Dawn F. Landry of Authentizity: “Self-Preservation”

My ambition is that my life experiences demonstrate that it is more than acceptable to lean into our individual backgrounds and capabilities to overcome life’s battles because we all have the power within us to courageously motivate and be an advocate for those under our charge. I am unconventional, imperfect, determined, yet humorously self-aware. In characterizing […]

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My ambition is that my life experiences demonstrate that it is more than acceptable to lean into our individual backgrounds and capabilities to overcome life’s battles because we all have the power within us to courageously motivate and be an advocate for those under our charge.

I am unconventional, imperfect, determined, yet humorously self-aware. In characterizing some of my life the past twenty years, you might call me an “unexpected caregiver,” since every illness that afflicted Daran came as a surprise, sneak attack. Although I have never felt like the noun caregiver adequately described me, nor how I served him. As someone comfortable being a big dreamer and naturally curious, I pressed myself further to explore why.


The COVID19 pandemic has disrupted all of our lives. But sometimes disruptions can be times of opportunity. Many people’s livelihoods have been hurt by the pandemic. But some saw this as an opportune time to take their lives in a new direction.

As a part of this series called “How I Was Able To Pivot To A New Exciting Opportunity Because Of The Pandemic”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dawn F. Landry.

Dawn F. Landry has spent over half of her 27-year career in Houston’s corporate real estate industry, excelling in business development and marketing leadership positions within the region’s largest economic development organization, as well as international commercial construction companies.

In February 2017, she founded Authentizity, LLC, as an independent B2B growth strategist and a Gallup-Certified CliftonStrengths® Coach to provide consulting, training, and coaching services that optimize technical teams’ engagement and productivity. While operating as the organization’s CEO, she recently authored and self-published a bestselling book, ARMORED.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

I’m someone who was, and still is, a big dreamer. I grew up in the 1970s in a small, rural town in south Louisiana. By general stereotypes and outward observations, I should never have achieved the successes that I can blessedly claim today. I don’t come from wealth or connections, but by the Grace of God and a lot of hard work, I have surpassed my childhood fantasies for a beautiful life with a wonderful, loving husband and rewarding career.

I’ve spent over twenty-seven years as a business executive, singularly driven to advance in my profession. In the early part of my career when I was in my twenties and early-to-mid thirties, you might define me as restless and impatient. Things weren’t happening fast enough for me, so I’d move on to the next job within a couple of years.

Eventually, I found my home in Houston’s corporate real estate industry, excelling in business development and marketing leadership positions within the region’s largest economic development organization, as well as international commercial construction companies.

And just when I thought that I had settled in and had things figured out, God allowed another growth opportunity to press and stretch me to the next level. In February 2017, I founded Authentizity, LLC, as an independent business growth strategist to assist companies with customized programs designed to advance their leadership proficiencies, team alignment, and outreach effectiveness. I became a Gallup-Certified CliftonStrengths® Coach and then leveraged that tool to provide consulting, training, and coaching services that optimize technical teams’ engagement and productivity.

Even with big dreams, I have experienced the harsh realities of my self-limiting and self-imposed roadblocks. However, I have also witnessed that, if I open myself to growth, I will be challenged and step up to the task before me.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Let’s face it, despite our best-laid plans, life rarely follows a predictable path. However, I’ve found that if you relax and breathe through the challenges that you will be pleasantly surprised by the outcomes.

Oh, but don’t be impressed by this wisdom I’m sharing! I wasn’t born with the trait of staying calm in a storm. I come from a long line of worrywarts. You could even call these wonderful people “Worry Warriors.” If there is something to worry about, they will find it. If there isn’t, they’ll conjure something up. They also welcome the company and opportunity to get you worked up right there with them!

Worrying is natural. However, I now choose a different path. I have found that, as soon as I become aware of my worrying, I can opt to go down that road, or I can simply focus on a new, more positive thought. Choosing the positive thought is a healthier option because I know deep down that ninety-nine percent of the things that my overactive imagination concocts never come to fruition. So then, why worry about it?

In 2016, I was told about Michael Singer’s book, The Surrender Experiment, and it changed my world. Throughout 2017, I began testing Singer’s Surrender Theory. In fact, it felt like because I had declared that I was surrendered and released to whatever presented itself before me, I was challenged even more, and I survived it all.

Living a life surrendered to whatever is put before you that day is the antithesis of the superimposed, strategic planning touted by Corporate America where I work daily. However, I have found that this radical trust is far more fulfilling, and I do accomplish more.

