Dawn Reiss is an award-winning Chicago-based journalist who has worked as a staff writer at the Dallas Morning News and St. Petersburg Times. For assignments, she's driven to every NFL stadium in the country, interviewed the likes of Maya Angelou, Frank Gehry, Magic Johnson, Rahm Emanuel and Justin Bieber, followed doctors on the world's only flying eye hospital into the slums of Cambodia, taken a helicopter flight to a glacier to go dog sledding in Alaska and followed the coffee trail in Italy.
She spent two years covering the trial of former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich for TIME and investigated the deaths of two sailors in the Race to Mackinac for Time Out Chicago and the backlog of rape kits in Illinois. She's written about everything from the tax implications of buying a second home to how to protect foster children against identity theft.
More than anything, Reiss is known for her tenacity and ability to get anyone to talk about anything.
Her work has appeared in more than 40 outlets including: Travel + Leisure, Reuters, U.S. News & World Report, Time, Time.com, The Atlantic, Chicago Tribune, USA Today, Time Out Chicago, Chicago magazine, Chicago Reader, Michigan Avenue magazine, Milwaukee magazine, Cincinnati magazine as well as B2B trade magazines such as Plate magazine, Consulting-Specifying Engineer, American Builder's Quarterly, Connect Sports and Connect magazine.
(See the full list here.)
She's worked as the managing editor of two national monthly B2B magazines, Restaurant Business and FoodService Director, as an adjunct magazine professor at DePaul University and president of the Chicago Headline Club, the largest Society of Professional Journalist chapter in the U.S.
She's also a proud member of the Society of Professional Journalists, American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA), FreelanceSuccess and Upod Academy Alum. Additionally, Reiss has attended training sessions at Poynter and Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism.
When she's not working Reiss loves swimming, cooking, painting, traveling, exploring, reading and being around friends and family.
A native of Glen Ellyn, Ill., Dawn Reiss got her first taste of travel riding in the backseat of a tan station wagon and never looked back.
As a Girl Scout, she slept in Puerto Rico's El Yunque rainforest and sold enough cookies to go to Cuernavaca in Mexico, London, Paris, and Adelboden in Switzerland. She also earned Girl Scout's highest honor, the Gold Award, which is the equivalent of the Eagle Scout Award for girls.
The oldest of four children, Reiss spent her teenage years lifeguarding and teaching swim lessons. She also painted two murals, one inside Glenbard West High School and another 100-foot long mural inside the Glen Ellyn YMCA by the children's pool.
Some of her most memorable moments have been spent with her partially Italian-American family, friends and random strangers she's invited over the years to share a meal.
At Indiana University, Dawn Reiss helped pay for her education by working as a resident assistant and various other jobs including stringing for the Associated Press and working as reporter at the Indiana Daily Student newspaper, Inside Indiana magazine and Arbutus yearbook. She also talked her way into a USA Today press pass at the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta and into a one-on-one interview with Bob Costas when he made the trip to Indiana University to interview then-coach Bob Knight.
While going out to cover the rowing team as an IDS reporter, the coach looked at her 6-foot tall frame and asked her to hop on an erg. She ended up pulling one of the fastest times on the team and became a walk-on. She competed at the C.R.A.S.H.-B.'s Sprints World Indoor Rowing Championships, where her time was good enough to earn an alternate spot to the Olympic rowing camp in Chula Visa, Calif. She one was one of three rowers to graduate from Indiana University's inaugural NCAA Division I varsity team.
After earning her degree in journalism from Indiana University—and taking Bob Knight's final basketball coaching class—she spent four months driving to every NFL city in the country for one crazy reporting road trip project for The Sporting News, covering games and life on the road with two guys she didn't know. And yes, she did go to Super Bowl, saw Antonio Freeman make an amazing catch on Monday night football, spent time in the booth with Dick Enberg and Dan Dierdorf and had to endure Warren Sapp spitting tobacco chew on her foot for asking a question he didn't like.
At the end of the road trip, she survived being in the back seat of a car that was rear ended by an oil tanker and being in a brief coma. Since then, her life has become a punch line: it's like being hit by a MACK truck...
With life being short, Reiss is grateful for her roots, wings and so many other things, even if it comes with some extra protein.