Dan began his career as a teacher and counselor in secondary and post-secondary education. During this time, he became dedicated to helping kids with learning and behavioral disabilities, and then became involved as a mental health worker, where he learned how to work with individuals and families in crisis. This led Dan to eventually study psychology and earn a doctorate in clinical psychology.
Rather than taking a traditional approach, which is focused on diagnosis and treatment of psychological illnesses, Dan instead concentrated his studies on understanding the factors that help individuals and groups perform at their best.
After earning his doctorate, Dan shifted his focus to developing leaders in all types of organizations: public, private, government, business, domestic, multinational. Dan has held leadership roles inside corporations (e.g., Allstate Insurance) and inside consulting firms (e.g., Diamond Management and Technology, now PwC’s advisory practice). His core competencies include facilitation, coaching, program management, stakeholder engagement, alignment, organizing, community building and, most recently, training and education around Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
Dan’s privileged journey had led him to a what he thought he always wanted: a comfortable life with his wife and daughters on the North Shore of Chicago. And then, well into his career, he met Henry—a 10-year-old Black “at-risk” youth. Dan was paired with Henry through the Friends First mentoring program at Mercy Home in Chicago. As Dan watched Henry’s life unfold, he watched as Henry was suspended and diagnosed, moved from placement to successively more restrictive placement, supposedly to address his educational and emotional “needs.”
A few years later Dan joined a multi-racial community coalition dedicated to ending the School-to-Prison Pipeline. Here he learned that Henry’s journey was the journey on this very pipeline towards incarceration, a journey thousands of Black boys take inside systems that are biased to see them as defective and ultimately, dangerous. This was a turning point in Dan’s journey.
After this experience Dan immersed himself in the work of understanding and relearning our nation’s history and, most importantly how he, as a self-identified liberal, was playing a role inside systems of harm, including racism and sexism. With the direction and support of his various mentors and trainers, Dan now works to help privileged groups understand their roles in these systems of harm, and how to use this knowledge to help dismantle these systems, once and for all.
Dan is an organizer and activist in Chicago SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice) and OWMCL (Organizing White Men for Collective Liberation) both locally and nationally. Dan is also a facilitator with the Opening Doors Diversity Project.
Dan has a Doctor of Psychology, a Master of Education, and Bachelor of Arts in Music. He has numerous certifications in facilitation, leadership development, and coaching.
“Dan is a close ally in the movement for racial justice because of his willingness to do the hard and uncomfortable work that leads to collective liberation.”
Rosemary Rivera, Co-Director of Citizens Action New York.
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