About Us

For over thirty years the Falling Awake team has been coaching hundreds of leaders and individuals, including Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, best-selling author Jack Canfield, and many others.

Dave Ellis

Author, Facilitator, and Coach

Dave Ellis is a best-selling author and has written seven books, including Falling Awake, Life Coaching, Creating Your Future, and Becoming a Master Student, which was the best-selling college textbook in America for over two decades.

He has coached national and international nonprofit leaders, social entrepreneurs, philanthropists, an NBA coach, and a Nobel Peace Prize winner.


Dave has developed a variety of powerful programs assisting people to realize their full potential. He and the thousands of teachers and coaches he has trained challenge people to think what they have never thought and empower them to take actions they have never taken. Through the workshops, books, coaching, videos, and interactive online classes of Dave Ellis Leadership, he has helped over six million people create a more wonderful life.

Dave held the following positions and roles at National American University:

  • President
  • Assistant Dean of Student Services
  • Member of the Administrative Board
  • Computer programming faculty
  • Designer and teacher of an innovative first-year experience course for students to discover how to be successful in college


  • Honorary Ph.D., Naturopathic Philosophy
  • Work towards Ph.D. in Psychology
  • Master’s in Computer Sciences
  • Bachelor’s in Computer Science and Psychology

Dave started The Brande Foundation and has contributed millions of dollars to the work of this and other organizations. He and his wife live in the San Francisco Bay Area. Together they have four daughters and six grandchildren. His hobbies are running, singing, photography, and travel.


Bill Rentz

Vice President, Dave Ellis Leadership and Master Certified Coach

Bill Rentz is an executive coach and a Master Certified Coach from the International Coach Federation. He is Vice President of Dave Ellis Leadership, the organization that presents the Falling Awake Retreats and other workshops.

Bill is a self-taught generalist who has partnered with Dave Ellis for over 30 years. Bill has been responsible for the coaching team and coach training, and he manages most of the day-to-day operation of the Dave Ellis Leadership programs.


He has worked one on one with the top executives of dozens of global organizations. Collectively, these organizations have directly influenced the lives of tens of millions of people by providing life-saving food, small business loans, education, and many other services designed to assist people to gain dignity and prosperity.

Bill has led workshops for superintendents creating solutions for public education, couples desiring to improve their relationships, and leadership teams building effective organizations.

Bill is a voracious learner with a keen interest in natural history, paleontology, the outdoors, and the social sciences. His pragmatic approach to working with people has proven to be very useful to hundreds of clients across a large spectrum of disciplines. Bill lives in the Black Hills of South Dakota and has been married for over 30 years.


JoAnne Bangs

Executive Coach

JoAnne Bangs has been coaching individuals, business owners, couples, and leaders of nonprofit organizations for over 35 years. She has worked with Dave Ellis for over 24 years. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and has two children.

JoAnne is a confidential thought-partner who assists you to think for yourself and manifest what you are seeking. She encourages you to be accountable for your own productivity and results while you are being responsible to those in your personal and professional live. Her specialty is to help you foster your best attributes and create the results you most want.


Education, Experience, Credentials:

  • Professional coach, certified by the International Coach Federation
  • Coach and mentor for participants in the Falling Awake Coach Training  
  • Coach for participants in The Money Course
  • Executive coach

Areas of Expertise:

  • Communication and coaching skills
  • Deep development of self-efficacy and self-responsibility
  • Work-life balance
  • Inventing the best self from the future
  • Business development /management


Peter Chandonnet

Life Coach

Peter has been coaching, teaching yoga and meditation, and working with Dave for the last 13 years in the Bay Area and nationally. He empowers C-suite executives and emerging leaders and teams to be their best selves. Peter works within the sectors of healthcare, technology, finance, design, real estate, education, apparel, and the arts, and with families of wealth. He divides his time between San Francisco and Sonoma.

Anna Rheim

Life Coach

Anna Rheim began coaching in 2005. Her focus includes both one-on-one and couples coaching. She incorporates her love of ritual in her work. Anna is a graduate of Stanford University and has years of experience in leadership, education, art, and business. Her current passions are writing, golf, photography, and assisting people with their transformational development. Anna and her husband Jim live in Carmel Valley, California near their two adult children and grandchildren.

So, Dave is not an advisor. He was not telling me what to do. He brought out my own capacity. Working with Dave, I became an explorer of myself.

- Muhammad Yunus

Nobel Peace Prize Winner (2006), Presidential Medal of Freedom (2009),
Founder, Grameen Bank, Bangladesh

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