Matt Dawson (“Dawson”) is a M&A Investment Banker, corporate investor and small business operator turned multi-record holding endurance/adventure athlete; sought-after public speaker; lifestyle/performance coach; and Founder of Dawson’s Peak Foundation. Beginning project Seven for Soldiers in May 2021, Dawson set multiple records by rapidly completing a previously unheard-of number of global expeditions (in a single year), including summiting the Seven Summits (the highest peak on each continent); skiing to a pole (South Pole); traversing a desert (Mojave); and rowing across an ocean (Atlantic). Although he was on track to additionally ski to the North Pole and fly a single-engine plane around the world during this same year, his plans were delayed due to the global pandemic and Russia/Ukraine events.
Through project Seven for Soldiers, Dawson has exemplified what is possible when we identify a goal and fully apply ourselves. In order to even begin project-dedicated training, he lost 40lbs and 10% body fat. Initially slated to start in May 2020, following 18 months of full-time training, the project start was postponed 12 months due the emergence of COVID-19. By the project’s kick-off in May 2021, Dawson had endured 30 months of training; two surgeries; multiple surgical procedures; broken bones; and torn muscles just to reach the starting line.
Following his freshman year at the United States Naval Academy, Dawson graduated from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. While at Wharton, he was a member of the varsity football team (Ivy League Champions) and also worked as a business consultant with the Wharton Small Business Development Center, providing strategic advice to small business owners.
As a Managing Director with William & Henry Associates, Dawson possesses nearly 20 years of financial advisory and corporate finance experience. He has participated in a variety of engagements, including mergers and acquisitions, private capital placement and strategic advisory services. He holds 4 licenses with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, including Series 7, 63, 79 and 24.
Prior to his corporate finance career, Dawson trained to play professional football and received multiple contract offers. At age 19, Dawson’s goal of playing professional football was derailed for several years as he developed severe bi-lateral compartmental syndrome in both calves so bad that he could barely ascend a single flight of stairs. Following bi-lateral surgery, it took Dawson several years of rehabilitation to learn how to walk, run and train again. He ultimately ended his pursuit, due to additional injuries. He still manages his ongoing leg issues daily.
He is an avid traveler (35+ countries); licensed motorcycle racer; U.S. Navy qualified “Expert” with pistol and rifle; outdoor enthusiast; and IFR licensed fixed wing (airplane) pilot (currently training to add multi-engine rating). In addition, Dawson is Treasurer for the Los Angeles Circle of Giving (a non-profit organization serving the community by helping individuals and families that are experiencing a challenging life event); and has served as a Mentor for the LEAP Foundation in Los Angeles, CA.
LIFE CHANGE AND CREATION OF DAWSON’S PEAK FOUNDATION
In 2016, Dawson was working in Los Angeles, CA as a Managing Director for an Investment Bank specializing in mergers and acquisitions. Although the work was challenging and Dawson was successful from “societal standards”, he often felt a sense of unhappiness and lack of fulfillment. Given the nature of the business, long weekly hours over many years typically did not allow for a wider scope of outside activities. Although he had performed at high levels across multiple fields, Dawson felt increasingly disheartened with regards to a lack of greater purpose.
It was during this time that he lost two people instrumental in his life – his mother and girlfriend. Dealing with the pain and loss, he knew that it was time for a greater change. In order to identify and begin to institute such change, Dawson felt he needed to remove himself completely from his comfort zone. Weeks after the second loss, he flew to Katmandu, Nepal to hike solo around the Mt. Everest region.
Over the next three weeks, Dawson completed several climbs/treks. Before this trip, he had NO previous climbing experience. During this time, Dawson removed himself completely from outside distractions such as music, television, telephones and, to the fullest extent possible, other people. Spending each day hiking, reading and writing, he discovered the introspective/meditative elements associated trekking and mountain climbing.
It was on this trip that Dawson found a renewed sense of purpose. He began to recognize and understand his desire to transition his life from “self-centered” to “service-centered”. He came to know that his purpose is in helping others identify and pursue their purpose.
Over the following two years, Dawson continued to travel the world climbing. His ultimate goal was to determine a way to transition his love for endurance and adventure into a “service-centered” organization that could be used to inspire others to recognize both their potential for change and their duty to pursue it.
In 2018, Dawson’s Peak Foundation became a recognized 501(c)(3) public charity. The foundation develops and host large scale, adventure-related projects around the world that are undertaken by our sponsored athletes. These projects are designed to enable viewers to draw parallels between themselves and our athletes. Personal challenges may be specific but effort and commitment are universal.