Debbie and Business


Until Debbie was in first grade she had a stay-at-home mom, but then her mother started teaching dance. