But further examination shows it to be straightforward – often at blindingly fast speeds.
Williams, who opened in downtown Mill Valley in 2016, has lived an inarguably exciting life on his way to Mill Valley, where he’s lived for nearly a decade.
Born and raised in Nova Scotia, Canada, Williams was a competitive downhill skiier at a young age and successful enough that when he graduated high school, he followed the path of his former coaches and moved to Whistler, British Columbia to race for a year.
“It went better than planned, I guess,” Williams says with nonchalance, with one year turning into several, and more friends from Nova Scotia joining him in Whistler. Williams moved up to the British Columbia Provincial Ski Team, where he stayed for two years before moving up to the Canadian alpine ski team, racing in major events like the Canadian National Ski Championships and the Whistler World Cup.
As the Canadian team marched toward the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, Williams was forced to watch on crutches after he tore his right ACL on a training run. He did so again twice more, including a warmup run on the Olympic course in Salt Lake City, Utah, in advance of the 2002 Winter Olympics there.
“It sure was disappointing at the time, but it all was an incredibly memorable, rewarding experience,” says Williams, who quit ski racing in 2000 and went to Royal Roads University in Victoria, B.C., where he studied marketing and entrepreneurial management. During that time, Williams ran his own ski camp with his brother in Whistler, and served as the coach for the Canadian Paralympic ski team from 2004 to 2006.
Williams had also been working for a Scottish company that created customized golfing trips, and he used that experience to launch his own business, Best of Both Golf & Ski, in 2006. The company operated high-end, custom trips that incorporated both skiing and golf and were guided by professional golfers and skiers – sort of like what Sausalito-based In Gamba has done with cycling trips. Williams ran it for six years, building it up to 15 destinations.
During that time, Williams met his future wife, Kristin Wingfield, a fellow Canadian who has lived in the Bay Area since 2003 and has her own sports medicine practice in Marin. Williams moved to the Bay Area in 2008, and the couple has three young sons.
With young kids, Williams grew tired of being on the road all the time for his business, and he naturally gravitated to the sport that he had taken to in his post-injury years: cycling. He’d bought himself a road bike after he quit skiing in 2000 and had been passionate about it ever since, developing into a Category 2 cyclist and currently racing with the Mike’s Bikes Masters team.
Williams has proven to be as successful in cycling as he was in skiing. He won the acclaimed San Rafael Criterium in 2015 in the Men’s 35+ Cat 1/2/3 race, and finished second last year. In 2015, he won the USA Cycling Nationship Championship in Ogden, Utah in the Master Criterium race.
With that passion, and his desire to be in town more, Williams in 2013 started his own cycling coaching business – Achieve Performance Training and Coaching – with two other coaches joining him to do personal training but primarily cycling coaching. That business remains active and steady, and Williams decided to dive into the real estate business in 2016.
He did so with Alain Pinel because of “their outstanding training program,” he says, noting that his years in the Bay Area as a resident, a cyclist and the owner of Best of Both Golf & Ski have all allowed him to build a vast network of friends and future clients.
“It’s a great network to draw from,” he says.
Williams knows the Marin real estate market is a fickle one, with sophisticated buyers and sellers and an abundance of agents to choose from. He says that having running his own business, he has the “entrepreneurial experience, the attention to detail and the ability to communicate with a wide range of people to deliver a high rate of service,” he says. “I really enjoy the personal connection – and I’m a people person for sure.”
The 411: Dana Williams is based out of Compass’ downtown Mill Valley office at 32 Miller Avenue. MORE INFO.