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President and Founder,
Women's Running Magazine
St. Petersburg, Fla.
Dawna Stone, BS 90, president and founder of Women's Running Magazine and the Women's Half Marathon Race Series, is living proof that you can change your life on a lunch break.
After earning her BS from Berkeley-Haas and her MBA from UCLA, Stone went on to build an impressive corporate résumé. Her years of hard work as an analyst and consultant paid off, and by 2002 she was chief marketing officer at Marinemax Inc., a $700 million marine retailer. While sorting mail on her lunch break, however, Stone read something that would shift the course of her career forever.
Opening her favorite magazine, Sports Illustrated for Women, Stone saw that the publication was closing. "I was upset," she says, "I worked all day in a business suit, so reading this magazine was one of my only outlets other than going out for a run, a swim, or a bike ride."
Stone, an avid triathlete, sensed there were other women who shared her disappointment. That night, she locked herself in her home office, emerging three hours later with a rough business plan. "I dropped the plan on the coffee table in front of my husband and said, 'I'm going to quit my job and start a women's sports magazine.'"
Taking the passion and self-discipline she'd developed as a swimmer
at UC Berkeley, Stone dove head first into the publishing world. In
2004, the first issue of Her Sports and Fitness rolled off the presses. "I thought, 'Wow! We really did this,'" she says. That year, Her Sports won the Charlie Award for Best New Magazine. The publication had
been growing steadily when, in 2009, Stone again acted on instinct
and renamed the magazine Women's Running after noticing a growing
interest in running. The move tripled newsstand sales and dramatically
To complement the magazine's new message, Stone and her husband (now business partner) created a women's race series. They hired the Boston Marathon's race director to help develop what is now the nation's largest women's race series, with events in three cities and more locations in the works. In two years, the Women's Half Marathon has raised more than $1 million for charity.
"Watching thousands of women cross the finish line in our firstever half marathon, many with tears of joy, and knowing that they just finished something they'd previously thought impossible," Stone says, "I can't think of any other moment in my 20 years of business that felt so good." –Jessie Sebor
Dawna Stone, BS 90