Darcy heads to the dojo for better business skills
Darcy Boerio always enjoyed running, especially when her son was a baby and could be pushed in a jogging stroller. But once he was too old for that, Darcy struggled to find a fitness activity they could both do together. She was talking with a friend who did karate with her daughter and thought that it wouldn’t hurt to go. With her friend as an accountability, Darcy and her son have made it a regular thing.
In this episode, Darcy and I talk about how she had been reluctant to talk about this with others in the past because she didn’t think it would matter. But she’s since found that, “It’s a good long-term benefit to get to know your coworkers.” Since most of her team now works remotely, it’s even more important make the effort to create those connections.
Darcy Boerio is the President of DAB Partners and the co-host of the Enterprise Software Podcast.
She received her Bachelor of Arts, Economics from The University of Texas at Austin.
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Welcome to Episode 140 of the Green Apple Podcast This is John Garrett. Each Wednesday, I interview a professional who just like me is known for a hobby or a passion or an interest outside of work making them stand out like a green apple in a pretty boring red apple world. To put it another way, it’s encouraging people to find their “and” as in my guest Darcy Boerio who is a consultant and does karate with her son. When I first met Darcy and heard that, I knew she had to be a guest on the show because it’s our hobbies and our passions in these interests that can make you better at your job, but only if you let them.
I’ve got a quick favor to ask. If you like the show and are listening on iTunes or your favorite Android app, please don’t forget to hit “subscribe” so you don’t miss any of the future episodes because I love sharing such interesting stories each and every Wednesday. This week is no different with my guest Darcy Boerio. She’s the president of DAB Partners and the cohost of the Enterprise Software Podcast. I know you’re so very, very busy, but thanks so much, Darcy, for being with me today on the Green Apple Podcast.
Darcy: Thanks for having me. I’m excited to be here.
John: Oh, yeah. It was so great meeting you at the ITA Conference in Nashville just about a month ago. It was so fun talking with you there. Now, we’re talking here. So it’s so fantastic.
Darcy: Here we are.
John: I’m excited. Yeah, I gave everyone a little bit of the introduction of what you do. But maybe in your own words, what you’re up to now professionally and a little bit of how you got there.
Darcy: Sure. I started my business DAB Partners. It’s almost exactly a year ago. In June, it’ll be one year.
Darcy: Yeah. It’s kind of exciting my first time having my own business. What we do is pretty specialized. We offer services to help software publishers and even more specifically those who publish add on software or some of the popular accounting and ERP software programs. We help them grow their revenue by growing and strengthening their referral relationships with the resellers of the ERP solutions that their products integrate with.
Darcy: For example, a lot of my customers have products that integrate with Sage. So we help them partner more closely with the Sage resellers. John, I think you might be familiar with Sage.
John: A little bit, a little bit. There, it’s so fun.
Darcy: Yeah, and I have to tell you, John’s been doing the keynotes for the Sage Sessions Events. One of the Sage partners that attended came back and I asked him, how was it. He didn’t know I knew you or anything. He said, oh, that keynote though. It was so good because it just so happened that his son was working on his resume for finding an internship. I came home and told my son, scrap everything, we’re changing all of it after hearing your keynote.
John: Wow. Oh, man. So cool. Look at that. People are listening, that’s very cool. What made you get into working on the software side of things?
Darcy: Well, I’ve been in the accounting software world for 20 years now or so. I worked for a publisher in the beginning, a major publisher actually that was bought by Sage. So I actually was a Sage employee for a while. And then I worked for a couple of different of the add-on solutions. I was doing what I’m doing now as an employee for different companies. I had a couple industry colleagues approached me and say, “Gosh. We wish we could have someone like you at our company, but we’re just not really sure that the role is right or that we have the budget for a full time resource to dedicate to that.” And so, I just felt like there was enough interest and I have talked to enough people that there really is a demand for this because it’s not a role that everyone has.
