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Our Community Focus

Woman of the Year for Contra Costa County

Dawn Block has been selected Woman of the Year for Contra Costa County by Sen. Bill Dodd. Block is the owner of an executive search firm who has served the community on boards for the John Muir Land Trust and Chamber of Commerce. She says, “It’s truly an honor to be recognized this way and incredibly humbling. I recognize the sheer number of women in our county who tirelessly make Contra Costa County the best place in the world to live. Building a better world -- Tikkun olam -- has always guided my actions. And there remains so much more to do!”

Dawn Block is the immediate past chair of John Muir Land Trust, which focuses on preserving open space in the East Bay Area. She was Pleasant Hill Chamber chair and served on the Pleasant Hill Education Commission, leading various task forces at College Park High School, where her two daughters were standout athletes. In the early 2000s, she donated her own money to rebuild the school’s all-weather, Olympic-size track.

“Dawn’s contribution to our community cannot be overstated,” Sen. Dodd said. “Her leadership and generosity have been invaluable. We are truly fortunate to have her, and I am honored to giver her the kudos she so well deserves.”

The New York native and self-described tree-hugger saw her first cow at age 12 in the Bronx Zoo. After graduating from Queens College, she worked overseas as an English teacher before settling in the Bay Area, where she started a successful career in banking and later, technology recruitment. As a single mother, she was the youngest woman promoted to officer ranks at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. Later she was a vice president at Commerce One. She is married to Pleasant Hill City Councilman Michael Harris.

Senator Bill Dodd represents the 3rd Senate District, which includes all or portions of Contra Costa, Solano, Napa, Yolo, Sonoma, and Sacramento counties. You can learn more about the district and Senator Dodd at