Ep 20: Success and Authenticity with Dana Fonteneau

Ep 20: Success and Authenticity with Dana Fonteneau

dana blog.png

about dana

Dana Fonteneau draws on her diverse background in music, business, finance, and psychology to help her clients attain greater personal and career success. She is part performance coach, management consultant, financial advisor, and therapist. Equally comfortable in the board room and the concert hall, Dana helps individuals and small businesses succeed. Her international practice is centered in the arts where she works with top soloists, chamber ensembles, orchestral musicians, actors, dancers, and educators, as well as with leading administrators, board members, and managers throughout the music industry. 

Over the past two decades, she has developed a strong track record of helping both those with established careers and rising talents clarify their goals and achieve sustainable results. Her clients have included Grammy Award-winners, Avery Fisher career grant recipients, and Fulbright Scholars, along with leaders and board members from major arts organizations. She has also worked with members of the Boston, Dallas, and Seattle Symphonies and faculty members from the Juilliard School, New England Conservatory, Peabody Institute, and San Francisco Conservatory. Her work is conducted one-on-one, in small group settings, and through writing and speaking engagements to address career planning, interpersonal dynamics, performance anxiety, and financial planning and negotiations.

Dana also continues to work with select entrepreneurs, business owners, boards, and companies outside of classical music. Some of these clients have included employees at Apple and Genentech, Silicon Valley startups, and established companies. Her targeted work has enabled clients to negotiate a six-figure consulting contract with Twitter, succeed at interviews with Fortune 500 companies, and significantly increase business, profit, and fundraising results. 

Dana has appeared as a guest speaker at nearly every major music school in the United States including the Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, University of Michigan, Rice University, University of Texas at Austin, and the San Francisco Conservatory. She has presented and served as a career advisor at the Chamber Music America National Conference, Yellow Barn Chamber Music Festival, for the United States Marine Band, and Eighth Blackbird’s Creative Lab. Dana’s writing can be found on her blog 'The WholeHearted Musician'; in feature articles for Strings Magazine and Chamber Music Magazine; and her book "It's Not (JUST) About the Gig" which examines what success means to musicians and how to achieve it. 

Dana is a conservatory trained musician who has performed as a soloist, chamber musician, and as a orchestral player around the world. She holds degrees in cello performance from the San Francisco Conservatory. Additionally, she holds a M.A. in Counseling Psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies, is a Demartini Method and Demartini Values Facilitator, and is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (MFC49425) in the State of California.

in this episode

Early in our conversation, Dana says, “I have a diverse career that keeps evolving.” She tells us about this evolution and how she works with musicians to help them build thriving lives and careers with intention and authenticity. We discuss:

  • Dana’s musical background

  • The decision to go back to school to study psychology after a few years of working as a professional musician, including what it was like to complete the 4000h (!) of clinical experience required for licensure while maintaining a busy career as a performer

  • How Dana works with musicians to help them build careers around what is most vital and inspiring to them

  • How we can learn to sense more clearly within ourselves whether we are operating from a place of authenticity or from a place of “should”

  • Resonance and purity of tone as metaphors for living and working in alignment with what we most value

  • How, when we’re living and working “out of tune” with what is true for us, this can show up in many seemingly unrelated ways, including financial instability, relationship crisis, sleep disturbances, procrastination, performance anxiety, etc.

  • How, conversely, when we’re living “in tune” with our values, we often experience more tenacity and aliveness

  • The importance of self-observation and self-governance in building lives of purpose

  • How inspiration and shame often go hand-in-hand

  • How being in a chronic state of fight-or-flight can keep us locked in a mindset of scarcity and threat rather than a mindset of curiosity and possibility

  • That we can’t separate our musical/professional lives from the rest of our lives

  • How Dana helps musicians prepare for some of the unique psychological challenges associated with auditions and competitions

  • How the process of reflecting on what is most important is not a one-time thing and that we need to reconsider our priorities and values at various points throughout our lives and careers

  • Financial health including fair exchange and learning to value ourselves and the service we provide

  • Dana’s perspective that there is no lack of possibility for earning money if we are able to think in terms of service to another individual or group and to articulate it in a language they can relate to

  • Burnout among musicians

learn more

Dana’s website

Dana’s book, It’s Not (Just) About the Gig

Find Dana on Facebook or Instagram

Ramit Sethi’s book, I Will Teach You To Be Rich

The Pareto principle (80/20 rule) that Dana refers to towards the end of our conversation

Ep 19: Working with Being Human with Christine Carter

Ep 19: Working with Being Human with Christine Carter