If I Were a Butterfly

By | Culture, Healthy Stuff, Team Member Spotlight | One Comment

Editor’s Note: This post is less about Daxko and more about a team member and something they do that they hold near and dear to their heart. It’s important to see our team members outside of work and learn about their passions, motivations, and how they give back. So… read on!

When I’m not busy being a Project Manager at Daxko, I find myself drawn to a lot of different things, many of which can be attributed to my parents. I’ve been playing video games since I was a kid, when my parents purchased the original Nintendo Entertainment System. They bought it for themselves, but I quickly latched on and before long, I was stomping on goombas and destroying the robot masters with the best of them. They thought (perhaps hoped) I’d grow out of that…but they were very wrong. On a daily basis, I’ll find myself digging too deep into a dark cavern or attempting to talk myself out of a zombie apocalypse. Somehow, I always manage to come out unscathed.

What I am most thankful my parents passed along to me (even more than Zelda) is something called Special Session. This week of summer camp takes place at wonderful, wonderful Camp McDowell (located near Nauvoo, AL, which is somehow smaller than it sounds). This year was Special Session’s 20th year, and I am very proud to say I’ve been involved from the very beginning: I started as a staff brat, being my parents’ tagalong before graduating to driving golf carts, then to being a counselor, and finally joining the ranks of adult staff. We had two separate weeks of camp this year, our first-ever time splitting it, and by all accounts it was an incredible success.

Special Session is an intentionally regular week of summer camp, complete with pool time, arts and crafts and pie-in-the-face bingo, with one small exception: the campers are mentally and physically handicapped. I choose the word small here with purpose: everyone has disabilities, and while some people’s disabilities and special needs are more obvious than others, this does not stop us from having a good time. We celebrate our differences and are thankful that we are exactly who we are, how we are.

There is a theme that we roughly adhere to (this year being Willy Wonka and his World of Pure Imagination), but usually we offer the same activities every year. Above, you can see my friend Shea riding on a horse and absolutely loving it. He rides on a horse every year and beams with that happiness every time. Below, Dennis has his whistle ready to go in case someone needs saving at the pool (while the real lifeguard sits to the right).

Both Shea and Dennis have been coming for years and are some of my oldest friends. They’ve seen me grow up and have helped form the person I am today. They’re old pros at Special Session, so when we have a counselor (who are normally in the mid-teens to early twenties) who might be nervous about how the week will go, we let Shea or Dennis, among others, hang out with them for the week. The campers don’t need any help, but the counselor might: we know these two will take good care of them.

Another highlight of the week is the Talent Show. What happens on that Special Session stage is magical and is tough to explain in words. We have all kinds of talent showcased, from singing and dancing to extreme smiling and coat hanger twirling. Dennis will often grace us with his harmonica playing, and we get to see Michael Jackson’s songs come to life. We’ve had Pokémon battles, we’ve had arm wrestling competitions, we’ve had a guy tell us all about his cats at length: we’ve had everything.

And the crowd goes wild for it. On Talent Show night, every single person is a star on that stage. You can feel the energy as Geoff walks on stage to tell us on exactly what day of the week any random person was born, or the rapt attention as Jurdy reads us a poem she wrote. Breath is held as we wait to see which of the four contestants will be this year’s most extreme sitter or if Jeremy is going to be able to make his bed in that perfect way that he does. If there was more excitement in the room, the air would crackle with electricity.

The other heavy hitter of the week is the dance, which is the final night. This year, as our normal musical talent was unfortunately ill, I was volunteered as someone who might be able to DJ. What if I mess it up? What happens if I play the wrong song or someone doesn’t like my tunes?  I’d never done this before and was nervous: I’ve come to Special Session for twenty years and the dance is the single most impactful moment of the whole thing.

The first image in this post is of that night, right as a conga line is breaking out as I play one of the Soul Train themes; you can see me to the right finding the next song. My fear evaporated as Dennis, Shea, Moose, Philip and this large cast of characters I’ve come to know danced and cheered with each new song; as I should have expected, they took good care of me. It is at the dance where the underlying message of the week is most apparent: it is more trouble than it is worth to discern who is a camper and who is a counselor. We are all loved, we are all special and we are all incredible.

It’s hard to stop talking about Special Session. It’s a bittersweet feeling knowing that I’ll see all these people again in a year, knowing that I must wait a year. Life returns to normal and the most we can do is hope we hold on to the special parts of the week. You would think I would have a lot of practice but it is still sad to see my favorite week of the year, every year, pass by once again.