A lot of the software publishers will have what I call a partner sales rep model where their sales reps are expected to have a quota and to also goes show love and nurture their referral partners. It just is a flawed model in my opinion, because one thing slips through the cracks. So they don’t separate those roles in most of the time. My customers all realize and want to be partner friendly. They’ve got me there just to really focus on making sure that they’re doing all the right things to have strong long term relationships with their partners.
John: Nice. That’s awesome, that’s very cool. It dwells on your history and all of your work experience from the last 20 years. Yeah, you’re put in — I mean a one year mark is huge to go out on your own and to make it work, so kudos for that.
Darcy: Oh. Gosh, I had a lot of help and advice and support and I have learned some things the hard way, but I just couldn’t be more excited about it.
John: Nice, yeah. That’s awesome. When you’re not running DAB Partners, what hobby or passion or things do you love to do outside of work?
Darcy: It’s funny you ask me that, because I want to — it’s a good time to tell the back story of how we talked.
John: Sure, absolutely.
Darcy: When we were at ITA, which is italliance.com, if you don’t know, it’s a great organization. You should check it out. John was the keynote speaker there too. He had us all go amongst ourselves at the table and talk about what was our “and.” The other people at the table said, “Oh, I’m very involved in this charitable organization or I ran iron triathlons and all this stuff,” and I just sat there and I said, “I don’t know. I’m a mom.”
John: Right, right, which is full time. You can’t really turn that off, that’s for sure.
Darcy: And I would never want to. But you know, I also have a mom who is a business owner who works fulltime, who travels for work. Sometimes, it feels like it’s really hard. I don’t have hours and hours a week to train for a marathon. I don’t have time and resources to go climb Mount Everest. I’ve had to find things to be able to participate with my family and also achieve my goals as far as things like exercise and that type of thing. When I’m traveling, I come home and I want to be with my family when I’m home. I get all cats in the cradle and like I want to be involved with my families anyway. Anyhow, I’ll get to the point. But how I got there is a piece of it.
I was telling my friend this a few years ago, a friend of mine is also a business owner, Pamela McDaniel. She’s a business owner. She owns a software business and has a child as well where her kid is a little older than mine. I was telling her, gosh, when my son was young, I used to be able to run. I took him for jogs in the stroller and I did a lot of running. It was great. I got into running actually when he was a baby. But then when he got to be two or three, you don’t want to be in the stroller anymore. So I was like ah, I can’t get any exercise anymore because he can walk now and he wants to walk. But she said, oh, you got to come out. I do karate with my daughter. I’m like, what? She goes, yeah. You do it with her? She said, yeah. I’m in the class with her. Okay. I’ll check it out.
I went out there and brought my son out. He was about four at the time. I stood in the room with her and a couple other parents. While all the kids were doing their karate, it’s all ages, all belts classes and then all the parents are the chairs watching which made me just a little self-conscious out there. My son loved it. He really enjoyed it. It was helping him become more agile and getting him more athletic and I was getting exercise and we’re both learning how to punch and kick. Yeah, we’ve been doing that for a couple years now. We take a break every now and again. My son, I don’t want to push him too hard. Sometimes, he’ll say, “I don’t want to do it for a while.” So we’ll take a couple months off here and there and then he always wants to go back. He’ll try other things for a while. But yeah, we’ve been doing it for about three years and it’s been great.
John: So cool.
Darcy: We spend time together and I also am able to get some exercise.
John: Yeah. That’s so cool. That’s the thing and that you’re out there doing it. Like you said, I mean a lot of the parents are there sitting in the chairs watching and you’re you and your friends are out there with the kids. Let’s do this, because if your son starts punching and knowing all the moves, it’s like I got to know how to defend myself.
Darcy: Oh yeah, that comes into play a lot for sure.
John: Yeah. So you’re grounded and it’s like, “No, I’m not, mom.” And is like, “Yes, you are.”
Darcy: We haven’t got to that point yet but he does love to wrestle. That’s his favorite thing to do.
