Danielle Levy is the CEO and Founder of The Boardroom League. A sought-after executive who has helped six and seven-figure businesses expand with clarity and efficiency, Danielle established The Boardroom League to give other entrepreneurs a little black book of trusted industry professionals to help them implement and scale their businesses.
The Boardroom League consists of experts in a variety of fields; including metrics, design, copywriting, strategic pricing, funnels, social media, and more.
Danielle’s vision came to life when she realized that she was taking this team of experts with her from project to project, and recognized that other entrepreneurs could benefit from her trusted team as well.
With a background in agency work, Danielle has experience in the traditional business world, as well as the online entrepreneurial space.
An Integrator at heart, Danielle believes in helping business owners build a trustworthy ecosystem of professional resources, so that they can focus on their zone of genius, instead of being distracted by day-to-day business obligations.
She holds an MBA, is certified as a Project Management Professional, and is a Certified Online Business Manager. An energetic mother of two boys, Danielle understands the balance of being both a hockey Mom and a successful entrepreneur.
Connect with Danielle on Instagram.
What You’ll Learn in This Episode
- How to have hard conversations with your team
- The best way to get the right people in the right seats in your business
- Why every business needs an ICE plan
- Why operationalizing your values leads directly to sales
- Why skyscrapers aren’t built with duct tape
- The key steps to building a legacy business structured around knowledge rather than individuals
This transcript is machine transcribed by Sonix
Intro: [00:00:04] Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX studios in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s time for High Velocity Radio.
Stone Payton: [00:00:15] Welcome to the High Velocity Radio show, where we celebrate top performers producing better results in less time. Stone Payton here with you this afternoon. Please join me in welcoming to the broadcast with Danielle Levy and the Boardroom League, the lady herself, Ms.. Danielle Levy. How are you?
Danielle Levey: [00:00:34] Good. How are you?
Stone Payton: [00:00:36] Oh, I am doing so well and have really been looking forward to this conversation. Got a ton of questions. I know we won’t get to them all, but I’m thinking a great place to start. Might be if you could share with me and our listeners mission purpose. What are you what are you really out there trying to do for folks?
Danielle Levey: [00:00:54] Sure. So I consider myself to be a business growth strategist. And what I do is I take a holistic look at different companies, brick and mortar and those in the online space and break them down by I generally think about businesses in three different sections, the front of the house, PR, marketing sales, their offers, and the reason they’re in business in that middle section and then the back of the house, all things operations and really work with CEOs to make sure that they have the infrastructure in place to really scale.
Stone Payton: [00:01:28] So what’s the backstory? How did you get involved in this line of work?
Danielle Levey: [00:01:33] Yeah, so I, I had a very successful corporate career. I sort of slid in the back door, I think. I don’t know if any of your listeners have watched the show Mad Men, but that was very much the the the feeling of the companies that I was I was working at. And I did that for 15 or maybe just a little more than 15 years. And I ended up at graduate school, really burnt out. And I treated myself for a milestone birthday and I almost didn’t go through with it. My travel companion had to back out and one thing led to another. But I said, You know what? I’m just going to go ahead and take myself on this adventure. And I had a happenstance introduction who I didn’t realize was one of the executive directors for one of the biggest influencers in the online space. And we just kind of got chatting and, you know, in came my next clients. And I think that was such an amazing moment for me because it was when I slowed down to celebrate my birthday that I had the biggest shift in my career, right? And then I did it as as I did it solo, right? I’m a super introverted person and I still sort of pinch myself that I, that I, that I made the shift. But all of the skills were very, very transferable. And I’ve been having a blast ever since.
Stone Payton: [00:02:54] What a marvelous origin story with the breadth of issues that you find yourself addressing, because it sounds like you’re working in a lot of different domains, pockets of the organization. I got to believe sometimes you find yourself needing to have the hard conversations with the client and maybe even helping the client have the hard conversations with their team. Is that accurate?
