Raise Up Extraordinary Women: Dana Mathes

Dana Mathes

For the month of December, I’ll be shining light each day on some extraordinary women I know. They represent various fields and backgrounds, and I admire each for their passion and strength. These are bold, beautiful, brave women — artists, businesswomen, union organizers, nurses, writers, teachers, movie makers, designers, reporters, and all-around badasses.

Dana Mathes is a California girl who happily lives in and telecommutes from Colorado. In 2007, after years of being convinced that you can’t make a living as a writer, she landed her dream job as a marketing and fundraising writer for her alma mater, UC Berkeley, and later, UC San Francisco. When not glued to her computer, Dana splits her free time between never-ending home improvement projects and exploring the mountains and rivers of the Rocky Mountain West with her boyfriend, Jeff, and their dog, Baxter.

1. What did you want to be “when you grew up?”  In chronological order … a Disney animator, a lawyer, a politician, a filmmaker, and for a very brief period in college, an ER doctor (thank you, George Clooney).

2. What makes you the most proud of yourself?  When I meet a deadline. When I tweak a yummy recipe and it turns out as good or better than the original. The moments I feel that I’ve been kind.

3. What darkness have you overcome? How did you find strength?  I grew up an only child with an incredibly loving, mentally ill mother. She would experience bouts of mania and depression, along with delusions, which created a fair bit of chaos in my childhood. But she instilled in me a deep sense of unconditional love and self-worth, and I always knew that she would fiercely protect me from any real danger. I’m extremely lucky that my grandmother lived with us for much of my time growing up, and she was able to create stability and routine when I needed it most. During college, my mother ended up being homeless for about three years, but she insisted that I finish my degree. After college, she moved in with me and I supported her financially and, in many ways, physically for the next 20 years. My mother passed away in February after a long decline with lung disease. Looking back, I would say that she was the source of both my greatest hardships and greatest strengths. I am grateful for both. Through it all, my loves of reading, nature, and the movies — fueled a very active imagination — have been my escape hatches. I also have amazing friends, some of whom I’ve known since 3rd grade.

4. Where will we find you on a Saturday morning at 10 a.m.?  Home with my boyfriend and our adorable dog. Enjoying a cappuccino and a yummy breakfast. Plotting all the projects and errands that we may or may not get done that day.

5. What makes you smile the most?  Chubby babies. Goofy animal gifs. Amazing friends. And the two loves of my life, Jeff and Baxter.

Bonus: What advice would you give your younger self?  I honestly don’t have advice for my younger self. There’s stuff I wish I had done differently. But as a kid, I never listened to advice anyway. 😂

Today’s #OneGoodThing is sharing this extraordinary woman and my friend, Dana Mathes, with all of you! We are stronger together, so let’s shine a light on our extraordinary sisters! If you’d like to participate or nominate a woman to participate, please send me a note or leave a comment! What was your #OneGoodThing today? Please share in the comments! Kindness is Everything.

Day 362 of 365. And Day 1,458 in a row (here’s the first 366, & the following 365, & the third year of 365 good things)!

1 year ago today: A beautiful grip

2 years ago today: Tasty liquids for Mama

3 years ago today: Surprise peppermint bark

4 replies

  1. I knew Dana when she was a teenager and knew that she was special. But after reading this, I find that she is actually extraordinary.



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