Dana’s first focus is her family. She is a homeschooling mom of four who loves to spend time with her family hiking, mountain biking, canyoneering and four wheeling. Dana received a bachelor’s degree from BYU in English and loves reading and discussing good literature. She and her husband run a landscaping company together. She finds life satisfying if she can paint at least one mural a year. She teaches yoga and is passionate about health and nutrition and self-sustaining skills. Currently, she is focused on growing a garden, medicinal herbs, and raising chickens. Dana enjoys gathering and connecting with like-minded women and engaging in humanitarian work. She loves traveling and being immersed in culture.
“I believe you are naturally drawn to people that think like you,” Dana stated. It was this sentiment that sparked Dana’s interest in Big Ocean Women. After being intrigued by an article on maternal feminism written by Big Ocean founder, Carolina Sagebin Allen, she had the opportunity to hear Carolina speak. “I knew I wanted to be involved in whatever she was doing; I felt I had found a home for my ideas on motherhood and womanhood.”
Dana always sought out adventure growing up, be it biking, tree climbing, or bungee jumping. As the oldest of eight children raised in Utah, she has a strong bond with her sisters and loves spending time with them. Most recently, they have taken on canyoneering. While growing up, if Dana wasn’t seeking adventure outside, she’d be found curled up with a book- seeking adventure through the written word. This is a tradition that she has passed on to her children; they read from the classics daily and enjoy listening to great novels in the car. Dana said that her children will ask for a “long car ride so that we can get further in the book.” She has taught the value and excitement of a good story. Dana’s adventures today are inspired not only by her love of adventure but are also strongly motivated by her desire to serve others.
Dana’s excitement about the world and learning led her to explore a variety of ideas for future employment. She recalled that even with all of her interests and curiosity about various subjects, she always knew her main focus would be motherhood. As time passed she would find this idea sought after, challenged, and then embraced in her own life. Her road to a career was not as straight as some. She studied a variety of subjects at three different colleges. She eventually graduated with a degree in English at the age of 28, with two children at her feet. Her learning did not end there but continued as she took courses about natural healing. These courses led to her eventual side job as a health mentor. In all of these experiences and learning Dana has felt guided and inspired.
Dana met her husband in London while they were both teaching and serving for their church. After returning home, Dana and her husband dated and were married within the year. Soon two little boys would join their family. After a few years of waiting, the family would foster a little girl one year and then adopt another, their third child, the following year. This experience required a deeper faith in God and a trust in his timing. It helped Dana develop a greater understanding of God’s love and His ability to fulfill righteous desires. She said, “You can’t truly appreciate the joy without experiencing some difficulty. Letting our foster daughter go was hard, but when she [the new baby] came to us there was immediate peace in our home. It had all been worth the wait.” Two years later, the youngest of Dana’s children, another daughter, would be born into the family.
Another of Dana’s life choices has been to try and live a sustainable life within her community. She enjoys growing and harvesting herbs, has a large garden, which she tries to balance with her husband’s landscaping, and her family raises chickens (although not always with everyone’s support!). In this way Dana is helping her children grow healthy and teaching them the importance of hard work, taking care of family, and providing for yourself.
Like many women, motherhood was her priority, yet she still felt a need to make a difference outside her home. Always interested in how people interact and connect with others, she began exploring to find the right fit for her. She wondered where she could do the most good. How could she really make the difference she wanted to make? During this time of introspection, Dana attended the World Congress of Families and was inspired by the messages she heard there. Dana shared, “there is so much negativity in the media and the world, but at the conference the sense of hope for the family was alive. It was so encouraging.”
Soon after the conference, Dana agreed to be the Salt Lake Valley President of Cottages for Big Ocean Women. She was subsequently able to travel to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women event in New York with a delegation of Big Ocean Women. The trip would stretch her and awaken her to her capabilities. This experience helped her recognize the role that each woman can play in making a difference in the world. One lesson she learned was that “it is about showing up and working! . . . Even if you feel uncertain about what you can do, the biggest thing you can do is to show up!”
Dana has always enjoyed helping others and seeing them succeed. She achieves this through her mentorship with others and now as the Director of Cottages for Big Ocean Women. Dana stated, “I am passionate about empowering women in their personal lives, as mothers, and in their communities.” It is this passion, coupled with dedication, that makes Dana a strong and willing leader. As we were discussing the challenges associated with being a mother and finding fulfillment in that role she shared, “I used to struggle with the mundaneness of everyday life. Being involved in Big Ocean Women has put everything into the right perspective and has made me a happier mother and a better wife. I am better because of my involvement in Big Ocean.”
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