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5 Tips for Taking Ownership of Your Career in the New Year

By | Culture, Free Career Advice, Grow Your Career, Healthy Stuff, Professional Development | No Comments

It’s a new year, which means many people are making resolutions and goals in both their personal and professional lives. One thing that has been on my mind lately is taking the reins on my career. I’m fortunate to work for a company whose mission includes providing rewarding careers to team members. In the long run, though, my career growth is up to me. I think one of the biggest misconceptions people have about the companies they work for is that it’s the company’s responsibility to look after their career. But that’s just not true. Sure, a company can provide great growth opportunities, but ultimately it is the team member who has to work at their own career goals and steer their career toward those growth opportunities.

So, how do you take ownership of your career? Here are five ways to start.

#1: Step out of your comfort zone.
One of our CEO’s favorite sayings is “Get comfortable being uncomfortable,” and this is certainly applicable to your career goals. I would not be in my current role if I hadn’t been willing to take a few risks and explore the unfamiliar. My background is in teaching, training, and writing. Though I was able to carry all of this knowledge over into my role as Talent Marketing Manager, I didn’t come from a marketing background. In truth, I did feel a little uncomfortable during the first few months in this role. This discomfort only encouraged me to work harder and has truly benefited me in the long run, allowing me to develop skills and ideas I didn’t think were possible for me.

#2: Speak up.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, if something is bothering you, if you have a differing viewpoint or opinion… speak up. I’m going to be honest – this is something I am still working on. It’s probably something I will continue to work on throughout my career. My team lead often reminds me that she doesn’t know how I feel unless I tell her. Earlier in my career, at a different company, I never felt empowered to voice my opinion, and this has carried over into present day. Fortunately, Daxko is huge on transparency, and team members are encouraged to speak up. I have gained more confidence in expressing my thoughts and even saying “no”. If you’re uncomfortable speaking up in person, try writing it out first. It’s okay to practice what you’re going to say before you actually say it. Of course, sometimes “on the spot” can’t be helped; if you’re in a meeting and you want to express a differing opinion, do it thoughtfully, respectfully, and don’t let someone speak over you until you have finished your thought.

#3: Have a long-term goal, and learn skills to help you achieve it.
During my early years at Daxko, I quickly realized that although I enjoyed the training aspect of my job, my ultimate goal was to work on Daxko’s marketing team. When I was a trainer, I sat close to the marketing team and was privy to some of their brainstorms and discussions, and that’s when it clicked: that was the team I wanted to be on. In addition to an Education degree, I have an English degree with a concentration in rhetoric. I was putting my Education degree to use as a trainer, but I have always loved writing and creative processes more than teaching. I recognized that I would be able to put my expertise in persuasive writing to use as a part of the marketing team. Once I had this goal in mind, I began to get to know members of the marketing team and schedule meetings to learn skills from them, such as Pardot and WordPress. These tools helped me in my role as a trainer (I was in charge of the Services monthly newsletter), but the knowledge also gave me an edge when I was interviewing for my marketing role.

#4: Never stop learning.
At Daxko, all team members receive an annual professional development budget to use on courses, books, conferences, or activities that will help us get better at our jobs or learn new skills. In past roles and my current role, I have used part of my professional development money on certification courses to learn more about my field and develop my skillset. Learning shouldn’t stop when you graduate from college. On the contrary, most of the knowledge I have gained through professional development has been more valuable to my career than my college classes. If you work at a company that does not provide a professional development budget, you can still develop your skillset. There are plenty of free or affordable online courses through sites like ALISON, Lynda, and Coursera, just to name a few. Read blogs that pertain to your field. Find thought leaders to follow on Twitter. And ultimately, you won’t know what costs your company might be willing to help cover unless you ask, so keep #2 in mind, speak up, and discuss professional development with your manager.

#5: Find a mentor.
I didn’t have a career mentor until last year. Don’t get me wrong – I have had plenty of mentors in the past who have helped guide and shape me into the person I am today. Last year, though, I sought out a mentor in my field who I could trust not only for career advice, but for professional advice in general. Because I am still fairly young in my career, there have been many situations I have encountered in the workplace that are new to me. That’s why it’s great to have a mentor who is more experienced and who has faced these same situations in the past. When you’re seeking a mentor, I suggest someone in your field (or the field you want to move into) and someone easy to talk to. Many of the conversations I have with my mentor are about our personal lives, and I really value the fact that my mentor has gotten to know me and truly cares about me. I suggest meeting in person once every couple of months (or monthly, if you can swing it) to catch up, and of course, email, call, or text your mentor whenever you need advice.

Remember, your career and development are in your hands. As you think about how to grow in 2017, keep these tips in mind. Have a vision, and make this the year you take strides to achieve it!


Janna B. is Daxko’s Talent Marketing Manager who is slowly becoming a morning person and wishes she lived in the 1960s/70s.

Are you ready to make a career change in the new year? Check out our current opportunities.

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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.

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7 of My Wildest Daxko Moments

By | Culture, Grow Your Career, Healthy Stuff, Life at Daxko, Workplace | 6 Comments

How did I already make it to my 7th year at Daxko? If you didn’t know, reaching the 7th year in Daxkoland is kind of a big deal because you get a one-month paid sabbatical. Looking back on my 7-year career, I’ve had so many “learning opportunities,” misadventures, and hilarious stories that need to be shared. That’s why I’m gifting you 7 of my wildest Daxko moments. I hope you enjoy reading about my failures and triumphs!

