Part 2 in the Count Down to AZEC10 blog series.
I have a passion for people and organizations that make a difference. So when Francine Hardaway recruited me over 5 years ago to serve as Chairman of the Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship Foundation and work with the team to help at-risk individuals find a path to economic self sufficiency through entrepreneurship, I had a hard time saying no. Recently, I had the chance to chat with another executive and entrepreneur who also has stepped forward and contributed his time and talents to the OTEF cause. He is known around the valley as “The Sales Cooke.” I know how Francine convinced me to get involved but I was curious about what motivated Dave Cooke to donate his time and talents to OTEF and the Arizona Entrepreneurship Conferences. So I asked him, “Why did YOU get involved?” Here is what he said…
I enjoy and appreciate OTEF’s commitment to our community. Everyone needs help. But not everyone can simply purchase support resources. I enjoy being part of organizations and businesses that recognize this and provide a solution by serving as a committed resource without always being “paid” to do so. Education and experience are gifts that can and must be shared.
And, the great thing is, sharing is exactly what he has been doing. Last year, Dave spoke at AZEC09, sharing his decades of experience with hundreds of entrepreneurs who were looking for ways to grow their businesses more effectively in a challenging economy. This year, for AZEC10, Dave went one step further and volunteered to serve as sponsorship chair for the conference, donating not just words but also putting the actions behind them.
As a consultant and business owner, Dave works with other business owners and business leaders to help them with their revenue related challenges. Together they re-define selling strategies and then helps educate the sales team and other parts of the organization so that the strategies are successful and effective. Since he answered my first question, I decided to ask a few more.
The AZEC10 theme this year is The Great Reset. As a leader – did you ever get stuck? What was your “reset” ?
Dave: Who doesn’t get stuck? I rely on the power of my best connections and resources. Over the years, I have built a very strong based of trusted and experienced advisors who, as business leaders and successful entrepreneurs, have traveled the road I am on. When I get stuck, they get me unstuck.
How long has you been working with entrepreneurs in the valley?
Dave: I have been in the Valley nearly four years. As a person passionate about helping others realize their objectives, I am confident I have made a difference. I am active in several associations, make myself available as an advisory resource, and have enjoyed a business relationship with many companies in the in the greater Phoenix area. Having only known two people when I got here and now sporting a contact base of over 1200, I think I have made an impact.
One of OTEF’s key areas of focus is mentoring. Who helped you along the growth path?
Dave: In every position, at every company, I had one mentor who taught me something. I continue to find great mentors and advisors. Of course, I have always looked up for those resources and have been willing to be vulnerable to ask for their help. Too many people are afraid to ask, show fear, or expose failure. Why not? There are plenty of people in this world who have experienced those same things and are willing, eager to share their knowledge. Simply asking for help and be willing to listen, learn, and take action will encourage those people to help you.
Will you be at AZEC10? Why?
Dave: There is a great energy and information there. The speakers always provide new insights and information. And, these are nationally known, prominent, and powerful speakers who offer tremendous credibility their stories. I wouldn’t miss it for anything.
What do you plan to achieve between AZEC10 and AZEC11?
Dave: My mission is the same mission I encourage local business owners everywhere – diversify your business portfolio across multiple market segments and multiple geographies. There are many business segments and geographies that are experiencing growth. Many of those are not in Phoenix. My mission is to go back to diversifying my customer base in SE Michigan, Bay Area CA and Phoenix so I am not caught up in the economic churns that sometimes limits opportunity in a particular area.
I hope you enjoyed this look at some of the people behind OTEF and AZEC10. We’re just getting started as we count down to the Fifth Annual Arizona Entrepreneurship Conference, AZEC10 this November 17th. And don’t forget – early registration discounts end after October 15th. Register today to save $25 off the general registration fee.
Thanks for stopping by. Stay tuned…