New Year, New Crew

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This year, I set two New Year’s resolutions – to finally practice speaking Spanish and to dominate at Daxko Friday Games. (Two months isn’t enough time to master my fellow teammates’ gaming ways. However, I will win one day.) The new year is always an exciting time for me. I love taking time to refocus, set goals and clean any clutter that I’ve allowed to pile around me.

For me, this new year was a bigger switch than normal. Over the last few months, I moved to a new city, started at a new company and began working in a new role. As an Engagement Consultant at Daxko, I work with a team of five superstars implementing and consulting on Daxko Engage and Daxko Mobile. My first few months at Daxko were welcoming, fast-paced and a wonderful type of overwhelming. With this theme of new in my life, it seems only fitting that my first months at Daxko aligned with the new calendar year and more importantly – Daxko Kickoff.

Daxko Kickoff – Our Roaring 20s

Every year, Daxko hosts a company-wide Kickoff event bringing teams across all departments and locations together to plan and refocus for the upcoming year. Combining work and play, Kickoff is the perfect time to allow our creative juices to flow and define our 2018 goals. Because Daxko is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, Kickoff was themed “Our Roaring Twenties”!

Our CEO, Dave Gray, began Kickoff with a company Keynote. Here, Dave addressed our 2017 achievements, being honest in ways we can grow and optimistic in the ways we will succeed. The evening continued at Iron City where the company gathered for our very own Daxko’s Got Talent. Bands rocked the stage, lip-syncers busted a move and the Engagement Solutions team’s very own Emily Vonbartheld KILLED it with Irish dancing.  It was AMAZING! I can’t sing enough praise for the people who performed.

Ending night one, Dave announced our 2018 Achievers Club Winners. This award is one of Daxko’s top honors. Winners received recognition for their outstanding work, a trophy and an all-inclusive trip to a resort in Mexico. Congratulations to all our Achievers Club winners! It was an honor to cheer on team members that I have the privilege to work with at Daxko.

Let’s get down to business

With celebrations and performances completed, it was time to focus in and plan for the upcoming year. Day two of Kickoff included multiple team breakouts and brainstorm sessions. This day provided my team with time needed to nail down our goals and projects for the 2018 year. While this day is more business-focused than the previous day’s celebration, I enjoyed it the most! The planner side of me thrived as my team brainstormed new ways we can improve our customers’ experience. Call me a nerd, but there is nothing better than hashing out a plan for a new project. By the end of the day, I left feeling confident in my team’s 2018 goals.

Already, in January and into February, I have seen my teammates make great strides in completing what we aimed to accomplish this year. I am thrilled to be a part of a stellar group. Kickoff was the best way to begin my time at Daxko. It allowed me to meet and connect with people across the whole company and grow closer to my immediate team. I cannot wait to see the ways we grow. Bring it on 2018 – I am kicking it off with an amazing, new crew at Daxko!

Christy Brown is an Engagement Consultant who loves vacationing in Asheville, NC and watching The Office.

Be Like a Bee: 5 Lessons Beekeeping Can Teach us About Work

By | Building a Company, Communication, Culture, Healthy Stuff, Team Member Spotlight | No Comments

My interest in beekeeping started at a farmer’s market. There’s always a booth with local honey at the farmer’s market I love to visit at the beach. When I visited for the first time, I sampled many different types of honey and other bee products. I also got into a conversation with the beekeepers at the booth and found out about the many uses for honey, how it’s made, and about the importance of bees. I was intrigued ever since that day!

My father-in-law loves honey, so whenever I travel, I always pick up local honey from whatever city I visit. After doing this several times, I decided it might be worthwhile to consider keeping bees and harvesting my own honey. That, paired with the fact that my husband has called me “Sue Bee” (the name of a brand of honey) for years, cinched that beekeeping needed to become my hobby.

Bees are fascinating creatures. They live in a colony made up of worker bees, drones, and only one queen bee, and all play a specific role in the survival of the hive. All worker bees are female and literally work themselves to death. They are essential to a colony and have many different roles. To name a few jobs worker bees do:

  • Foragers: These bees leave the hive and bring back pollen and nectar.
  • Nurses: These bees feed larvae, as well as tend to and support the queen.
  • Temperature controllers: These bees ventilate the hive to ensure the honey temperature is right.
  • Builders: These bees keep the hive clean as well as provide wax to construct the hive.
  • Security guards: These bees defend the hive and keep out pests.

