Dana is a Montana native with a passion for languages, travel and people, with a double B.A. major in International Affairs and English from Lewis and Clark College, and a minor in Eastern European Studies. An LC study abroad in 1985 in the former Soviet Union, arriving just a month after Gorbachev took power, sparked her love of the Russian people and culture, which a second program through A.C.T.R at Moscow’s Pushkin Institute during the summer of 1987 further cemented.
Dana has extensive experience in both the private and non-profit sectors – working initially with Daewoo International, a Korean-trading company, and then three years with the Refugee Federation Service Center as a Job Developer and ESL instructor, helping former Soviet refugees, as well as other nationalities, transition to life in the U.S in the early 1990’s. Dana also led two tours of American students and business tourists to the Soviet Union at that time with MIR Corporation, a Seattle-based company specializing in travel to the former Soviet Union. She is highly proficient in Russian, and can function in both French and Korean.
In 1992, Dana joined Marine Resources Co. Int’l, a Seattle-based joint Soviet/Russian-American fishing company that pioneered ties between the Russian Far East and the Pacific Northwest that continue to this day. With offices throughout the RFE and Moscow, and later in Pusan, S. Korea, MRCI was an exciting place to be during the wild years of the Soviet Union’s break-up – Dana worked for many years as a Project Manager and Account Liaison with numerous MRCI Russian partners, managing communication, packaging and equipment sales and logistics to Russian ship-owners and crews. In 1996-97, along with her husband, Dana spent 14 months in Pusan, S. Korea as Co-Director of the MRCI Pusan office, working with both Russian and Korean partners, and various MRCI offices, handling a myriad of logistical and crew issues for Russian vessels transiting through Korea, which has left her with a lasting appreciation and love of the Korean people, and their food.
After MRCI, Dana worked for Bob Walsh Industries as Director for Georgia Project Development on the company’s many projects in Tbilisi, Georgia (the former Soviet Republic of Georgia), leaving just prior to the birth of the first of her two children in 2000, at which point she began a career as a free-lance writer, covering business, education, travel and health topics for Seattle’s Child Magazine, Alaska Airlines Magazine, Mid-West Express, Seattle Woman, and Bainbridge Island Magazine, which she continues to do.
Dana re-focused her energies towards Russia in 2011, joining the Board of Directors of the Bainbridge Island-based non-profit Camp Siberia (now Bainbridge Island-Kitezh), an organization that paired Bainbridge High school age youth with Russian orphans for a few weeks every summer in Russia. In 2012, when the original Siberian destination no longer worked, Dana helped Camp Siberia re-locate their program to Kitezh, a foster community for Russian orphans south of Moscow, where she also led a group of Bainbridge students in the summer of 2014.
In the spring of 2015, Dana approached her old boss, OWN’s founding Board Member Bob Walsh, to discuss the idea of adding a Russia program to OWN’s existing programs in Arabic, Chinese and Korean. With tremendous support, they established the OWN MRCI Talbot Russia Scholarship Fund to enable underserved youth to experience Russia, with Dana taking the first OWN Russia Program students to Russia the summer of 2016. Dana is delighted to be teaching OWN’s first Russian language program, and looks forward to taking another group of OWN students to Russia next summer.