Things will likely not transpire in any manner that I can magnificently create in my head. It will all be better if I take my hands off the wheel.

Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

To get to where I am today, I have worked hard at self-awareness and improvement. Basically, I redirected my innate curiosity internally towards myself. I am a work in progress. I know that I am nowhere near where I am going to be. However, I am also eons from where I started.

I speak from experience when I state that before I did the work in self-reflection and naval gazing — including the time, resource, and financial investment — I was very much frustrated and was frustrating to many around me.

Through the past thirty years, I have read many self-help books, completed countless personality tests and supporting workbooks, and taken several self-improvement courses. They have all added to the mosaic of who I have become. Yet, the results of and knowledge garnered from my Gallup CliftonStrengths® assessment has influenced me the most to date as it propels me forward. I realize that, by embracing my uniqueness, I show up as my true, authentic self.

As a Gallup-Certified CliftonStrengths® Coach, I believe in walking my talk. My husband, Daran Landry, completed the assessment several years ago. We examined his results in combination with mine as a communication tool to deepen our relationship. It was an experiment in curiosity at a then non-eventful time in our marriage and allowed us to delve into our respective motivations and areas of engagement. We saw our commonalities, but also our differences and how they complement one another to make us a great team.

In my work with clients, I witness people doing their best when they apply their strengths to a task. This works universally across the smallest to largest of tasks. When you can “Name, Claim, and Aim” (a Gallup phrase) your talents, and truly double down on them by building them up through intentional use each day, then you can appreciate that they are almost as unique to you as your thumbprint. Only then can they be called strengths. That is the only way that our strengths have an opportunity to develop into our superpowers.

However, like any muscle, if a talent is unused then it weakens and can actually work against you. For instance, each animal knows its exact purpose and value on this Earth. Imagine a world in which we would observe a giraffe attempting to fly or a fish trying to do anything out of water.

Why isn’t that so? It’s simple. They know their value; they play to their God-Given Talents and stay in their lane.

Living in our strengths zone provides us with an understanding of how God wired each of us differently and how we are motivated and gain passion by certain things versus others.

Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before the Pandemic began?

I have spent the bulk of my twenty-seven-year-career in Houston’s corporate real estate industry, excelling in business development and marketing leadership positions within the region’s largest economic development organization, as well as international commercial construction companies. Through the years, I have been honored with several business professional and leadership awards and accolades to acknowledge my career and work in the community.

In February 2017, I founded Authentizity, LLC, as an independent business growth strategist to assist companies with customized programs designed to advance their leadership proficiencies, team alignment, and outreach effectiveness. I became a Gallup-Certified CliftonStrengths® Coach and then leveraged that tool to provide consulting, training, and coaching services that optimize technical teams’ engagement and productivity.

What did you do to pivot as a result of the Pandemic?

When COVID hit and my successful consulting, coaching and training business slowed to a halt, I used the time to fulfill a 20-year dream of writing a book. ARMORED was conceived to help other business professionals like me when they are unexpectedly stretched with caring for an ill loved one. ARMORED is a memoir, a love story, and ultimately a practical leadership guide to managing crisis on your own terms.

As a business professional with no medical background and limited maternal instincts, I had to redefine the role of caregiver to one that better suited me because my 48-year-old husband has survived three life-threatening illnesses, including stage four cancer (from ten years ago) and a stroke in November 2019.

The COVID gift was something that I would’ve never given myself. It was a gift of time and space for healing and self-reflection. I am much more content and less stressed than I was earlier this year.

Can you tell us about the specific “Aha moment” that gave you the idea to start this new path?

I wanted to turn my pain into purpose. In the quiet of the early pandemic weeks when my consulting business’ work screeched to an abrupt halt, I needed a reason to get up in the morning to conquer each beautiful day.

I am not speaking of my “WHY”, but more about the driving force behind it. Through a Simon Sinek WHY Discovery course several years ago, I identified that my WHY is to: Inspire, Ignite, and Activate the Greatness in Others and Myself.

As I reflect upon this past year following my husband’s stroke and throughout COVID-19, knowing my WHY has taken on a whole new meaning. Authentizity was created as a business-to-business consulting, coaching, and training firm. That will stand the test of time and continue. I welcome the opportunity to work with organizations and professionals to advance their company culture, alignment, and ultimately impact their advancement for the future.