Who run the bee world? Girls!!

The male bees are called drones, and their only purpose is to fertilize new queens from another hive. Drones are very lazy, though. They like to stay in the hive and eat honey until the worker bees decide they’ve had enough and kick them out. Once a drone fertilizes a queen, it dies.

There’s also the most important bee in the hive – the queen bee. She’s the only member of the colony who lays fertilized eggs, and the other bees tend to her every need since she keeps the colony growing. She lays about 2,000 eggs a day and lives for 2 to 3 years if the hive stays healthy. Although every bee plays a different role, they’re all doing their jobs for one goal: ensuring survival of the colony.

A bee colony is like a team, with everyone working toward fulfilling a mission. But the hive must be healthy. If it’s not, the bees will leave or not survive (this actually happened with my first colonies). It reminds me a lot of the workplace. If your work environment isn’t healthy, you’re more likely to want to leave. Fortunately, bees can teach us a few lessons we can apply to our own lives.

#1: Trust the bees.

Lack of trust is the cause of many issues in the work environment. Although the bees have many different roles, they demonstrate and can teach us about trust. Bees build trust by taking care of each other and teaching each other. Simply stated, they have each other’s backs. As they develop and grow, they get promoted into bigger roles in their colony. If they run into an emergency, no matter their new role, they can always jump back in and help defend the hive. Bees also make sacrifices for the betterment of the hive. Worker bees die if they attack, as they use their stingers to protect. Drones die after they fertilize a queen. It’s important to trust your team and to make yourself vulnerable. Having trust as the foundation can make a strong, synergistic team.

#2: Don’t be like the drones! Work hard or buzz on out.

Drones have an important role to ensure the success of the bee population. However, most of their life, they just sit around and mooch off the hive while the worker bees are working hard. Drones do not clean the cells, they do not protect the hive, they do not make honey, they do not help with the temperature controls, they do not nurse the babies, and they do not go out and forage. They often stay in the hive, get in the way, and eat on the honey which should be stored up and saved to help the hive survive the winter. In the end, the worker bees kick the drones out once winter arrives.

Honeybees teach us to do our part and to work hard and diligently. Avoid being categorized as a drone and do your part! The Rock makes a good point: “Be humble, be hungry, and always be the hardest worker in the room”. Having that mindset sets you and your team to achieve great things.

#3: Communicate clearly, honey.

Bees communicate through movements and pheromones. In order for bees to let their “teammates” know where a good source of food is, they will do the waggle dance to share the location. If a worker bee uses its stinger, it sends out a smell that alerts the hive of an intruder, so then they all are aware. The queen sends out pheromones to communicate to the hive that she is alive and healthy. They know very quickly when she is not. Clear communication allows the hive to work as one strong operation. Without it, the bees would swarm. In the end, they all do their part to survive. At work, it’s important to communicate effectively and to create and reinforce clarity within your team. Doing this leads to happier team members and sets them up to work in a successful environment.

#4: Bee an advocate.

Bees will defend their hive and protect the queen at all costs. Not only do they secure the hive and have emergency plans in place, but they continue to train each other on the importance of survival. In the workforce, it is important to be an advocate for your company. We must defend against our competitors and continue to produce outstanding results to provide to our customers. Work hard, believe in the mission, live and breathe your company’s core values, and be proud of the company you protect and contribute great success to!

#5: Bee Mindful of the Mission

In the end, bees work hard to survive. Don’t we all? One of their main goals for survival is to produce honey and to continue storing it up to live on. Honey is not an easy product for bees to make. To make it, they swallow a full belly of nectar and then after a while, regurgitate it into a bee cell and control the temperature by flapping their wings to ensure it sets correctly. It’s a long process, however, honey has been around since ancient times and is still praised for its benefits and taste! To name a few benefits: helps relieve seasonal allergies, relieves coughs and colds, serves as an anti-bacterial agent, great for your skin, boosts your memory, provides nutrients to your body, boosts your metabolism, etc. The product is amazing!

We should learn from the bees. We want Daxko to be the ‘golden company’ throughout the health and wellness space, and we are well on our way! Like the bees, having a great, valuable product is important, but it is also important to love what you do and remember why you do it. Working with good people you trust, working hard and doing your part, having healthy communication among your team, and supporting and promoting your company help improve engagement. When you are engaged, you’re likely working in a healthy environment. When you’re working in a healthy environment, you’re likely to stay.

Not only do the bees help our environment, but they also teach us life lessons we can learn from and relate to. Save the bees and thank them for all they do! And if you want to learn more about beekeeping and have colonies of your own, don’t hesitate to reach out to me with questions.

Susan Walls is Daxko’s People Team Orchestrator who loves Jesus and her husband and daughters, enjoys karaoke and dancing, and likes picking out the perfect outfit for any occasion.

I’ll Give You 180 Days

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

New Daxko team members normally have these 60-day perspectives ready to share on the Daxko Culture Blog shortly after 60 days have passed from our Daxko start dates. Let’s just say that getting this after being 180 days in will give you, the reader, added perspective. Just go with it. Don’t @ me.

I was hired onto the team at the beginning of June 2017 to support a group of customers using our Daxko Spectrum product and based in our Houston office. It’s been a thrilling experience, and what have the first six months of Daxko looked like for me? Here’s a list of some unique highlights and cultural pieces that stuck out to me:

  • Day 4: user group in Atlanta
  • Friday Open Q&As
  • A week at Birmingham HQ
  • Impact Day @ Houston Food Bank
  • User group in Chicago
  • Hurricane Harvey and Reach Conference
  • Houston office move
  • Club Industry Show
  • Halloween
  • Star Wars!

Quite the variety of events, some of which you can infer their meaning and others are just Daxko lingo that likely means nothing to you or any other reader on this page, but the effect of what those lingo words represent means everything to some.

Things can move quickly around Daxko, so you have to stay on your toes and be ready to jump in or pivot at any moment. Take a look at that first bullet above: yes, on Day 4, they had me on a plane to Atlanta to attend a user group for some of our customers in that area. I thought it was fantastic that this new company I just accepted a position with would spend the time and resources to go to where their customers are to simply welcome them in and work with them on better using one of the products. Not only that, but my team lead called me before I even started my first day to extend this invitation to me and made all of the arrangements!

Skip down a couple of bullets to the next user group in Chicago. That kicked off a whirlwind of personal and professional overdrive that lasted several weeks. Our offices had Daxko solar eclipse viewing parties on that Monday, then a large group of us were off to Chicago the next day for another user group we had planned for our customers in and around that city.

While conducting a successful user group and connecting with our customers, our attention was being called to trouble rapidly brewing back home: Hurricane Harvey. I remember sitting in my hotel room between two of our events and getting the group text from my team lead: “All of you here from Houston, change your flights right now to go home tomorrow (Thursday) evening. We will pay whatever the cost.” How awesome for a company to make an early call on some last-minute plan changes for meetings and events to ensure a group of us got home before flights sold out and airports closed for a major hurricane?

Harvey was a nightmare that no Houstonian ever wanted to see again after Allison in 2001. Things began turning very serious the first night, and anxieties were validated when a local chief meteorologist tweeted, “Allison is officially no longer the benchmark flood event in Houston,” and the forecast continued to show that the Harvey event was just beginning. But it did happen again, and it will again at some point. We’ve just accepted it as part of living in a major metro prone to floods. Our Houston office was closed for more than a week after the storm, and we spent that time helping our neighbours and communities and working from home as power and internet service allowed.

Harvey did not just affect team members and customers in the Houston area and down the Texas coast. It affected a large percentage of our company and customers. Why? Our annual REACH customer conference was scheduled to take place in Houston two weeks after Harvey struck. Remember what I said earlier about always being ready to pivot when working for Daxko? The company and hundreds of our customers had spent months making plans, incurring expenses, and at that point were finally ready to come together for a week of learning opportunities and to hear about the future of our products that they rely on. Suddenly, the host city was crippled by the worst natural disaster in its modern history. Our solution? In a matter of days, we pivoted and were ready to conduct as much of the conference as we could virtually. We knew it would not be the same experience as an in-person conference, but it was important to us to still use the time we had planned to connect with all of these customers in any way that we could. We learned a lot from this experience, and I am excited for our next customer conference.

