A little over a week ago Kira and Amanda went to Local First Milwaukee’s event: When Women Lead. The event celebrated women who run their own businesses, and that inspired Kira to learn a little bit more about the woman who runs the company she works for! In light of International Women’s Day, this post focuses on the Founder and CEO of Brew City Marketing, Amanda Dalnodar, and some valuable things she’s taken away from being a leader in business.

Tell me a little bit about your background.

Amanda went to college with the intention of being a teacher. She quickly discovered she wasn’t ready to fill the responsibility of a leadership role, realizing she would need more life experience first. She considers teaching in the future, but at that moment decided to go back to the drawing board. As she was exploring ideas, one of her friends Michelle said she thought Amanda would be great in marketing. The broadness of the industry was appealing to her, as there seemed like there were a lot of opportunities within it to find a good fit. She also ended up taking some extra electives at UW-Milwaukee, one of which was web design, being the only business student in the class at that time.

Another place she gained a lot of her experience was when she was working at a non-profit, MATA Community Media. She was hired as a marketing assistant there where she had free rein to come up with marketing ideas. Her first big project was to redesign their website, giving her project management experience.

What do you like about digital marketing?

She loves small businesses and helping them promote what they do best. They’re great because they have a product that contributes to our society at large, and she likes being able to help them promote what makes them special. She also enjoys working with other marketing professionals and providing opportunities for them to share their gifts and hone in on their goals. It’s fun for her. It feels almost like a big playground where she can provide people with ways to grow in their professional journey.

Have you always wanted to have your own company?

Yes. Looking back she remembers as a little kid she would pretend to own her own store and liked the idea of making things that people wanted to buy.

When Amanda was in high school she spent some time working at a florist shop. There she got to assemble/create floral arrangements and then watch people like them enough to buy them for someone special in their lives. Looking back, those are some of her fondest childhood memories. In college, she won an entrepreneur scholarship by describing those types of experiences in more detail.

It’s so cool you and your husband work together, what is that like?

The business was a creative venture they took together. It’s nice to be able to talk about work together and know where the other person is coming from, to have that common interest. It creates a good bond, and it’s pretty cool to watch the company change and grow and succeed together – just like raising a child – well, kind of.

At the same time, it’s important to know how to create boundaries. Like when to stop talking about work. She noticed she can’t talk about it late at night because it’s too stimulating and there comes a point where you just need to disconnect.

Power struggles can happen through the fact that they both have strong personalities and are very opinionated. It’s all about balance, sticking to your lane and understanding the other person’s position as well.

There are a lot of risks and challenges choosing to work together, and to be able to be a support to each other is gratifying. It’s a huge emotional support system and goes to show that they’re a good team.

Amanda started the business, but she always maintained that they’re like a stool, it needs all 3 legs. Her, Mark, and her brother Danny. Amanda creates the goals, products, the vision of the biz, operations, marketing and takes care of the employees and contractors. Mark focuses on maintaining client relationships, sales, and financials. Dan is all sales. They each play a prominent role, and she knows if she didn’t have their unwavering commitment to succeed alongside her that the company would not have grown at the pace it did.

What major lessons do you feel you have learned in your career?

Knowing that she relies on other people, and giving autonomy to those that help her. How important the people are that you choose to help you. They will make a difference in how the business moves forward, and that it’s up to her to cultivate that.

Amanda likes to think of herself as a vessel for providing people with opportunities and helping small businesses grow. She learned from Katrina Cravey to ask herself first thing in the morning how she can best serve others, and that makes a huge difference in the way she carries out her day. Having that mentality has been life-changing.

Do you have any mentors that helped shape a path for you?

Her Aunt Donna, she is the president of a prominent photography and video studio in Appleton, Image Studios. Amanda can always turn to her with personal business questions and watching her success has been very inspiring for her.

Her accountant, Mike Sargent, is another person that’s always there for her. He’s a wealth of business knowledge and someone she can rely on to help her talk through things and give her good advice.

And her mom, Carol. She has really good energy, outgoing and friendly to everyone she meets. She always gives Amanda her best honest answer. She cuts to the facts, but with empathy and a higher perspective.

What would you consider your biggest failure?

She wishes that when she was younger she would have listened to her body more. She was so consumed with the business and too ‘all up in her head’ that she didn’t take enough breaks to take care of her body – which led to anxiety, TMJ, and loss of mobility in her shoulders.

She’s been working with a personal trainer, Tina Johnson, for the past year to correct her posture and gain muscle mass. She also enjoys yoga and just discovered her love of cardio kickboxing. It’s awesome to be passionate about your work but it’s equally important to take care of your physical self.

What are your goals for the future?

Her goals for the future are to continue to find healthy ways to relax and destress. Running a business, being a mom, and wife can be all-consuming. She realizes that life isn’t going to slow down anytime soon so she needs to be consistent about decompressing on a daily basis – even if it’s as simple as closing her eyes for 20 minutes during the day.

Her goal for Brew City Marketing is to continually make it an even better place to work for the employees. Also to keep the digital marketing products and service agile and custom while we grow. That’s the best thing for our clients and that’s what made us a success in the first place. All of our initiatives and goals tie back to that principle.

It was awesome to delve more into the life of our lady boss, Amanda Dalnodar, in honor of International Women’s Day. Read more about the team that makes up Brew City Marketing here!

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