About Dave

General Bio | Education & Credentials | Media | Interests | Additional Training & Workshops | Select Work Experience

General Bio

I guide others to create happier and more powerful lives through my strategic life coaching practice. I especially enjoy coaching high-potential, overachieving, and socially and ecologically conscious people.

My work draws upon more than eight years of education in coaching, counseling psychology, public policy and management, and general psychology.

I compose music, and am an award-winning author of several books. I enjoy nature, outdoor activities, cooking, eating, comedy, and deep conversation.

I’m fortunate to have had many educational and growth opportunities that help me to serve others.

dave speaking at Unitarian church 1
Dave speaking to an audience (Unitarian Universalist congregation)

One of my greatest learning experiences was foster co-parenting an incredibly cute and lovable little girl for two years. This included fun urban forest adventures, as shown in the photo.

As I encourage my clients to do, I enjoy breaking through stereotypes and labels.

I grew up in a blue-collar Ohio environment with modest financial resources and a loving family. My earliest jobs included assisting my parents with custodial work, working on a factory assembly line, and cooking in a fast food restaurant.

I’ve had the opportunity to attend some of the world’s wealthiest and most rigorous schools, deepening my interest in human development and potential, relationships, leadership, and spirituality.

Dave hiking with baby carrier
adventures in foster parenting

Once the last pick for school sports teams, I later bicycled across the continent, ran a marathon, and grew to love outdoor athletic activities.

Once teased about abnormal speech patterns, I later won a few speaking competitions. Often shy, I now sometimes write and talk with people about taboo topics like money, sexuality, and social programming.

While I’ve written two vegan cookbooks, I don’t view related issues as black and white as some do, so I consider myself “mostly plant-based.”

Much of this happened not only because of hard work and determination, but also the support and encouragement of others. Nobody is entirely self made. Whatever sets you apart, despite the opinions of the world, I’d like to help you express it.

running a race

I’ve worked on economic and public health projects that informed leadership decisions, created and taught a self-development course to community leadership graduate students, and served as a leadership skills assessor at a well-respected HR consulting firm.

I’ve done a lot of self-growth work as a recovering overachiever, so if you identify with that label, a free discovery session is especially likely to serve you.

More details on my formal training, credentials, media coverage, and interests follow.

Dave near Bryce Canyon
Dave near Bryce Canyon

Education and Credentials

Phillips Academy Andover

B.A., Psychology, Yale University

Yale Psi Chi Psychology Honor Society

M.S., Public Policy and Management, Carnegie Mellon University
Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy

4.0 GPA, Highest Distinction, Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, Heinz Fellowship

M.A., Community Counseling, Indiana University of Pennsylvania

4.0 GPA, Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, Spinelli Memorial Merit Scholarship (awarded to one student each year)

Certified Life Coach (CLC) and graduate of 130-hour ICF Accredited Coach Training Program (ACTP), Institute for Life Coach Training (incl. Wellness Inventory Certification)


Media Coverage

My professional work, opinions, and volunteer endeavors have been featured or cited in a number of publications and media outlets:

Runner's World
Journal of Community Health
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
wmfd television logo
Mansfield News Journal
The Sierra Club Sylvanian

I’ve also posted a range of individual testimonials from clients, colleagues, and students I’ve taught.


Have you ever considered the common threads that link the activities you enjoy?

My hobbies fall within three areas:

1) Creating things that energize, inspire, or nourish others: composing music, cooking, gardening, writing

2) Actively exploring and experiencing nature: jogging, hiking, cycling, camping

3) Learning about various personal growth topics, through reading, experience, and others’ teaching and experiences.

A question often on my mind: Which societal “shoulds” and unquestioned social norms box us in, preventing us from being our fullest and truest selves, and limiting our happiness and positive impact?

Topics include life balance, career development, relationships, sexuality and intimacy, breaking through limiting gender role and social class norms, spirituality, and physical living environments.

Coaching is a blast for me because it combines elements of all three areas above: I’m supporting you in creating results in your life (which energizes, inspires, and nourishes you), while weaving in personal growth concepts.

Additional Training and Workshops

  • Solution-Focused Approaches (including specific applications for sexuality and relationships)
  • Leadership Behavioral Competency Assessment
  • Fundamentals of Conflict Resolution
  • Sexual Attitude Reassessment
  • Reality Therapy/Choice Theory
  • Bowen Family and Organizational Systems
  • Wellness Coach Certification
  • Advanced Falling Awake (on money and relationships, by Dave Ellis)
  • Soul Sex
  • various workshops on authentic and conscious relating

Select Work Experience

Outside of coaching, I’ve served others in a range of settings, providing an appreciation for statements like, “I’m interested in several things, but I’m not sure which way to go.” My people-oriented work is balanced by a technical and analytical side. My experience has a common thread of improving quality of life, catalyzing change, and maximizing potential.

  • Authored several books including three self-help and inspiration titles.
  • Designed and taught a self-development class for graduate leadership students.
  • With a leadership consulting firm, observed and assessed corporate managers’ behavior, communications, and personality profile data, and crafted developmental feedback messages.
  • Counseled formerly incarcerated men using coaching-related approaches.
  • Managed a multi-agency initiative on family and community wellness data.
  • Conducted research and evaluation on environmental health, youth civic participation, and urban economic development.
  • Presented at national and state professional/academic conferences on topics linking leadership, psychology, and social responsibility.