A Recap of Kids Code-A-Thon

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This month TechBirmingham presented their Kids Code-A-Thon at Daxko! Over 60 local children attended, eager to team up and create an app that would positively affect Birmingham.

Let me start by saying this: I work in Services. I know very little about coding… but [spoiler alert] by the end of the day, I moved from the Hospitality Team to leading a team of brilliant kids with the coolest app in the building.

Trent and Adam (of Airship) kicked things off by leading a brainstorm with the kids to come up with app ideas that would benefit Birmingham. Here are a few of my favorites:img_0766-jpg

After splitting up, each team selected ideas from the brainstorm to develop and later present to a panel of judges. At this point, I was still on the Hospitality Team, so I was walking around to see if the kids (or volunteers) needed anything and scoped out what everyone was working on.

One team was working on a pet translator. Another worked on a volunteer crowdsource. Yet another was working on a “BirminghamGo” app. My favorite, though, was a team working on a Birmingham Scavenger Hunt. In the app, the user had to go to each landmark in Birmingham to answer a trivia question. When the user answered the question correctly, they would acquire an item needed to save the princess from “Blazer,” the UAB dragon, at Vulcan.

Just before lunch, one of the volunteers had to leave, and I was asked to step in and work with the Birmingham Scavenger Hunt team (aka Team Awesome). SCORE. We got right to it. They had already decided on landmarks and characters, and although the team was swiftly building the app, their difficulty was in telling the story and coming up with a plan – something I am good at. I absolutely loved helping them discover how to tell their story, what types of imagery to use, and coaching them in how to present their app to our panel of judges.

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They were having fun, I swear.

Prior to judging, a couple of very special people joined us…

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The kids (and adults) were enthralled to see the Stormtroopers! They lined up to have their pictures made and get autographs.

At the end of the day, Team Awesome won second place and were begging for some extra time to finish building out their app and implement it.

I’m so grateful that Daxko is invested in future generations of coders and geniuses and that my teammates would show up to work on a Saturday – some in full Stormtrooper gear – to make an impact in our community.

Congrats to TechBirmingham for a very successful event!


Emily V. is a proud dog mom, and Netflix connoisseur, and lives on Daxko’s Engagement Solutions Team.

‘Tis the Season to Get Fit, Part 2

By | Engage, Engagement, Industry, Membership | No Comments

This is the second in a two-part series on engaging new members from Daxko Engage Implementation Specialist Emily Vonbartheld. Read the first post here.

group-rulesTo help engage new members and help them reach goals you can track their interests or goals. If you have Daxko Engage or another CRM, you can create a group based on new member interests and make contact with those members through an initiative. This can be especially useful when you’re targeting January Joins because in Daxko Engage you can create “Group rules” around join dates.

If you are using a CRM or third-party email client, you can pull a custom membership report from Daxko Operations, sort by interests, and email the members from your current email provider.

When signing a member umember-goalsp, remember to ask the member their goals and mark them in a visible area. This will help staff when they go to regularly follow up on their goal. In Daxko Engage there is a place on the member profile exclusively for their goals.

For example, staff can follow up with Gabriel and refer him to classes and resources based on his goal. Keeping up with these goals shows members that their membership is not transactional. Members want to feel like they are part of a community that truly cares about them and tracking goals is one way to achieve that.

Keep new members from pouring out the back gate by increasing their level of engagement and involvement within your fitness center, club, Y, or J. Help members feel that they are a part of something greater by welcoming them into a community dedicated to helping everyone succeed. It’s easy to view “January Joins” as a monolithic group because it feels like the same routine every year. Intentionally tracking a members’ interests and goals and creating systematic communications to engage them, gives you the opportunity to create meaningful change.

Make sure to establish guidelines within your association, hang reminders around welcome desks, and follow up with staff! Increasing retention means increasing impact in members lives and that’s what it’s all about.