There’s always next year though!

A very special thank you to the incredibly talented Allison Kendrick, who took the photos. Check out her other work on her website: http://www.allisonkendrick.com/.


McKee S. is a Project Manager who loves playing video games and kickin’ around a hacky sack.

Five Years at Daxko

By | Culture, Grow Your Career, Life at Daxko, Rewarding Careers, Talent, Team Member Spotlight | No Comments

Anniversaries are kind of a big deal here at Daxko. Nope, not wedding anniversaries. Daxko-versaries. This month, I’m celebrating five years at Daxko, and I’m still so happy and grateful to work for such an amazing company. I’ve learned a lot in my time at Daxko – not only about navigating a career, but also plenty about myself. From developing a training program for new hires to crossing off a ton of states from my travel bucket list to landing a dream role as a marketer, I can truly say I’ve had an outstanding experience.

Of course, I’ve also had a lot of fun here, too. As you can see from the photo above, I take Daxko Halloween very seriously and have dressed as Wednesday Addams, Lydia from Beetlejuice, one of the twins from The Shining (along with my sister, who is also a Daxko team member), and a Ghostbuster in the past.

One of Daxko’s core values is synergistic teamwork, and working closely with other folks within the company has also helped me gain a lot of friends. Meg H. is one of those friends! She and I were on the Education Team at the same time, and we traveled a bit together to train our customers on Daxko’s software. I recently sat down with Meg, who will soon be celebrating her seven year Daxko-versary, to talk about our favorite memories, our career growth, and what we’ve learned during our time at Daxko.

Here’s to five more years! I can’t wait to see what I learn and how I grow as I continue my Daxko journey.


Janna S. is Daxko’s Talent Marketing Manager who is obsessed with animals and who often wishes she lived in the 1960s/1970s.

A Bona Fide Recruiter’s Top 5 Resume Tips

By | Culture, Free Career Advice, Grow Your Career, Job Hunt, Rewarding Careers | 3 Comments

I review thousands of resumes every year that represent thousands of candidates who would love to work for Daxko. I’ve seen some truly great resumes, and I’ve also seen some that are not so great. A great resume is a must-have regardless of the career you want, and these are my top five tips for creating a resume that will get noticed at Daxko (and likely anywhere else you apply).

#1: Design matters.

The role you apply for will dictate just how creative you should be with your design, but any resume should have a design that makes it easy to read and find the pertinent information. Keep in mind that the average recruiter or hiring manager spends about six seconds reviewing a resume before making a decision to look further or move on (but lucky for you, we’re not average here at Daxko).

You don’t have to be a graphic designer to have a nicely formatted resume, either. You can find templates on Microsoft Word and Google Docs; or, if you want a fancier format, you can find some on Freepik or Creative Market. And if you are a graphic designer or applying for a creative position, please don’t come at me with an ugly Indeed resume with no formatting!

#2: Like a good suit, the best resumes are tailored.

Your resume should be tailored to the job you are applying for, not for any job at any company. I’ve heard many people compare interviewing to dating, and that comparison really works well here. When you’re dating, you want to feel like your date really wants to be with YOU, not just any warm body. Employers have feelings, too… and we want to know you want THIS job at THIS company.

#3: Objectives are so 1996.

If you’re applying for a job, we’ll assume that your objective is to get said job. Instead, use that valuable resume space to provide a summary of your experience or to highlight some of your career successes. If you’re a new grad or someone just entering the workforce, focus on classes you’ve taken that are applicable or successes while in school (did you maintain a 4.0 while working to support yourself through school?)

Other things to leave off your resume include:

  • References – We’ll ask for those separately if you make it to that point in the interview process. Save that space on your resume for more useful information.
  • College details from more than a decade ago – Most employers don’t care what sorority you were a part of in 1998. Internships also take up valuable real estate on your resume and can be removed for anyone more than 5 years out of school (unless your internship was especially noteworthy/career defining).

#4: Everyone loves a mystery… except on your resume.

Don’t make me guess or jump through hoops to get the information I need. What do I mean by this? Well for starters, make sure you put your contact information at the top of your resume. Don’t hide it at the bottom, or even worse, forget to include it altogether. And your LinkedIn profile is great, but I want an email and a phone number to reach you (call me old school).

I also don’t want to guess about your work history – include dates and locations. I’ve yet to meet a recruiter who actually enjoys reading functional resumes; so skip that, include your work history, and write a cover letter if necessary.

