Career Advice from a Longtime Daxko Pro

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When I joined Daxko in 2009, it was my first “real job” out of college. Being a clueless-yet-confident twenty-something, I was terrified that at any moment, someone might discover I didn’t have it all figured out. Lucky for me, Daxko turned out to be fertile ground to grow my career and blossom. The fast-paced environment was just what I needed to expand my skillset, super-charge my confidence, and find the courage to be my (weird) self.

My first Daxko “wall” photo taken in 2009. Can you smell my eagerness?

As I prepare for my next adventure after nearly a decade-long career at Daxko, I can’t help but reflect on the relationships I’ve built and lessons I’ve learned along the way. So, here’s a bit of career advice from me to you. Whether you’re the new kid on the block, rocking your second decade with a company, or somewhere in between, I hope you’ll find advice here to move onward and upward in your career.

Enthusiasm is Everything
Life is short and tomorrow is not promised, which is why I aim to enjoy every moment, including my time at the office. This is why I’ve always fit into the company culture at Daxko. The entire company is teeming with fun folks who bring a high level of enthusiasm to their work. Enthusiasm is contagious, and people willingly follow passionate leaders. Think about it. Is there anything more inspiring than working alongside someone who’s fired up? It’s like Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”

Running amok with teammates at our Kickoff 2012 event

Stretch, Reinvent, Repeat
Through my years at Daxko, I’ve held a few different positions. Each time, the change was scary, but I was always better for it in the end. Beginning your career in one role or department doesn’t mean you’re locked in for life. When it’s time for a little reinvention, channel your inner Bowie and figure out how specific skills you possess can translate into that next new job. If you’re qualified for 60% of the job, go for it and stretch, baby, stretch!

My final reinvention at Daxko was on the Marketing Team. We were…really into exploring our strengths.

Find Your Equilibrium
If you’re not intentional about setting boundaries and scheduling down time, work stress can suck the lifeblood out of you. Case in point? A good portion of my Daxko years were spent managing events, which is statistically one of the most stressful jobs, along with firefighters and airline pilots, so I’ve navigated my fair share of hair-on-fire work stress. Of course, every job has its stressors, and there will always be projects that call for longer hours and a little more hustle. The trick is to avoid burnout by finding your equilibrium – a pace you can sustain for the long haul.

Stress? What stress? We’re cool as cucumbers, baby!

Change is Inevitable. Adapt!
During my time at Daxko, I’ve seen so much change: new faces, new products, new leadership, new workspaces, new goals, new norms…the list goes on. It’s true what they say – nothing ever stays the same. That’s why it’s important to become adaptable. I find this is best accomplished with a good sense of humor and eyes wide open for new opportunities. The butterflies in your stomach are natural. Push through and embrace the change!

No desk? No problem! Adapt, plug in, and make some magic happen.

Jumping into Daxko

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Jumping into Daxko is not unlike leaping into a rushing river, and I mean that in the best way possible. It doesn’t take much effort to be swept away by the culture and attitudes of the people around you. The community is so vibrant and outgoing; everyone permeates enthusiasm. After a few days people caught on that the bearded guy wasn’t just a visitor, and started introducing themselves to me and made sure to tell me that if I had any questions I could “come directly to them”.

The onboarding process has been thorough (looking at you, PCI Compliance) and sometimes puts you on the spot (I had to give a fun fact about myself at a recent company-wide meeting), but it feels more like a rite of passage to be worthy of joining an amazing group of people.

I applied at Daxko because I was looking for an environment of like-minded people who cared about what they did, how they did it, and perhaps most importantly, the people they do it with. I may be on chapter one of my Daxko journey, but if the rest of the book is anything like the beginning, I can’t wait to read more!


Zac R. is a Project Manager who loves naps, karaoke, and self-deprecating humor.

If I Were a Butterfly

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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

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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.