Nearly a month after Harvey, the Houston team moved offices! The last office was a dark and dreadful place. We try not to remember it. It did not sustain any damage during Harvey, and the move was originally planned for the week that Harvey happened. Needless to say, Harvey brought the move to a grinding halt for some time, but once again, we pivoted and made adjustments. Now our Birmingham and Houston offices both reside in Class A buildings constructed at the turn of the millennium! (I told you the last Houston office was a dreadful place).

If you ever visit our spaces, you’ll find it interesting that the interior design of these spaces is the signature of our CEO, Dave Gray. He does most of the design planning and selections himself for our workspaces. He even worked to have a portion of the ceiling removed between the two floors our Birmingham space occupies and had a large staircase built between the floors, because he wanted the spaces open and the Birmingham-based teams easily connected rather than separated. Crazy cool, right? Our new Houston space is still a work in progress, but after a few trips to Birmingham HQ this year, I am excited to see what Dave is putting together for our space.

Moving through the year, the season began to change, but first impressions of this new company culture I’d found myself immersed in did not. I’ve heard of other companies permitting costumes on Halloween or having a fun social during lunch, but never have I seen a company as enthusiastic about Halloween as Daxko. Of course, the ringleader of all the fun is once again our CEO. He is very passionate about Halloween, and strongly encourages team members to participate in the company-wide costume contest – a costume contest across three offices in three states and dozens of remote team members around the country. I’ve seen company leaders encourage participation in company events plenty of times before, but I never thought I would hear a CEO say in a company-wide meeting (with a laugh of course), “If you’re seriously not dressing up, don’t bother coming into the offices that day. Just work from home instead. I’m serious!” What a character, and it was only fitting that he showed up for work on Oct. 31 in a very elaborate Willy Wonka costume – complete with the top hat and cane!

Most recently, I learned that Daxko has adopted a different approach to a company holiday party. Rather than host a traditional, stuffy gathering (which I presume would not be stuffy at all based on how I’ve seen other things conducted around here), they have capitalized on Disney’s recent release schedule for the current awakening of The Force and purchased Star Wars movie tickets for each team member on the films’ opening nights. This has allowed team members to still get together for a fun event during the holiday time and take a different approach to an end-of-year celebration. And plus, it’s Star Wars!

Overall, the first 180 days here has been an experience that I would not trade away. I came here from a large corporation that was also breaking the mold with team member focus and culture, and seeing that same focus here at Daxko was a large influence in my decision to join the team. I am very excited for what the next 365 days will bring, and the 365 days after that.

Matt Glenn is a Strategic Relationship Manager who always visits the People Team pod when he comes to Birmingham.

Soundtrack to My Daxko Travel Life

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As a software trainer for Daxko, I travel a lot…and I mean a LOT. Before I started in this role, I’d been to eight states, and I’ve now been to 30. With a lot of travel comes the need for entertainment…how else can you face a long flight or drive from the airport?

Ever since I was young, my main source of entertainment has been music. I’m not easily pigeonholed into liking a certain genre – anyone who knows me can speak to the fact that I listen to almost everything. I’d like to share ten “must listens” that I always have on my travel playlists. These songs are some of my favorite in the world, and I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Artist: Josh Ritter

Song: Cumberland

Favorite Lyrics:

“So before you start talkin’ ’bout the wonders of the world again

The Taj Mahal, the Great Wall, the places that I never been

Take a little drive, take a little trip to Heaven and

Wonder for a while if it’s Paradise or Cumberland”

Josh Ritter is one of my all-time favorite artists, especially when it comes to live performances. He’s a total ball of joy when he’s on stage. This song reminds me of a Graceland era Paul Simon, and always makes me sing along.


