This spring has been a busy and special time for all of us at The DEC. We helped facilitate the 4th Annual TechStars Dallas Startup Week (the most highly attended DSW week yet with more than 6,000 attendees), held the 5th Annual State of Entrepreneurship with nearly 1200 attendees, we hosted Steve Case and his team from The Rise of the Rest Tour and held our first ever Mompreneur Brunch and Learn associated with our #WEDallas women’s entrepreneur series. Last week, on June 12th we celebrated our 5th anniversary of The DEC and launched a new DEC location at The Centrum with our partner from Austin, the Capital Factory. We continue to support, encourage, equip and empower entrepreneurs all across the North Texas region with the hope of helping more entrepreneurs succeed and in helping to build the most collaborative entrepreneurial ecosystem in the country.
A few months ago we announced that I would be stepping into a new role as Executive Chairman of the Board of The DEC and begin our search for our new CEO. After a very thorough process which saw some amazingly qualified candidates, we are happy to announce that our board has hired Alyce Alston as our new CEO.
Alyce comes to us with a stellar background and career to this point. With key roles including CEO of DeBeers Jewelry, Launch Publisher of O Magazine, President of Reader’s Digest Association, CEO of Culture Map, and most recently CEO of Relationships First, Alyce has a prolific set of experiences that makes her the perfect leader to take over the helm of The DEC.
When we began this process we were looking for 3 Key elements in our CEO search for The DEC.
(1) We needed someone who has been an entrepreneur or has worked with entrepreneurs. The best way to support and serve entrepreneurs is by being able to empathize with the plight of an entrepreneur.
(2) We needed someone that has had experience running a non-profit and understanding what it takes to raise money to help build a sustainable 501c3 organization.
(3) We needed a person who could be the face of The DEC and have the ability to be a key advocate, not only for The DEC, but also for the entire DFW entrepreneurial community to key CEOs, executives, local, state and federal governmental officials to help raise the profile and understanding of the entrepreneurial community as a fundamental economic development mechanism for North Texas.
Alyce is extremely well suited to fulfill the role we are looking for and her key attributes that struck us as making this such a strong match was not only her experience and expertise in running businesses, but also her passion to help fulfill the mission and vision of The DEC to help entrepreneurs start, build, and grow businesses. She believes in the importance of creating best of breed programs, events, training, mentorship, access to capital and promotion to help entrepreneurs succeed. Alyce will also bring a level of creativity and vision to help The DEC expand and grow into the future. I am particularly excited that we have found a strong, experienced and talented woman leader to take the lead role for The DEC. More and more businesses are realizing the value that women and diverse leadership bring to an organization. At The DEC, we want to support entrepreneurs of all genders, ages, and ethnicities to be successful and what better way to best exemplify a diverse and inclusive mission than to demonstrate the leadership at the highest levels of leadership in the organization.
As I look back over The DEC’s history to this point, I am proud of what our team has accomplished and how we have helped build the entrepreneurial ecosystem in North Texas. We have seen some amazing entrepreneur support organization launch during this time and we have seen some great successes for entrepreneurs across DFW. The key to what make DFW different for entrepreneurs is the people. Their willingness to help and support each other. Their willingness to give freely of their time, talent, and treasure. Their willingness to help other be successful because they know that when one entrepreneur succeeds, that we all succeed and that ultimately a “rising tide will raise all ships”. The first 5 years have been great, but I am really looking forward to what the next 25 years look like for The DEC and for the DFW entrepreneurial ecosystem.