Dawn LaCarte

Founder of DLC

Dawn LaCarte is an internationally recognized behavioral healthcare professional with over 25 years in the field. She has served in numerous capacities, in all treatment modalities including senior level administration, program director, therapist, and business development.

Dawn is the Founder of DLC (Dawn LaCarte Coaching & Consulting), a leading multi-specialty counseling and life coaching center created to address the needs of families and individuals struggling with an array of behavioral health issues, including addiction, mental health, and traumatic life transitions. Being in recovery herself since 2002, Dawn is passionate about helping individuals and families navigate the highly fragmented treatment system in a way that generates positive outcomes and allows families to heal.

An upstate NY native, Dawn holds a BSW from the NYS University at Albany, where she pursued her master’s degree in Social Work. Through her continued commitment to client advocacy, Dawn also became a NYS OASAS Advanced Certified Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor, Certified Clinical Interventionist, Certified Recovery Coach, Master Reiki Teacher, Master Certified Life Coach and Certified Grief Educator.

Dawn agrees that while nodding and listening has its place – it feels good to be seen and heard – DLC’s goal is to help clients put action behind that support. Drawing from her impressive skill set, Dawn equips her clients with practical coping strategies so they can survive and thrive in their daily lives. Her approach is bespoke, providing a deeply individualized holistic care, meaning that she addresses mental health in conjunction with each client’s physical, spiritual, relationship, and family well-being. She is genuine and interactive in her sessions with clients, and her down to earth, relaxed nature instills a sense of safety and comfort, encouraging all those under her care to freely feel, think, and dream.

Partnering with families to navigate the behavioral healthcare landscape, connecting them with the clinically appropriate level of care suited to their precise needs is where Dawn feels most rewarded. She truly finds her work of establishing and maintaining collaborative relationships with other providers to be essential. For Dawn, it’s all about providing clients with direction, education, and advocacy to support their wellness journey. Interventions, counseling, case management, family and recovery coaching are the beginning of a remarkable, powerful process that can reunite families and empower individuals to access a happier, more fulfilling life.

When she’s not coaching clients from coast to coast, Dawn is a philanthropist, a feminist, and a decent Scrabble player. She loves gardening, spending time with her daughter and husband as well as studying the latest findings and applications in the fields of cognitive psychology, business strategy and marketing. Dawn is the proud pet parent to Chloe, her 2-year-old Cavalier King Charles, who is the doggy love of her life.

Affiliations include: AIS, NAADAC, AAAP, ICF, NEFESH, ACA

Where did the idea for DLC come from?

DLC was born out of an identified need that kept cropping up since 2003 when I entered the field for discreet, bespoke, concierge support services for individuals and families who suffer from a multitude of issues such as addiction, traumatic life transitions and healthcare navigation.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I meditate first thing in the morning and I always set a daily intention before I get out of bed to be of service to others. Other than that, it’s emails, emails, emails. Calls. Calls. Meetings. Repeat. And, most likely, something comes up unexpectedly that reprioritizes the entire day. You must be flexible, be able to pivot and think of solutions quickly if a crisis crops up.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Bit by bit. Piece by piece. Little by little. For me, it’s been about being willing to take tinier steps toward my dream. It’s about being willing to have uncomfortable conversations. Building a practice can be slow. My business is one that comes to fruition one conversation at a time. It’s slow but it compounds. You build confidence and momentum one tiny step at a time. So, from anything like jotting down ideas (I keep a notebook and pen near at all times), collecting feedback from clients, to building a website I am always bringing my ideas to life.

What’s one trend that excites you?

I love seeing more women start businesses that fill a need in the world.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I pride myself in being a great communicator and coordinator, so I lean into my organizational skills to make sure that my referents, clients, and their families are informed about next steps. I utilize all the best that technology has to offer to accomplish that goal and find it essential to my productivity and overall client satisfaction. I’d say uncomfortable marketing has proven to be beneficial to me. Most coaches and consultants are “people people.” And coaching is a relationship business. If you can go high touch in a world where everyone else is going high tech, you’ll create all the clients you will ever need.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Believe in yourself. Listen to your intuition. Get more sleep. Drink more water. Be a dreamer and a doer who relentlessly explores infinite possibilities

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

That you do not need confidence to move forward. Confidence can be a result, but it’s not a requirement. All you really need is a mustard seed of courage. That and that it’s essential to magnify problems. When you try to make your problems smaller, you miss out on innovative solutions. When you make your problems bigger, you look at things with fresh eyes, you open the way to new thinking, you allow for deep creativity to take place.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Measure your activities. When I started measuring, to the minute, how much time I spent every day really working, working on getting into conversations, etc. I saw immediate benefits. That is because a lot of what you think you spend time on working, you waste doing unprofitable activities like checking email, scrolling on social media, etc. So, I created a spreadsheet tracking how many people I connected with, how many I invited to have a coaching conversation, how many sat down for a two-hour conversation and then calculated how much resulted in collections. After I became fully aware of how much time I spent doing the activities that were growing my business, I naturally focused more and more time on those activities which is helping my business to grow faster.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

I’ve built an integrative care network of resources advocating for the needs of those afflicted with substance use disorder and their loved ones which has led to long-term strategic partnerships. I’ve become an expert in the field of addiction and built a brand of being one of the thought leaders in the co-occurring treatment arena. I utilize my clinical background to break into lateral markets where I quickly build trust with referents, clients, and their families. I have built this network by reaching out to one person at a time. The key is to get genuinely curious about everyone you spend time with. Your neighbor, your former boss, the members of the networking groups you are in. Not because you are trying to “turn them” into clients but because you are genuinely curious about them. And then offer to help them.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

Just one?! No such thing. Failure is constant as an entrepreneur, and you must allow it to build resilience. I’ve had numerous initiatives where I stayed too long, even after I knew the idea wasn’t working. If I had to name one, I’d say closing my reiki studio. It was a HUGE hit to my ego, and I felt like such a failure. Fortunately, because I have built a dedicated support network, I didn’t stay stuck for long. I was able to reframe what I interpreted as a failure as a wise business decision because it could have led to large overhead expenses had I not made the difficult decision to close the studio.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Build storage units next to apartment complexes is a great way to make money and serve a need.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

A bit more than $100, but a Vitamix blender. I replaced my unhealthy amount of coffee with green smoothies. That slight change made large improvements in my life. I got off caffeine completely, kicked dairy to the curb, and I’m able to get the one thing in my diet that’s been difficult for me to do in the past – leafy greens.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

Like most entrepreneurs, I’m constantly checking my email, so I use Google Task. It allows you to easily list all my tasks and to-dos on my email screen while I simultaneously read through my emails. My tasks allow me to add dates and times to my Gmail calendar, so I don’t have to initiate another action to update my calendar or create a deadline. The ability to add subtasks to main tasks is even more helpful when a task has multiple parts to completion. I watch YouTube videos on it to increase my skill level, view recent shortcuts and hacks

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Hardwiring Excellence: Purpose, Worthwhile Work, Making a Difference by Quint Studer.
One of the best strategy and leadership books ever.

What is your favorite quote?

“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.”

– F. Scott Fitzgerald

Key Learnings:

  • Failure is constant as an entrepreneur, and you have to allow it to build resilience.
  • Stay curious about the people in your life and offer to help them.
  • Reframe what you interpret as a failure as a wise business decision.
  • Build a strong support network to help you through difficult times.