Born and raised in the Windy City of Chicago, Dawn grew up in a real estate family - her father was a commercial broker specializing in retail leasing & her mother focused on residential transactions. The irony is it never crossed her mind that she would one day make use of this "education" and have a very successful real estate career. Instead, she was an avid athlete. As a highly accomplished figure skater and ice dancer, Dawn was able to transfer many of those skills and became a fully certified ski instructor at the age of 19: something that, later, would have a profound effect on her life.
Her first visit to Vail was in 1980 when she was taken by the magnificent mountain community and found the people to be “genuine, kind & friendly”. A fact that remains true today and played a big part on a decision made two years later.
After graduating from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration: majoring in Marketing, Management and Pre-Law, Dawn pursued another love - retail sales. Having worked at Marshall Field's and Ann Taylor during high school and college, she accepted a management position with The Limited and subsequently assisted in opening the first Express store. At the time, the owner of the corporation owned a home in Vail that was part of an incentive program for the top managers. Dawn still loved skiing, and knowing she could return to a successful retail sales career at any time, she accepted a position as Co-Director of a ski school in a small Wisconsin resort - Wilmot Mountain - which is now owned by Vail Resorts. She maintained her involvement in sales by actively marketing the ski school and working for a ski industry representative responsible for 22 lines. That year, she was selected to become an Examiner for the Professional Ski Instructors of America. As luck would have it, she was also offered a position in a place she had grown very fond of, Vail, with the Vail/Beaver Creek Ski School.
Arriving in Vail in 1982, Dawn immediately started teaching private lessons and developed, as she says, "an incredible clientele - people who, to this day, are some of our very dearest friends." Wanting to keep a balance in her life, she accepted a position, with what was then Vail Associates, as a Marketing and Sales Representative during the non-winter months covering an eight state territory. Her ski clients often wanted her to join them while they were looking at real estate. With a wedding planned for 1988, the Marketing Department program changing and realizing the value and trust her clients placed on her opinion, Dawn decided it was time for her to make a change, too. She earned her real estate license in 1988, the coveted GRI (Graduate, Realtor Institute) Designation in 1992 and her Employing Broker's license in 1993.
After working for a competitor for seven years, Dawn joined Slifer Smith & Frampton's anchor office on Bridge Street in Vail Village in 1995 where she can often be found working well after 6:00 PM. Truly committed to her clients and her profession, she has also completed six additional designations and certifications that clearly set her apart from others with her depth of experience, skills and knowledge: CIPS (Certified International Property Specialist) Designation, CRS (Certified Residentail Specialist) Designation, CNE and MCNE (Certified and Master Certified Negotiation Expert) Designation, RSPS (Resort and Second Home Property Specialist) Certification and TRC (Transnational Referral Certification). You will not find a more professional, caring and detail oriented Broker!
When asked what she does in her free time, she laughs: "What free time? With my wonderful husband, Larry, and two incredible young men: Keaghen (19 - Miami University) & Tristen (14) to love and nurture plus working full-time, volunteering at the boys' schools, there isn't any free time!" She still loves to ski, take hikes with their rescued pooch, Lexsi, and be outside as much as possible in the summer - often working in the garden. She loves to entertain, too, which allows her to share her passion for cooking with friends throughout the year.
She also believes in giving back to this compassionate community by actively volunteering for local organizations and charity fundraisers. She has donated more than 2,500 hours over the years to the Eagle County Charter Academy, Vail Christian High School, Children's Garden of Learning, Vail Valley Medical Center Auxiliary, Vail Valley Breast Cancer Awareness Group, Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, Vail Board of Realtors and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital - Vail Snow Angels. Most recently, she was selected as a Director of the Vail Board of Realtors Foundation in 2015 and has been the VBRF Board Chair for the past two years.
"The true value in life is about the journey and the relationships you build along the way. Helping people make their dreams come true and then watching them enjoy that dream - making heartwarming lifelong memories with their loved ones and friends - that has been my greatest reward for more than 28 years of being a devoted Vail Valley Real Estate expert. It's the friendships that I cherish most!"
"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give." - Winston Churchill