Kevin Price, Host of the Price of Business on Business Talk 1110 AM KTEK (on Bloomberg’s home in Houston) recently interviewed Dawn Daria.

About the interviewee:

Dawn Daria, Chief Education Officer, Skoyz Wellness. An award winning educator and author, Dawn loves to inspire individuals to step out of their comfort zone in order to discover something new about themselves, each other, and the world. Her natural ability to assess group dynamics and facilitate collaboration has been critical to her success as a teacher, educational consultant, and curriculum developer. Dawn co-founded Skoyz Wellness to utilize her knowledge of learning, motivation, leadership, and teamwork to engage individuals, strengthen teams, and enhance organizational culture. She has a B.S. in psychology and an M.Ed. in Education.

Tell me about your firm (number of employees, location, type of companies you work with, etc.).

Tell us your story about reaching C-Level executives to do business?Skoyz Wellness is a national company based in Raleigh, North Carolina. We currently consist of co-founders Dawn Daria and Paul Miller. Our programs are designed for fast growth and high tech companies that struggle with issues such as retention, creating a culture of innovation, and onboarding procedures.

The tools we use in our programs also provide us with a unique edge in getting the attention of C-Level executives. At the core of our programs is skill acquisition and problem solving, but we use visible activities such as juggling and skill toys to introduce broader concepts such as risk taking, collaboration, and critical thinking. These simple objects get attention so we make sure to have them out at events to get people engaged in the process. We have had C-level executives engage directly with the toys as well as enjoy the opportunity to observe their employees learning in a tangible way.

What lessons, if any, do you derive from these stories?

Be creative – what makes you stand out from the crowd? How can you highlight that in a public way?

Be authentic – We recently had the opportunity to see the CEO of a target company speak at a conference. We were moved by the content of his talk and waited to speak with him after because we truly wanted to explore the ideas further (not just to set up a meeting). A meeting did evolve out of this conversation.

Be empathetic – C-level executives have huge demands on them professionally, but also face many of the same personal demands as the rest of us. Keep that in mind as you approach. For example, we were at a public event teaching families how to play with some of our skill toys. One particular family had a disengaged teen daughter, but we managed to win her over and have her laughing by the end of the time. Her father approached after to thank us and introduced himself as the CEO of a successful mid-size business in our area. We had made his day brighter and helped him connect with his daughter. He wasn’t going to forget that. We had a meeting within weeks.

                                   Companies that Must Pitch to CEOS

Tell us why it is important to for you to pitch to the CEO.

The nature of the work that we do requires buy-in from the top levels to have maximum impact. In order to improve company culture, there needs to be vertical connections not just team building within departments. Our tools work as a common platform for all levels of employees to engage in a unique and meaningful way.

One of our target markets are fast growth companies which means that often the CEOs are the ones making the decisions about implementing a program like ours. Our programs can be used to connect and reinforce company values, to engage and assess groups of potential hires, and/or to serve as part of the onboarding process. C-level executives need to be part of the process of integrating our tools with their overall company goals.

What are some unique things you have done to get the attention of CEOs?

Teach them to juggle or master other skill toy tricks. We have created opportunities to teach CEO’s to juggle at conferences, public family events, and during meetings. It’s a memorable experience and connects directly to what we are selling.

Collaborate with local TV Station. We are currently running a promotional campaign in which the station runs a month long contest for companies in the area to win a Skoyz Wellness “stress break.” They do all of the promoting and we donate our time. We will receive the contact information for those that register for the contest. CEO’s may not be the ones entering in all cases, but it will provide us with leads.

Indiegogo Campaign – We just kicked-off a crowdfunding campaign to develop a web-app that people engaged in our Skoyz Wellness will use to increase the impact of our programs. In addition to using it as a source of funding, we are using it as a marketing platform to let companies know about our programs. Visit Indiegogo.com/projects/skoyz for more information.

Networking with lower level employees and then working our way up to the C-Level. In one local company, colleagues of ours that juggle began sharing the skills with their different teams. Although we have not yet visited the company, we plan to build on this seed that has been planted and the positive impact it already has had in order to schedule a meeting with company-wide decision makers.

Tell us about the type of companies with which you like to do business.

Our programs are designed for fast growth and high tech companies that struggle with issues such as retention, creating a culture of innovation, and onboarding procedures. Our programs are ideal for progressive companies that are open to engaging employees in creative ways, have a focus on creativity and innovation, and want to build or strengthen a positive company culture.

What suggestions do you have for others trying to reach CEOs.
Be creative – What makes you stand out from the crowd? How can you highlight that in a public way? We clearly have a distinct set of tools that make it easy for us to been seen and stand out, but everyone has to find their edge.

Be authentic – We recently had the opportunity to see the CEO of a target company speak at a conference. We were moved by the content of his talk and waited to speak with him after because we truly wanted to explore the ideas further (not just to set up a meeting). A meeting did result from this conversation.

Be empathetic – C-level executives have huge demands on them professionally, but also face many of the same personal demands as the rest of us. Keep that in mind as you approach. For example, we were at a public event teaching families how to play with some of our skill toys. One particular family had a disengaged teen daughter, but we managed to win her over and have her laughing by the end of the time. Her father approached after to thank us and introduced himself as the CEO of a successful mid-size business in our area. We had made his day brighter and helped him connect with his daughter. He wasn’t going to forget that. We had a meeting within weeks.

Contact information 
skoyzwellness.com