However, by authoring and self-publishing ARMORED, I am realizing my vision of transforming the pain that I have experienced to fulfill a greater purpose. It is my sincere aspiration that by sharing my story, I will advise others to prepare for unforeseen life, and especially healthcare, events. ARMORED offers encouragement, lessons learned, and provides comfort that even though we must walk through dark valleys in life’s journeys, we are never alone.

As I have mentioned previously, I am the least likely person that you would ever want as a caregiver and seemingly the most unlikely to provide this type of advice. However, I have had to stretch and press myself with my unique strengths to “care coach” my husband through his three, life-threatening illnesses throughout the past 21 years of our relationship.

In full transparency, there have been times when life has brought me to my knees. It is often a lonely place to be, even when I’ve been surrounded by many others. We all shoulder our challenges differently. Unless you have walked in someone else’s shoes, there is no full empathy for the pain that they are enduring. We can only be there for them as best we can and help out as they allow us.

Recently, I had an opportunity to assist someone within my network whose husband had a stroke two months ago. While she told me how much she appreciated me for listening to her and then sharing my perspective and lessons learned, she will never know how much fulfillment that I received by serving her to allow my pain to have a purpose.

I know that these are challenging times for so many, but I’d like to propose something to you. Can you define your purpose in your obstacles and serve others through your pain?

How are things going with this new initiative?

I released the hard back and paperback versions of ARMORED on October 1, 2020; I then released the eBook version on November 2, 2020. All three versions have achieved Best Seller rankings. Since that time, it has sold more than 500 copies and is receiving press via traditional print, as well as podcast and social media channels internationally.

Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My big dream of writing a book would not have been accomplished without a dream book team. ARMORED’s creative collaborators of design and content artists include Rana Severs, Reagan Simon, and Alyssa Curry. Words cannot express my gratitude for their diligence and hard work in helping to make my dream come true!

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?

One philosophy that I try to follow is: “You have not because you ask not.” I often joke with friends that I am like Forest Gump in that wonderful people and great things find me. But all kidding aside, I must take some responsibility for stepping out in faith to put myself out there in many of these instances.

A great example of this was when I dreamt big for people who would provide testimonials for ARMORED. Amazingly and with much gratitude, I was pleasantly surprised with the generosity of many who shared advanced praise, but especially when I received the review from Jim Clifton, Chairman and CEO of Gallup, Inc.

According to Clifton, “Dawn’s story reminds us that CliftonStrengths® coaching is both science and art. Through understanding and harnessing her strengths and those of Daran’s, Dawn created a customized plan for his recovery — proving there is no limit to what is possible. Their story is pure inspiration.”

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

These are the six things that I wish someone would have told me about prepping for a life crisis, but especially a health battle. NOTE: This is an excerpt from ARMORED.

  1. ) Advanced Prep
  • Do you have an executed will with financial and medical powers of attorney listing you as the decision-maker?
  • Do you know all your patient’s usernames and passwords?
  • Do you also have knowledge of and access to all their financial accounts and records?

2. ) Organization

  • Do you know or have a system in place to capture your patient’s detailed medical history, medications, current symptoms, and issues if they can’t articulate this information for themselves?
  • Are you mentally and emotionally prepared to be a patient advocate on behalf of your patient, ready and willing to make all the life or death decisions?

3. ) Extract Your Ego to Allow Others to Help You

  • Can you ask for help? If not, why?
  • Do you have an updated personal communication distribution list as a means to rally those folks closest to you?
  • How can you personalize this distribution list to utilize the strengths, talents, and availability of your family and friends who wish to volunteer?

4. ) Self-Preservation

  • What are you doing for you? What are your coping mechanisms?
  • Is that inner voice being nice and loving to you?
  • Are you people pleasing too much?

5. ) No Regrets

  • Never part from your special person without sharing a kiss and saying, “I love you”, even if it means doing so many times per day. You don’t know when it might be the last time you hear those words or experience that embrace. Never take a single one for granted!

6. )Keep the Faith

  • What are God’s Memorial Stones in which, but for His Goodness, you wouldn’t be here? Can you identify three areas to stand in gratitude?
  • Who can you call upon as a prayer warrior when you’re exhausted and have no more words for prayers?
  • Are you worrying before it’s time to worry?

My goal in telling our story is that you will be inspired, no matter your caregiving (or care coaching) background or skill set, and understand that we all have the power within us to encourage our loved ones through the darkest of times in life’s journeys. As a care coach equipped with only the armor of my unique past experiences, if I can motivate and support the person that I love most in the world through his major illnesses, then you can too.

