Kevin L. Daisey
35, Founder/CMO of Array Digital
How do you see your generation (millennials)? How do you think older generations define millennials?
Like others before us, our generation will face many challenges, but we are very capable of overcoming anything you can throw at us. We are a generation of thinkers, innovators, leaders and entrepreneurs. We don’t want to work just to work. We want fulfilling and meaningful careers. We don’t just settle for normal. Our generation will be the next in charge—in charge of the workplace, our towns, our cities and our country. I believe that our generation will step up and take on the tasks at hand.
Older generations look at millennials as lazy, bored, job-hoppers—attached to our phones as we walk to grab an iced coffee during office hours, and way under dressed. Well, I think they have it all wrong. Challenge accepted.
In what ways does having younger employees add to a company’s success?
Without including myself, our younger staff makes up most of our team. I started my first business when I was only 23. I had so much passion, drive, eagerness to learn and grow. I see the same in our young staff. We have made great investments in them as employees, and it has paid off for both our company and our clients. As my company, Array Digital, continues to change and innovate, we need more young people with fresh ideas to help us grow.
Is there anything that you would change about your generation as a whole? If so, what?
No. We have been labeled as lazy, entitled and narcissistic, but we are too young to be labeled as failures. As more of us rise as leaders in our communities, our previous labels will be replaced with a new label (and what my kids already call me: old).
What do you look for in a job/company?
If I were looking for a career, I would look for a company with an open mind—one that embraces change, has set goals and core values that I believe in. I would want to know that I was on a journey to take that company to award-winning moments and ground-breaking successes. I would want to know that they were active in their community and give back where they can. We work hard to instill these values in our company every day.
What kinds of digital platforms do you feel you have benefited from in your career?
At Array Digital, we develop and design digital products for national brands. So, I am very immersed in digital platforms and using technology in my career. Social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn have played a huge role in my success over the years. Building an online presence and a social media following is essential these days for anyone who plans to set their mark in the world.
In addition to social media, we benefit from many cloud-based platforms that help streamline our efforts and create new efficiencies. To name a few common ones— QuickBooks, Zapier, Freshsales, Slack, Google’s G-Suite, and GitHub—make our lives much easier at my company every day.
What do you feel are some of the biggest perks of living in Coastal Virginia? What changes do you think the region should implement to continue to be a draw for millennials?
I was born and raised in Chincoteague Island. I moved to Virginia Beach when I was 18 to start college and have lived here ever since. I absolutely love Coastal Virginia!
We have too many perks to try to list them all, but I will name a few that I appreciate most. The bay, the ocean, surfing, fishing, great food, amazing venues and the new transatlantic cables that will transform this area into the bandwidth capital of the East Coast. Everything you need to attract big companies, accessible funding and the entrepreneurial spirit is located right here. And it’s all here for the taking for those that have ambition and drive.
I think that the community leaders—business owners, city officials and others interested in advancing the area—need to work more closely together toward regionally focused goals. STEM should be a larger focus in our schools, and communities of interest should continue to add programs that encourage entrepreneurship. Roadway issues and easy access to our cities can be debated, but improvements seem to be underway.
We should not wait for elected officials to proclaim that these initiatives are important and will be funded. Our local community leaders already have the tools and ambition needed to initiate these goals. Don’t sit around and wait for opportunity to come to you. Go out there and make it happen!
Tell us about some of your favorite ways to do worthwhile networking.
I love to get out and talk with people! Some of the best networking events I attend include the Entrepreneurs Organization, Hatch, 1 Million Cups, Hampton Roads Innovation Collaborative, unWINEd, Ynot Wednesdays, CBDA and the Town Center City Club. We also like to welcome groups into our office for socials and learning events. We have recently hosted ODU’s unWINEd, the WordPress Developer Meetup and are own digital marketing training events.
How are you contributing to life/community outside of the workplace?
I believe wholeheartedly in giving back. I participate as a member on several local boards in Hampton Roads and work to help a couple of charities that I am very passionate about. As a father of two young children, I am involved in two charities specifically geared toward helping children. The first is Roc Solid Foundation, which helps to bring happiness to kids battling cancer by renovating their room or building them a playground. The second charity I helped build is ChangeNote.org—a new web-based charity that pairs the creativity of musical artists with compelling stories through viral fundraising campaigns.
I also participated in the Protecting Children Foundation for over 6 years. They train teachers, community service workers and other leaders in our community to spot and deal with child abuse.
What advice would you offer to other millennials or recent graduates about getting their careers to take off?
Overcome the stereotypes about millennials by being the exception. Nothing has ever been given to me. It takes hard work every day. In order to get where you want to be in life, you need to work hard, show up on time, contribute and listen. Disconnect from your phone and engage when meeting with people. Most important, do what you love. All of the advice I can give is easy if you are doing something you love.