Danielle Levey: [00:03:23] It is. You know, I am a very, very people first individual, personally and professionally, like I am that friend that will always remember to drop off the birthday gift or so and so is in feeling well let me get them a meal or oh no, did I hurt your feelings or, you know, whatever the case might be. But I found in business, when I think about serving the business, not serving the CEO, that’s probably paying my invoice or, you know, not trying to be friends with the team. And I’m truly serving the business. And what does the business need? Hard conversations are much easier because for me, they’re not emotionally driven, they’re very fact driven. And certainly I’m not meaning to come across as cold in any any way. I think people are the heart of our businesses. But when you’re able to really look objectively at a situation both in the diagnosis of it and then the handling of it, it becomes much easier.
Stone Payton: [00:04:23] So at this point, what are you finding the most rewarding? What are you enjoying the most about the work?
Danielle Levey: [00:04:30] I love working with CEOs when they just sort of take that deep breath and they realize that they’ve been able to actually step into that CEO seat. You know, I think so many times that either I work with a lot of folks that were originally like passion partners that have become CEOs or CEOs that have experienced a tremendous amount of growth. And it really becomes unwieldy very, very quickly. And you sort of think you’re in this great situation because you’ve made it to the top or you’re running your own business or whatever it is. But the reality is, is that the business is running them instead of them running the business. And so when they’re actually able to say, Oh my gosh, I’m going to clock out and it’s Friday afternoon, or I’m going to step away, or thank you for helping me find this right hand or just that sigh of this is possible, this is sustainable is something that I very consistently see across the board. And it just brings me so much joy because these are people that I’m working with and are able to bring so much positive impact into the world that I hate to keep that all bottled up.
Stone Payton: [00:05:37] Do you feel like you’ve gained some insight into how to help people recruit, develop, retain and get the right people doing the right stuff?
Danielle Levey: [00:05:48] Yeah, I think it’s it’s twofold. I think one is understanding the situation at hand and what is the problem that needs to be solved. And separately, understanding either the people in play currently or the person that you need and then bringing them together. And, you know, it’s it’s not like a set of puzzle pieces that just sort of always match up. There are adjustments that have to be made for that. And I think also as businesses change, you know, those definitions will change. And so it’s not a a set it and forget it kind of thing. You know, Susie Q or Tom Smith used to be the one that did all of these things, but now the business is at a different state. How do we assess for where it currently is and where it needs to go?
Stone Payton: [00:06:34] So is there methodology, discipline, rigor or plan? Like is there a way to to systematically stay on top of that kind of thing?
Danielle Levey: [00:06:43] Sure. I mean, I think you can go at it from a couple of different ways. I’m a big fan of accountability charts and accountability charts for those that aren’t familiar. Kind of look like an org chart. You know, as the CEO, if you’re also filling this role, that role. And the other thing, like I really want to see what functions you’re doing within that accountability chart. And so it very is a it’s a great visual for people to see where folks are spread too thin or not covering enough ground within the organization. So that’s kind of one way to look at it top down. The other way that I like to look at it is making sure that there is an up to date job description. And I’m very clear on job description as opposed to a job posting for each position within the organization, making sure not to unicorn that position. I don’t believe in unicorn except in very rare, very rare instances. I have been convinced, but those are definitely one offs. And then setting a real clear key performance indicator against each one of the the components of the position.
Stone Payton: [00:07:46] When I have a chance to visit with experts in their field like you, I often find that they come across preconceived notions, assumptions. I’ll even call them myths sometimes that the rest of us hold that just that’s just not really the way it is. Do you find that there are some myths, preconceived notions, that sometimes you have to you have to help bust or put in the proper perspective in your work?
Danielle Levey: [00:08:12] Oh, without a doubt. You know, I think communication is is everything in an organization. And I think specifically around our team, if people are not thriving in the environment, it’s it may not because they’re not skilled enough or because they’re not trying hard enough. Right. It’s what information do they have? You know, even as as recently as a couple of days ago, I got into a fairly stern conversation with a colleague of mine. And we had very different philosophies on the approach to something. Well, what we didn’t realize was we had each been in in between the time the two of us had last met, we had each been in a different meeting and had gathered different information. And so it was actually just about coming together, getting through that kind of intense conversation and in a really professional. And it was kind of funny when it was all happening and realizing that we were actually both operating with different sets of information. So it’s quite possible that team members don’t have operating procedures or they’re not aware of a certain piece of the business, or there’s just so many things in play that I think it’s important to always just do a real thorough diagnosis of any situation rather than just saying, Oh, so-and-so said so, or this statement of work said this thing or this service offering said the other thing, right. It’s it’s really important to do your due diligence and your homework on every issue.
