Dawn Sanders may be a familiar name for many in Sammamish. She has her own coaching business, and she also contributes to the community as board president of the Sammamish Chamber of Commerce, board president of Eastside Friends of Seniors, vice president of Sammamish Kiwanis, and an advisory team member for Sammamish Seniors.
Professionally, Sanders, 62, has been a certified life and relationship coach since 2017. She uses positive intelligence techniques to help families cultivate healthier relationships, and individuals find purpose in life. Her services range from life coaching, to couples and parental coaching, and leadership and clinical coaching. She believes that we can teach our brain to shift to a positive mindset, and this supports our physical and mental health.
“I love working with parents, especially around the positive mindset, and helping them help their children,” said Sanders.
Sanders also believes that healthy individuals make a healthy community and the same is true the other way around — an involved community nurtures healthy individuals.
Her involvement in the community started in 1991, when she moved to Sammamish (part of Redmond then) with her husband and five young children. She had taken a break from her career, but started filling up her spare time with volunteer work at her kids’ schools, which she found highly fulfilling.
“As a parent, you do what you can. My now adult children often mention how much they liked having me involved,” said Sanders.
Around 2006, she was hired by the City of Sammamish to manage their volunteer programs. This transition from a citizen to a member of city staff helped her connect with many people in the community, as well as local volunteer organizations. Sanders embraced and leveraged these connections for the benefit of all, and was able to get more people involved in the community during her seven years at city hall.
In 2013, she moved to Vietnam after her husband took a job there. When they returned two years later, Sanders started working for the Seattle Chapter of Susan G. Komen Foundation. Helping breast cancer survivors navigate life and find purpose brought greater clarity to Sanders.
“I realized I wanted to help other women find more purpose in their lives and careers,” said Sanders, and thus, she began her career as a life coach. She initially focused on helping these women.
Sanders attended a training program at Seattle Coach, which included 60 hours of training and 100 hours of coaching. She went on to receive her certification with Positive Intelligence by completing an additional 50 hours of training and 40 hours of group coaching. She is also a member of the Gottman Institute Couple Coaching Program.
She credits John LaMunyon, a former pastor at Sammamish Hills Lutheran Church, for influencing and mentoring her during her initial days as a life coach. She recalls a conversation with LaMunyon where she asked if he wants to make a difference in the world.
“And he said, no, that isn’t right. You wanna make a big difference in the world,” recalled Sanders. “He got me to believe that.”
Sanders uses her strengths, such as building relationships, positive reinforcement and human connections, for greater impact across multiple generations within community. On average, she spends about 40 hours per month volunteering with organizations. Her contributions range from growing the SAMMI Awards — which recognizes volunteers in the city — for 15 years until 2017, to driving a recent fundraiser for Eastside Friends of Seniors and organizing an open house for Sammamish Kiwanis.
Raised in Issaquah, Sanders is deeply connected to this region and community. While her family and the community are her biggest sources of motivation, she credits former city council member Jack Berry and Kids Without Borders founder Son Michael Pham as mentors. She feels blessed to be connected to her grown-up children, grandchildren and extended family, and is grateful for her husband’s support.
“I tend to meet folks that are very giving and care about the community,” said Sanders. “Volunteering actually helps our brain stay young and age well and I will continue to work and volunteer until health permits.”