‘Tis the Season to Get Fit, Part 1

By | Engage, Engagement, Industry | No Comments

This is the first of two posts from Daxko Engage Implementation Specialist Emily Vonbartheld talking about engaging January joins. 

“January Joins” are within sight. Open the floodgates and watch as new members pour in after the sudden realization that, maybe, they shouldn’t have eaten all of that pecan pie over the holidays. It is time for us to re-focus on those excited new members and determine how we can better serve them as they’re trying to meet their goals.

Stop right there. Their goals. Do you know what their goals are? Gabriel, for example, says he wants to run a 5K by the end of the year. Why? What is his motivation to run a 5K? What are his expectations for how a gym, recreation center, YMCA, or JCC will help him accomplish his goals? How will we actually meet Gabriel’s expectations? To be able to answer all of these questions, we need to ask meaningful questions. There are a plethora of different reasons that an individual joins a health/wellness organization. Maybe they’re interested in losing 20 pounds before swimsuit season. Maybe they’re interested in becoming more of a vested member in a fitness community. Maybe they just want a reason to leave the house and make friends. Regardless of the reason, staff must be able to identify, track, and respond to members’ goals. We have to listen to what members are really looking for and be systematic about the approach.

There are a couple of places to focus in on to increase engagement and help January Joins achieve their goals. First, in your operations system, when registering a new member, it is crucial to mark the individual’s interests. This way, you can keep them up to date about what is going on in the facility relevant to their interests. This doesn’t have to feel clunky, either. When registering the new unit, simply hand over a card containing potential interests and have them check off boxes that they would like to learn more about. For example, if Gabriel checks that he is interested in sports, this information can be used to send him targeted emails about upcoming sport registrations in an effort to help motivate him and plant roots within the organization.

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Want to read more?  Our second part of this post is available here with next steps to engaging with new members in the new year!

Futuristic Management

By | Culture, Employment Brand, Free Career Advice, Grow Your Career, Life at Daxko, Talent | No Comments

Flashback to two years ago: I’m gathering my thoughts and preparing my team’s presentation in our management class. Nervous energy is evident. We’re moments away from giving an hour-long presentation about a “forward-thinking” company. The clock indicates that class has started, and we dive in… We spend the hour discussing idealistic ways of managing groups of teams and individuals, the qualities of an effective leader, and how all of this actually looks in practice. For what?

Why do we even discuss this in the university setting if it is hardly in practice in the workforce?

Because it is the future, and the future is happening now.

According to the Birmingham Business Journal, young people –people like me– want to make a difference in the world. We want to collaborate and have the opportunity to come up with innovative ideas and creative solutions. Let’s be realistic, though. Daxko was my “shoot for the stars.”

Daxko is a fast-paced, exciting environment where team members are asked to be creative. We’re asked to challenge the status quo. If there is a better way of doing something – why not try it? Daxko reminds me a whole lot of that forward-thinking company my team gave a presentation on two years ago. This job was the dream.

When I came aboard, I was enthralled to be inside the type of environment I previously (idealistically) discussed. This is a management major’s playground.

I see the trust within a team and how that allows for more open communication.

I see the effects of being surrounded by excellent, innovative leaders.

I see the transparency and the free flow of information.

And, for what? The impact it makes on our team is immeasurable. We feel valued and capable. We have a dynamic environment that is open to necessary change. Our ideas become customer solutions which enables them to fulfill their mission.

Every single day I notice how Daxko utilizes those “idealistic” management practices, and I love the opportunity to observe and be a part of those practices. Team members aren’t tied to our desks if we feel that we could be more productive elsewhere. Company, product, team, and individual goals are available on our intranet. This transparency enables us to see what our peers are working towards and allows us to collaborate with them to help accomplish their goals. We even have weekly 1:1s with our team leads to discuss the day-to-day and our professional development.

At the end of the day, I go home looking forward to the contribution I’ll be able to make the next day. I already love what I do after one month!


Emily V. is a proud dog mom, and Netflix connoisseur, and lives on Daxko’s Engagement Solutions Team.