Stone Payton: [00:09:35] So are you finding that you’re gravitating toward certain types of organizations or industries or where are you finding the work is more easily and quickly embraced and put to work effectively?
Danielle Levey: [00:09:51] Yeah. You know what? I’m I’m not. And the reason that I say that is I had a thriving business before the pandemic, but the pandemic really, really forced a lot of people to get online and to show up in ways that they hadn’t been needing to show up before that with their audiences. So I really do work across a huge set of industries, everything from finance to dentistry to life coaches and Montessori schools and everything in the middle. You know, I think at the core of it, I think a lot of the folks that I work with are fabulous subject matter experts in the thing that they’re trying to bring to market or expand their market visibility for. But running a business is kind of its own, its own niche that has a lot of the same success stories and a lot of the same struggles.
Stone Payton: [00:10:42] So let’s dive into the work itself a moment, if we could. I know in reading my notes, I saw a mention of ICE plan or ICE plan and mention of this, this whole idea of operationalizing your your values. Can you speak to to those topics a little bit?
Danielle Levey: [00:10:59] Sure. So an ICE plan and I would encourage again, your listeners to think about this with a lens for both your home and your personal and also your business. But an ICE plan is in a case of emergency plan. And I think the last thing that any homeowner or CEO wants is for them to be the bottleneck of a business, whether it’s planned or not planned. There are times that other people need to step into a business to be able to serve certain problems. And obviously you want to have a certain amount of security around those things. But life happens, right? And so it’s about setting up a plan for the legacy of your business should someone need to step in. You know, we’ve all turned on the news and there’s just horrific things happening. It would be a shame. Of someone needed to step away from their business, even if it’s just for a brief time. And because communications with customers have gone away or because team members didn’t know how to react or whatever the case might be, that the business suffers from that. So my ice plan is really getting inside of your head and taking all of that valuable information, compiling it in a really safe and organized kind of way so that if and when someone does need it or has the opportunity to need it because, you know, there’s a vacation or we were chatting, a hunting trip involved or whatever that that they’re able to do.
Stone Payton: [00:12:17] So I think I’m going to walk away from this interview with some homework because I don’t feel like I’ve done enough on that front. No. Hey, guys, if you want to get some free advice and learn a lot, get yourself a radio show. But all kidding aside, I think what you’re describing, I don’t think me and my business partner have done enough of that. So thank you for that.
Danielle Levey: [00:12:35] Yeah. No, no, no. Of course. I mean, if you think about it in terms of your home life as well, right? If I were to go away on a girl’s weekend or, God forbid, something happened, like, would my husband know where all the bank accounts were or would my husband know how to reach out to my clients and say, this is what’s going on, Right? I don’t want my business to crumble. I don’t want my mortgage not to get paid because someone else that I really trust in my life doesn’t know how to solve for these problems. So I would encourage people to think about that personally and professionally. In terms of the other piece of the question that you asked, which is operationalizing values, I feel pretty strongly about this, and forgive me if I’m about to get into a soapbox here, but I have quite literally been in the physical space of meeting rooms and office locations with senior level executives where we figure out what the company’s core values are. They get jotted down. And quite literally, I’ve seen them posted on a wall and I’ve also seen them quite literally collect a whole lot of dust. I think a lot of times when businesses are getting started, it’s it’s not seen as much of a need at the start. And I would argue otherwise. I think having a set of core values gives your customers and gives your team a clear picture of what you stand for and also specific to your team, how they can embody them.
Danielle Levey: [00:13:52] It creates an incredible amount of efficiency confidence. It builds team culture very quickly. It gives a set of guiding principles to the work that’s being done. And I’ll give an example of this definitely putting myself out there, but I made what could have been a critical business mistake for a client of mine, and there was direct dollars involved in the mistake. And when we were talking about it in the retrospect, she said, Daniel, why did you take this set, this next step? And I explained to her, based on her core values and based on the plan that we had in place, this was a very logical next step. And she said, you know what? It was a mistake. And I can absolutely see why that was a very logical thing to do. And we recovered from it and it was not a big deal in the end, but it really opened up some great conversation in how do we want the business run and making sure that all team members were running in the same direction. So I just I can’t say enough about just making sure that that team members and customers know what those those core values are and what the company stand for.