So many of us have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. Can you share the strategies that you have used to optimize your mental wellness during this stressful period?

I don’t know about you, but there is no way that I can look back and say that the vision I had for my future played out EXACTLY as my ten-year plan outlined. I’m no prophet or fortune-telling gypsy, so my life has taken many unanticipated twists and turns.

When life hits an unexpected speed bump, it may seem to set my ambitions back, but ultimately I have witnessed that leads me in a direction that was better than my vision board could have ever dreamed up. So, what do you do when you’re in the thick fog of it with no end in sight?

Here are 3 Tips to Practice When the Future is as Clear as Mud:

  • Serve — We are all called to serve with whatever strengths are wired into our being. By leveraging our talents to assist others, we take our egos out of the equation and invariably help ourselves. One example of this occurred as we neared the three-month mark of the pandemic. I woke up on a random Thursday morning in a foul mood. It doesn’t happen often, but it did that day. There was no real cause for my unpleasant attitude except that I was tired of the situation with no near-term conclusion. I let myself own those feelings for a couple of hours, but then I picked up the phone and called some of my clients. As I assisted them to strategically think through their particular business needs, my spirits began to lift.
  • Surrender — I refer to 2017 as my Year of Surrender. Prior to that time, this concept would have seemed foreign to me. However, I now know that by adopting this practice, and then surrendering so many times in the past three years, I am present to experience all the great gifts awaiting me.
  • Follow the Breadcrumbs — When all else fails and nothing makes sense, it’s best to do something rather than to remain frozen in time with inaction. Personally, I have found that I may not be able to predict the big picture, but I can easily follow the breadcrumbs. Cumulatively, these small accomplishments amass into the achievement of larger victories that then lead to monumental successes.

Following these three steps is what I’ve had to do in all of 2020. In full transparency, I did not initially really see how writing and producing my book, ARMORED, worked in the grand scheme of things with my business, Authentizity. I felt compelled to tell my story in hopes that it would inspire and encourage others. However, Authentizity is now considered a publishing firm, so in addition to authoring a book, I have an exciting, new service offering for the company.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

My ambition is that my life experiences demonstrate that it is more than acceptable to lean into our individual backgrounds and capabilities to overcome life’s battles because we all have the power within us to courageously motivate and be an advocate for those under our charge.

I am unconventional, imperfect, determined, yet humorously self-aware. In characterizing some of my life the past twenty years, you might call me an “unexpected caregiver,” since every illness that afflicted Daran came as a surprise, sneak attack. Although I have never felt like the noun caregiver adequately described me, nor how I served him. As someone comfortable being a big dreamer and naturally curious, I pressed myself further to explore why.

Since caregiver doesn’t fit as a description of the role that I played in Daran’s recovery, I searched to find a better word. I settled on the name care coach. It is a better measure of who I am and what I do.

Care coaching allowed me to have a role in Daran’s recovery in my own, nontraditional way. This surprised many of his doctors, nurses, and therapists, and they told me that they have never seen anyone be present for their loved one in this manner.

My definition of a care coach still encompasses the conventionally ascribed aspects of care. However, it is more personalized, individualized, and includes deep love, devotion, compassion, and respect. Care coaching also entails much more such as being an advocate, providing hope, reminding the patient of who they are and what they are fighting for, as well as being a strong supporter through the most challenging of times. Most of all, care coaching is about lovingly motivating the patient through their battles with unwavering faith.

My brand of care was not intentional, it was innate and authentic. It encompassed all my past experiences, which unwittingly prepared me for these battles. Cumulatively, I was armored, both spiritually and physically, to utilize my strengths and to encourage Daran by tapping into his strengths.

Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!

I would love to have lunch with Jim Clifton of Gallup to thank him for taking a chance on me by providing a review for ARMORED. I would also welcome an opportunity to have lunch with Pastor Joel Osteen to thank him for changing my world and walk with God more than sixteen years ago when I became a member of his church, Lakewood Church. Finally, and for fun, meeting Diana Gabaldon or Brene’ Brown would be such a treat!

How can our readers follow you online?

URL: www.authentizity.com

URL: www.dawnflandry.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dawn-landry-2a66b48

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Armored2020 and https://www.facebook.com/authentizity

Twitter: @authentizity

Instagram: @armored_book and @dlandry101

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!

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