Welcome to our new blog series, “Ten Minutes With…”, where we profile clients who not only believe in the power of PR and marketing tools, but also use them extraordinary well. Our first conversation is with Dina Dwyer-Owens of Neighborly, whose well-known mantra of living and leading with a strong Code of Values as one’s guide has become her core message. We hope you enjoy the first ten minutes with Dina Dwyer-Owens!
Over the years, you’ve worn many hats for the Neighborly franchise organization — shareholder, board member, CEO, co-chair, brand ambassador and more. But you have always referred to yourself, first and foremost, as the “head cheerleader”. What has that meant and how has it impacted how you’ve represented Neighborly? “I’m all about inspiring others to achieve their potential, especially as it relates to living the Code of Values at Neighborly. When you get the values right, you get the man or woman right. And when you get the man or woman right, you get the world right.”
You’ve been called the Godmother of Franchising (a great moniker for PR, by the way!) Who gave you that honor, and how has it influenced you? “Mary Thompson, our Neighborly COO, my mentor and friend, gifted me with that title at an IFA event promoting women in franchising. I’ve been involved in franchising for 38 years and have been blessed to be trusted in leadership positions. It’s funny that my answers still come back to the values and my responsibility to lead my life by our values and inspire others to do the same. My commitment to my faith is my number one personal value and it ties beautifully to our Neighborly values. It all boils down to loving and servicing our fellow man, whether they be family members, associates, friends, franchisees, franchisors, suppliers or neighbors.”
While other business leaders champion company profits, you’ve made it your mission to champion the Code of Values at Neighborly first. Why has that message been so important? “When your treat people, all people, with respect and dignity and provide a quality product or service, the profits always seem to follow. My friend Ken Blanchard said it best: ‘Profits are the applause you get for doing right by the people.’ So many people have told me that they were attracted to Neighborly because of our Code of Values. It’s a message that really speaks to people, and the results have been amazing.”
You went from being a business leader to also being an author and a speaker addressing audiences around the world. How did that happen, and why was it important to add these things to your busy life? “Funny you should ask as I just reflected on this today. On one of my original dream lists as a young lady, I wanted to be a motivational speaker and write a book. Watch out! Those dream lists are powerful! I also believe God has a calling — a vocation for each of us. And sharing the message about living and leading with values is one of my callings along with striving to be a servant leader, good mother, wife… and now grandmother! That resulted in my books Live R.I.C.H. and Values, Inc.”
Being accessible to the media has led to too many interviews to name (CBS “Undercover Boss,” Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal, and more). Any favorites, and why? “Undercover Boss, because it speaks to our neighbors worldwide. It gave me the opportunity to shine a bright light on the benefits of leading with values, and it opened the door for me to share the importance of my faith with others. Not to impose either, but just to be authentic. The reason I know this resonated is because the viewers told me so, and continue to. I just received a letter in the mail today from a viewer who watched the episode for the first time. He said that it gave him a renewed hope and even helped support him away from suicidal thoughts. The biggest lesson I learned while undercover is the awesome, and I mean awesome, responsibility we have as leaders.”
How significant was it for you to be a woman in business who also created opportunities for other women? What is the Women in The Trades Program, and how has it elevated careers in home services and franchise opportunities to a wider pool of people? “I love changing the mindset that home services are mostly male-dominated professions. I’ve had a front row seat to see women succeeding across our Neighborly brands at all levels. And only good can come from sharing that message. That’s why we created the Women In The Trades program. Since the launch, the program has awarded scholarships twice a year to women across the U.S. and Canada, assisting with continuing education at accredited trade schools and programs across our home services. Every semester there are incredible stories of scholarship recipients to share.”
Any advice for other business leaders who want to create a special company culture but don’t know where to start? Go to values-inc.com and invest in one of my books (at a highly discounted rate). And after reading the book go to dinadwyerowens.com and download my free Creature Your Culture workbook. Then make it happen and join this movement. Our world needs you!
What has it been like to work with BizCom PR all of these years to help share your message? It’s been a world-class experience!