#7: The Time I Bought a Haunted Doll
When we moved to a new office and I was tasked with designing fun themes for our meeting rooms, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to create a haunted house-themed room we named “Spooky.” That’s when I found Annabelle – an antique, porcelain doll with alien-green eyes (that see straight through to your dark soul) and a chipped pinky finger. She sits in Spooky, haunting anyone who dares to enter. I often find her turned around, covered up, or banished from the room, because she’s a little unsettling for some; but I think it’s nice to have her looking out for me. Annabelle’s always got my back!

Just your average, everyday office decoration.

Just your average, everyday office decoration.


#6: The Time I Threw an Awkward Costume Party
One year, our CEO asked me to organize a fun, fall-themed event for our Team Members. I’m pretty sure he just wanted a tailgate party, but because I always learn the hard way, I thought I’d shake things up with an Oktoberfest party! In the month of November. At a seedy bar. During a football game. Needless to say, no one was jazzed about breaking out the lederhosen (Ompa!) or playing my reindeer games (German trivia, anyone?) at my “Novemberfest” party. Alanis is right – you live, you learn. Just give the people what they want – beer, football, and ‘merican clothes.

Testing, testing... is this thing on?

Testing, testing… is this thing on?


#5: The Time I Hired a Magician… For Adults!
You know how to magically make all the enthusiasm in a room disappear? Hire a magician for your party of adults! This is an example of me “thinking outside the box” for events (you’re welcome, Daxko). The “magnificent” magician I hired donned a cape and did those pull-a-quarter-out-of-your-ear type “magic” tricks. The party flopped like rabbit ears out of a magic hat.

#4: The Time I Danced Like No One Was Watching (But They Totally Were)
As a kid, I really wished I was one of the Fly Girls on In Living Color. This is probably why I accepted (without hesitation) a teammate’s request to be a backup dancer in his Daxko talent show act. Two words: Gangnam Style. Two more words: We lost. On the plus side, I finally perfected my Gangnam Style pony prance.

Always willing to shake my groove thang for Daxko.

Always willing to shake my groove thang for Daxko.


#3: The Time I Became a Daxko Rap Star
Secret’s out – I’ve got some mad rhyming skills. I’m no Nicki Minaj, but I made Daxko pretty proud (or embarrassed) by writing a rap song called “It’s the DaxLife.” I also directed, produced, and stared in the music video. It’s off the chain. Or maybe just off. Check it out! It’s 3:20 minutes of your life you can never get back.

Watch out, Internet - we're going viral!

Watch out, Internet – we’re going viral!


#2: The Time I Came Out
There’s nothing quite like waiting 5 years into your new job to come out. In case you’re not following, I mean out of the big ole gay closet. Lesbi-honest – it was one of the hardest and most awkward things I’ve ever had to do (outside of everything mentioned in this post). If you’re ever struggling for the right words, I recommend saying nothing. Just post your lesbian wedding photo Christmas card (“Merry and married!”) on the company bulletin board for all to behold. In all seriousness, I’m glad to work in a place where I can be myself.

#1: The Time I Partied Like a Daxko Celeb in Costa Rica
Achievers Club is the top award at Daxko. It’s awarded annually to the top 10% of the company – folks who were nominated by peers for their exemplary accomplishments during that year. I was shocked (and I’m betting you are, too!) to learn I won the award for my work in 2014. As a result, I got to enjoy a very adventurous, all-expenses-paid vacation to Costa Rica where I drank lots of delicious coffee and encountered many, many chill iguanas.

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First, I’d like to thank the Academy…

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On the Road with Alex L.

By | Culture, Grow Your Career, Healthy Stuff, Life at Daxko, Talent, YMCA | 3 Comments

On a typical day, I talk to customers over the phone and through email: researching issues, suggesting solutions, or maybe just reminding them where that one specific report is located. But, from time to time, Daxko calls on my team to help with special projects, events, or trainings to help out other teams. This past month, I had the opportunity to train a Y in Ohio on Engage.

I was a bit nervous and a bit excited. Monday morning, I headed out to the Birmingham airport, and after two flights, I found myself at the Enterprise rental car facility in Cleveland, Ohio. After filling out the paperwork, the representative escorted me to the lot, where I was expecting to find a nice little economy car to get myself around. Enterprise, however, had another car in mind for me: a Dodge Caravan. That’s right, I got to chauffeur myself and my duffle bag around in a minivan in Ohio. I chuckled to myself as I buckled my bag into the passenger seat and drove an hour or so to my hotel.

Let’s fast forward to the day of training. I actually taught at a local college (Go Dragons!). It was quite interesting to see how much the colleges nearby impacted the Y. This particular Y has a partnership with the two local colleges, allowing students access to their facilities. Students also contribute to the part time staff that the Y employs seasonally. Our customers serve communities, and I on this trip, I had the chance to observe the community that helps shape this Y.

On the last day I was there, I was at the association itself. This was a particularly rewarding experience for me. I loved seeing the facility, observing basic business practices, and talking to the staff members. I grew up in a Y myself and worked at the front desk. So seeing how this Y operates was of great interest to me. The gymnastics studio and indoor tennis court awed me. By the end of the day, I had to ask, “So where do I sign up?”

I came back from the trip feeling appreciative; of the opportunity to learn about what makes this association unique, of our trainers who travel so frequently to deliver exceptional experience, and of Daxko for allowing me the chance to branch out and experience service through a means other than my day-to-day duties. I take great pride in my work here, and through opportunities such as these, Daxko reminds me that it takes great pride in me.


Alex L. is a Customer Success Advocate who enjoys sunshine and bicep curls.

Do you love to solve problems and provide stellar customer service? Work with Alex as a Customer Success Advocate!