your options – who might help you with that task; is it really essential or can it be amended, dropped or delayed; ask yourself and then listen to what you really crave instead of another 1000 empty calories; pay attention to your energy levels -- are you getting too much or too little exercise, sleep, time for what you really care about, and for yourself…

      If you start practicing loving yourself now, instead of blurting the 'Bs' next December, you'll be singing in the key of ‘E’ – ‘Yes, Enough, that's just Enough!’