#5: Check yo’ self (before you wreck yo’ self).

Really though, proofread your resume… and then have someone else proofread it for you. You don’t want silly grammatical or spelling issues to stand between you and your dream job! It’s almost laughable how many resumes I see with “detailed oriented”… you’ve just got to love the irony there! I can look past a typo, but if you can’t string a few words together without me shaking my head, we have a problem.

There are probably several more I can think of, but these stand as my top 5. If you have questions, or want to tell me how wrong I am about functional resumes… good news! We’re hosting another #AskDaxko Twitter chat on Wednesday, July 19th, at 11:30 AM. We’ll chat for an hour about resume do’s and don’ts, our favorite formats and fonts, and all that jazz. Got a question, but can’t join live? Feel free to send it in ahead of time using the #AskDaxko hashtag, and we’ll address it during our chat. Hope to “meet” you in the Twittersphere!


Beth Wolfe is Daxko’s Senior Talent Acquisition Specialist who is from the beach, but thinks Birmingham is waayyy cooler; and who enjoys any Seinfeld reference worked into everyday conversations.

Process, the Perfect Team, and Psychological Safety

By | Building a Company, Culture, Healthy Stuff, Life at Daxko | No Comments

In 2013, Sam Hinkie took the helm as the general manager of an ailing Philadelphia 76ers (basketball) team and established what people refer to now as “The Process”. The Process was a calculated and devised plan to, over the course of several years, get the best young talent to the land of brotherly love where they could ball out. But like all good things, the process took time and included several (terrible) losing seasons, backlash from fans, and ridicule by analysts.

Hinkie, despite the controversy surrounding his tactics, was committed to The Process. Every act that he took, every decision his front office made, and every trade that he conjured was centered on his end goal: winning basketball games and building a franchise. Unfortunately, Hinkie supporters ran out of patience, and in 2016, he was forced out just a season away from the process finally (hopefully) yielding its first fruits.

Unlike the 76ers, Daxko has been a solid organization for years. But the similarity they share with the 2013-2016 76ers is the conviction that process is vital to progress. Understanding process increases scope and vision for where and what we want to be. I joined the Customer Success Team during a rebuilding phase; people were changing roles and moving on to other things during a busy time of year. Trusting the process was not easy when the phones wouldn’t stop ringing and cases piled up. The urge to overcompensate with impulsive hirings or knee-jerk reactions to problems were tangible. But with time, our a resilient and committed team weathered the storm. As we rebuilt, we became more tenured and experienced and, through deliberate hirings, we became stronger in number and proficiency. Now, a year and half later, our squad is stacked.

In trusting our process, did we achieve what we aimed to do? I guess it depends. The process of building a good team may not be able to quantify the intangibles that comprise a great one. Google, a company who prides itself on process and vision, recently conducted a study to uncover the characteristics of a perfect team. The study (Project Aristotle), despite pouring over decades of social and psychological group behavior and case studies on Google employees, found it hard to determine exactly what makes a great team. What they came to realize is that the lack of consistent patterns was because great teams took so many different forms. Some teams were balanced across the board which helped equally distribute duties. Other teams’ strengths varied but were able to give teammates tasks that fit their skill set. All in all, they identified two behavior traits that ran through the variations of great teams. One was what researchers call “equality in distribution of conversational turn-taking” which is a fancy way of saying that everyone on the team spoke an equal amount during team meetings. The other was social sensitivity, which is when people are aware of nonverbal cues: tone of voice, body language, group dynamics, facial expression, etc.

These observations comprise parts of what is known as “psychological safety”. The article quotes Amy Edmondson, a professor at Harvard Business School, when she says psychological safety is a ‘‘shared belief held by members of a team that the team is safe for interpersonal risk-taking.’’ Psychological safety is ‘‘a sense of confidence that the team will not embarrass, reject or punish someone for speaking up … it describes a team climate characterized by interpersonal trust and mutual respect in which people are comfortable being themselves.’’

It seems that for teams to succeed, there must be a good process in place to build for scale and growth, bring in all-stars, and craft a crew that can perform. But what may be the crux of impactful work, meaningful careers, and a successful team rests in the truth that to be excellent is to value those around you. Where work becomes excellent out of a sense of joy rather than a sense of fear, resilience replaces timidity, employees are teammates, and culture is a communal commitment to who we are and what we hope to be.


Sam G. is a Customer Success Advocate who enjoys slow mornings, coffee, and homemade waffles with his wife every Saturday.