Following your passion and forging a new path, with Alana Tillim

Episode 923

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Alana Tillim is the founder, president and driving force behind Santa Barbara Dance Arts (SBDA) and the non-profit Arts Mentorship Program in Santa Barbara California. They have been featured in Dance Studio Life Magazine as a national model of for-profit and nonprofit programs working together. Founded in 1998, SBDA has received awards for excellence in business, leadership, and community stewardship. She has reached over 100,000 artists through her work and continues to extend her reach by inviting visiting artists and world-renowned choreographers to her space.

She co-founded the Arts Mentorship Program in 2004 with Steven Lovelace, and they have awarded over $500,000 in scholarships for underserved at-risk youth. In addition, she founded the No Limits dance program that provides free dance lessons for children with special needs, and “I am Her. She is Me,” a mother-daughter empowerment workshop.

She is also a Certified Coach for More Than Just Great Dancing and a sought-after speaker, she has been recognized by Pacific Coast Business Times’ Top 40 under 40, received the ‘Inspiration Award’ for her leadership through the Thomas Fire and Debris Flow (More Than Just Great Dancing), and is an Apogee Award for her legacy in dance education in Santa Barbara County (Nebula Dance Lab).

Alana is a devoted mentor and entrepreneur and in addition to her studio and non-profit, she owns a dancewear store, and is currently working on writing her first book. She is a dedicated mother and wife, and her family is the driving motivation behind her passion to make a change through the arts.

What you will learn from this episode:

  • How a chance meeting led to Alana owning her own dance studio, and why she considers herself an “accidental” business owner
  • How Alana’s side job as a dance instructor turned into a successful business, and why she followed her heart and chose to leave her corporate career path
  • How Alana’s business partner served as her mentor, and why their shared values were the key to their strong professional relationship
  • Why Alana feels passionate about her work and her role as a powerful role model to the young people she teaches
  • Why Alana’s personal growth involved learning from those around her and tempering her passion with wisdom
  • Why Alana’s role as a mother served as motivation and pushed her to take a chance on herself and on her unexpected career path
  • How Alana balances her time as a mother, wife, entrepreneur and business owner, and why the relationships she has with the people around her are key


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