John: Do you feel like doing the karate has helped you be a better business person?
Darcy: Oh, gosh. I think so. I think there’s a couple of different ways that maybe it’s helped me and my professional life which is accountability because I do it with my friend which I always recommend if you want to do any type of exercise program. But there have been times when one of us didn’t show up and the other was the only parent in the room doing the exercise. It’s very much the accountability, but translate that into a work environment is partnering with your coworkers and your customers and really having accountability and having people that you can rely on right who are also relying on you to keep you accountable. In that sense, I think that translates into professional life.
But another thing is, when I first have been doing it for a little while they finally said, “Okay, we think you’ve got some of the basic skills down. You’re ready to do sparring night.” I was ooh, sparring, I’m not really sure about that. I mean I can see me — let my kid do it. But what they do is when you’re a beginner, they have you spar with the instructors who are black belts. I come out there instead of dance around and kind of just a little timid and they’re like, “Hit me. You’re not going to hurt me. Go. Just try and hit me.” Okay. So it took me a while. We’re wearing helmets and shin pads and all that kind of protective gear and everything. They’re tapping themselves on the head and say, come on, hit me. Hit me in the head.
John: Crazy. What? That’s funny.
Darcy: It took me a couple of times to finally be comfortable just go out with all I could. You’re not going to hurt me. I’m not going to hurt a black belt, especially as a very brand new beginner. They know how to defend themselves. What that translates into in this business is just literally not pulling any punches.
John: Right, yeah.
Darcy: Especially as a consultant, my customers hire me. They want to now. Unfortunately, sometimes what I have to tell them is not good. Hey, you guys are doing this wrong. You need to improve in this area. You’ve gotten some bad feedback. But I’m going to tell them and they’re going to appreciate it because they’re business owners, they’re leadership, they’re black belts of business.
John: Absolutely. Hell, yeah. You’re only going to make them better. Absolutely. That’s fantastic. I can’t even imagine sparring night. It’s like oh, man, not the money maker like you can’t touch this. I’m out there like a sumo, inflatable sumo suit.
Darcy: It’s exhilarating, I’ll tell you that.
John: Yeah. Plus everybody is watching you, so you’re on stage, you’re performing. It’s like, I’m on. It’s go time. That’s really cool. So is this something that you talk about with your clients?
Darcy: Probably not as much as I will moving forward historically. I really learned a lot from your presentation at ITA about really getting personal with your clients and letting them get to know something about you that differentiates you and is memorable. I haven’t really done that too much in the past, but I definitely am trying to think about ways to do that moving forward after learning more about the whole green apple concept. I’m the new convert to the green apple concept.
John: I appreciate it. That means so much. I remember vividly talking to you because it’s like what woman comes up and says I do karate with my son? Its l Ike, wait, what? That is awesome. I had 100 people come up and tell me that they do IT for something or another. It’s like yeah, okay, I don’t know you from anybody else that’s come up and tell me the same thing. But it stands out. It’s the way our brains work. So that’s a test. Yeah, you’re not shouting it from the rooftops or shoving it in everybody’s face, but that’s fantastic. Is there something else that you’ve talked about with clients or have you just been all business all the time?
Darcy: Actually, a lot of my clients are actually my friends outside of work if you will.
John: Sure, yeah.
Darcy: With the nature of what I do, we travel to events together and things like that. So I absolutely definitely build personal relationships with most of my clients actually. We work very closely together.
John: That’s awesome.
Darcy: It’s not just me coming in and tell him what to do, I’m leaving. I help them, I get my hands dirty, I get in there. Really, we’re working side by side a lot. We definitely talk about what did you do this weekend or what trips are you going on, that kind of thing but just not really — another example that I thought of when I was listening to you at ITA was I used to have a coworker. He took his wife and four children and did a circumnavigation. He sailed around the world for, I think it was three years.