Stone Payton: [00:14:54] What you were describing on both of those points also suggest to me these are things that you want to do. If you ever want to prepare to exit and or if you are genuinely invested in leaving a legacy of your intent. Legacy is is important to to a lot of us. And I bet it’s important to a lot of your clients in it.
Danielle Levey: [00:15:16] It is. And I think we spend a lot of time talking about or we working with a team that’s generating a high salary because it’s one thing to have an extra salary, it’s another thing to build a legacy and build a business that’s a stand alone. And I very much want to work with companies to help them that have that transition of mindset and accomplishment of doing so.
Stone Payton: [00:15:39] So how do you get the work? How does the whole sales and marketing thing work for a person like you, a practice like yours?
Danielle Levey: [00:15:47] Mainly through word of mouth? I was fortunate when I made the shift to working independently. I had an incredible network that really understood who I was and like I said, I’m very, very people forward and I spent a lot of time with the folks in my network and in my community.
Stone Payton: [00:16:07] So as hard as you run and as much as you invest yourself, I got to believe from time to time maybe you start to run out of gas a little bit. Where do you go? And I don’t necessarily mean a physical place, but where do you go to recharge and kind of get re-inspired so you can gear up and serve the next client? What’s your approach to that?
Danielle Levey: [00:16:26] So I do work hard and I would say I probably I’m definitely a workaholic and I love doing it, but I can literally feel my body when I’m not being as productive as as I should. And that is always a cue for me to get outside. And it doesn’t matter if it’s for 15 or 20 minutes to take a walk. It doesn’t matter if I’m able to get away for a little bit longer than that. As soon as I feel myself not being as productive as I should be, I know it’s time to step away and get that. For me, it’s it’s all about the fresh air.
Stone Payton: [00:16:58] But it’s so important that those of us who are leading organizations and trying to serve others, it’s important that we make that that space and that time available to ourselves, isn’t it?
Danielle Levey: [00:17:09] It really is. And, you know, I’ve I was brought up to believe that you work hard all the time and you don’t let your your foot off the gas. And and I still believe that. But I also believe that, you know, it’s important to be effective, efficient and deliver it the highest quality. And we’re all just human. And it took me many years of burnout and really being physically strung out and exhausted to really understand and to see the difference for taking that break versus versus not and to create those boundaries and how important they are for me.
Stone Payton: [00:17:45] Before we wrap, let’s leave our listeners, if we could, with a couple of pro tips, some things that they should be thinking about, reading, doing, not doing in this domain. Number one pro Tip gang is reach out and have a conversation with Danielle. But short of that or prior to that, some things that maybe we ought to be thinking about on some of these topics.
Danielle Levey: [00:18:08] Yeah, I am a believer in always staying in motion. A lot of folks have heard the mantra from tiny acorns, Great oaks grow, right? That’s an age old saying, and I couldn’t believe more in that. Just continuing to take that one next action step. Just saying I just have to find, even if I don’t do the thing, I need to figure out what my next steps are. I need to make that one reach out just to continually stay in motion. Because over time, all of those micro actions really, really build up.
Stone Payton: [00:18:38] Well, I’m glad I asked. I think that’s marvelous, Counsel. All right. What is the best way for our listeners to reach out, have a conversation with you, tap into your work, whatever you feel like is appropriate. Linkedin, email, website, that kind of thing.
Danielle Levey: [00:18:51] Yeah. So my website is Daniel Levy dot com and Instagram is a great way to get in touch with me. I always love DMS and to chat with people directly. It’s Danielle underscore C underscore Levy.
Stone Payton: [00:19:05] Well, Danielle, it has been an absolute delight having you on the show this afternoon. Thank you for sharing your insight and your perspective. This has been informative, inspiring and keep up the good work.
Danielle Levey: [00:19:18] Thank you for having me. I’ve really enjoyed.
Stone Payton: [00:19:20] It. Absolutely. My pleasure. All right. Until next time, this is Stone Payton for our guest today, Daniel Levy with Daniel Levy and the Boardroom League and everyone here at the Business Radio X family saying we’ll see you in the fast lane.