Artist: Billy Joel

Song: We Didn’t Start the Fire

Favorite Lyrics:

“Hemingway, Eichmann, Stranger in a Strange Land

Dylan, Berlin, Bay of Pigs invasion”

This song is a total classic, and always reminds me of the “Ryan started the fire” episode of The Office. I learned all the lyrics to this song a few years ago, and can’t help myself from singing when it comes on. I chose my favorite lyrics because of the way Joel makes “dylANberLINbayofpigsinvasION” one big word. I sing it the exact way he does, and it makes me laugh every time.


Artist: The Beatles

Song: I Want to Hold Your Hand

Favorite Lyrics:

“Yeah, you got that somethin’

I think you’ll understand

When I say that somethin’

I want to hold your hand”

Come to our office and stop by my desk, or the favorites wall, and it will be pretty evident that The Beatles are my favorite band of all time (and you can reference this culture blog post for proof). This is one of those essential Beatles songs that I can’t help but love.


Artist: The Avett Brothers

Song: Ain’t No Man

Favorite Lyrics:

“There ain’t nobody here

Who can cause me pain or raise my fear ’cause I got only love to share

If you’re looking for truth I’m proof you’ll find it there”

The Avett Brothers are a long -time favorite band that I’ve seen perform more than once. The music video to this song is set in an airport/plane, which is pretty representative of my professional life, so you’ll often catch me listening to this as I’m speedily walking towards my gate.


Artist: Tears For Fears

Song: Everybody Wants To Rule The World

Favorite Lyrics:

“I can’t stand this indecision

Married with a lack of vision

Everybody wants to rule the world”

I’m the daughter of a woman who grew up in the 80s and loves all 80s music, so I grew up knowing this song. It always reminds me of summertime and the bouncy beat puts me in a good mood, no matter what.


Artist: Joshua Radin

Song: Underwater

Favorite Lyrics:

“Everybody’s too loud, I can’t listen to myself.

I need somewhere I can go.

Underwater is where I’ll go.”

Joshua Radin is the first artist I remember really latching onto in my teens. I’ve seen him perform FIVE times, and I love him more each time. When the album this song is on came out, he explained to the crowd during his performance that when he was a kid, he had ear trouble that prevented him from going underwater. When he was an adult, he was finally able to do so, and wrote this song. This song reminds me of one of my favorite launches in Arizona. I took lots of videos and put them together, with this song playing over them. It still makes me a little teary!


Artist: My Morning Jacket

Song: Golden

Favorite Lyrics:

“And you always told me.

No matter how long it holds me

If it falls apart

Or makes us millionaires”

Maybe it’s the backing percussion that sounds like a train that makes this song such a “road trip” song for me, but you’ll find me listening to it no matter where I’ve traveled. I actually remember listening to this when I was at the Grand Canyon, so you can say it’s followed me everywhere.


Artist: Justin Townes Earle

Song: Wanderin’

Favorite Lyrics:

“Yes, oh lord, I’ve seen your oceans, I’ve seen your mountains high.

I’ve been lost inside your cities, I’ve seen the underside.

Yeah, I know the troubles that plague a troubled mind,

But they can’t catch me I’m a wanderin'”

I probably don’t have to explain this one, but man, I love Justin Townes Earle’s folksy sound. This song is more frequently played when I’m traveling somewhere down south, but it rings true wherever I am.


Artist: St. Paul & The Broken Bones

Song: All I Ever Wonder

Favorite Lyrics:

“I can’t tell what side I’m on

I can’t tell what’s right or wrong

We ain’t ever gonna sing one song”

You know I couldn’t leave out a hometown band. Enough said.


Artist: Cat Stevens

Song: Peace Train

Favorite Lyrics:

“Get your bags together,

Go bring your good friends, too

‘Cause it’s getting nearer,

It soon will be with you”

The first time I ever remember hearing this song was while watching Remember the Titans when I was a kid. My fiancé lived in Auburn, Alabama (about two hours from Birmingham) when we first started dating, and this song somehow ended up on the playlist I listened to when driving to visit him. Since then, it’s kind of been an “us” song, so it always reminds me of him when I’m traveling.

I hope you’ve enjoyed a little glimpse into music that I love. What are your favorite songs to listen to while traveling?

Deeanna is a Software Trainer, cat mom, and Tudor history buff who loves the outdoors.