Darcy: This guy, we used to work for the same company. We were both selling software. I come in to customers that have worked with him in the past. He’d go in when he did a demo and he’d have his sailboat up on the screen. And people go, “Oh, is that your boat?” And he’d tell him how he sailed around the world. Well, for years, people would say, “Oh, yeah. That guy that sailed around the world, John.”
John: Right, see.
Darcy: They knew I met that guy that sailed around the world. I think it’s one thing with your customers to just chitchat about what you did on the weekends. But really, if you got something, your “and” that you’re really suddenly talking to people about, that’s really cool.
John: Yeah. If you just throw up like that, and I love that example of it. It’s a screensaver on a computer. You have a picture in your office or something like that. And then they ask, was like well, you asked. So grab a chair because I got a story for you. That’s what happened for me. People would just be like oh, would you do this weekend? Oh, I drove to the city and did so me comedy shows. Wait, you did what? That’s the thing. It doesn’t even have to be so weird. It doesn’t have to be such a rare thing. It could be anything at all. But whatever it is that lights you up and whatever makes you super excited is where the magic is, because people can sense that. They want to hear more of that because you’re alive, which is really cool.
When you work for that big organization, how much do you feel it’s on a firm or a company to create that culture where — hey, everybody. Let’s get into what your “and” is and your hobbies and passions or how much is it on the individual to just kind of step up and just do it in their own little circle?
Darcy: It really seems like it does seem to just happen organically. I don’t feel like the companies that I’ve worked for have ever really done that. They might have team building exercises and that type of thing. I think that is maybe one way that they do it but I’ve not really seen a lot of people trying to get people out there to say what’s unique about you.
John: Right. You can walk into some companies. It’s like, does anyone even like working here? You can just feel it. And then there’s other places where it’s like, does any work actually happen? I’m sure that there’s a happy medium of course. But yeah, but I’m always curious just to see how much is it the tone at the top or how much is it just people just creating it amongst themselves?
Darcy: The last company I worked for did something pretty cool. They had a “meet the team” page on their website. Every week or so, they would publish out a blog article about a new person to meet on the team.
John: Oh, cool.
Darcy: And then they had all the posts of the team on their website, so anybody, customers or partners or other team members going out and read more. We did learn a lot. In that sense, I think they did that because they had a questionnaire. You could talk about whatever you wanted. We did learn a lot about each other’s hobbies that we may never have now, and I’ve always worked remote for the past seven years, I’ve been working out of my home office. And so I’ve always had to do things to really go out of my way to build personal relationships with my coworkers because I don’t have that water cooler talk and we’re not going up to lunch. We’re up for drinks after work or anything.
So I do a lot of video conferencing with my coworkers just to have them see my face. I’m friends with them on Facebook because it humanizes you. You’re not just as an email and a voice on the other end of the phone. I’m a person and I think that’s something I made a conscious decision about. My Facebook friends with a lot of partners and with customers and coworkers just to — I feel like it’s a way that you’re not always going to have a lot of time when you’re busy and you’re working to chitchat. But I know what you did last week.
John: Right, yeah. I saw the pictures. That’s fantastic. That’s such a huge thing. Especially, yeah, when you are remote or you’re dealing with people that you’re not face to face with, it does take an extra step, an extra amount of effort there. So kudos to you for seeing that and taking advantage of the different kinds of technology that are there that can bring you closer. I guess, do you have any words of encouragement to people that maybe think that sharing any passions or interests at all outside of work is a waste of time or there isn’t a charge code for getting to know each other?
Darcy: I think it’s a good long term benefit to get to know your coworkers. It builds trust and confidence. I tend to be — early on in my career, I had a boss that was really a driver and I’d watch people come into his office and try to sell him things or whatever and he’s just like yeah, get to the point, get to the point. I kind of had this fear a lot of times of being casual at the beginning. I always kind of jump right in. Once I made a shift and realized you know hey let’s talk about the weather. Let’s talk about the hockey game last night. Whatever it is, just really help just build relationships so much more quickly if you do just a little bit at least have some personal conversation before you just jump right into business.
John: Yeah, absolutely. I couldn’t agree more. It takes three minutes, tops maybe.
Darcy: Yeah, right.
John: It just puts people at ease. It makes them feel welcome and it just shows that you’re genuinely interested in them as a person. It goes so far, it really does. Kudos to you, you’re doing it. Now, that you have that karate in your back pockets, I mean yeah, people are going to be like wait, what? You did karate all this time? How did you not tell me? Well, I was waiting until I was a black belt and now what?
Darcy: You never made me bad, so I didn’t have to show you.
John: Right. But before I gate on a plane and fly down there and hangout and some karate with you, which I’ve actually never done, so that might be hilarious. I do I’m a seventeen rapid fire questions that I’d like to run you through. Since we’re going to hang out for a little bit, might be get to know each other. Here we go. Let me fire this thing up. Yeah, all right.
First one, are you more Star Wars or Star Trek?
Darcy: Star Wars.
John: Okay. All right. When it comes to computers, more of a PC or a Mac?
Darcy: PC for the pas 30 years.
John: Yeah, all right. On your mouse, are you a left click or a right click?
John: Left. There you go, making decisions. How about, do you have a favorite adult beverage?
Darcy: Red wine.
John: Red wine, okay. There we go. How about a favorite color?
John: Nice. How about a least favorite color?
John: Brown. That counts, absolutely.
Darcy: How about — paper role, over or under?
John: Over, yeah. It’s where the patent is. How about pens or pencils?
Darcy: Pens, unless I’m helping my kid with his homework.
John: Right. How about Sudoku or Crossword puzzle?
Darcy: Crossword or just old fashioned jigsaw. I said about one week,
John: Oh. A jigsaw puzzle. There you go, nice. All right. How about do you have a favorite comedian?
Darcy: John Garrett.
John: Oh, you’re too kind, you’re too kind. That work. How about an early bird or a night owl?
Darcy: Night owl.
John: Night owl, there you go. How about, do you prefer diamonds or pearls?
John: Nice. How about do you have a favorite number?
John: Seven? That’s a very popular answer. Why seven?
Darcy: That just always felt a lucky number.
John: Yeah, no. It’s a great number. How about, do you prefer more hot or more cold?
John: Hot, yeah. That’s what I figured. How about, do you have a favorite movie of all time?
Darcy: One of my favorites is the usual suspects.
John: Oh, nice. That’s a great answer. Two more, two more. We got a more balanced sheet or income statement?
Darcy: Income statement. Knowing just enough about it can be dangerous, it was easier for me to grasp an income statement than a balance sheet.
John: Right, totally. Absolutely. Just throw it all in good will in the balance sheet. That all I did or it doesn’t balance. No, it does. The last one, the favorite thing you own or the favorite thing you have?
Darcy: Well, the favorite thing I own is probably my own business.
John: Nice. There you go. That’s a good answer. Yeah, I’m glad you like it. Since you’re stuck with it, it’s your thing. No, but this was really fantastic, Darcy. Thank you so much for being with me today on the Green Apple Podcast.
Darcy: Thank you so much for having me.
John: Well, it was crazy fun. I loved how Darcy said, “It’s a good long term benefit to get to know your coworkers.” It’s so easy to get lost in the details of our day to day routines and forget about the long terms benefits to being genuinely interested in those around us. Just because it doesn’t have a charge code doesn’t mean it’s not important. Because as you’ve heard from Darcy and many of the other past guests on the show, this totally matters.
If you like to see some pictures of Darcy doing karate or the link to or Enterprise Software Podcast and maybe connect with her on social media, please go to the greenapplepodcast.com. While you’re on the page, please click that big green button, do the anonymous survey about firm culture. Thanks again for subscribing on iTunes or whatever app you use and for sharing this with your friends so they get the message that we’re all trying to spread which is to go out and be a green apple.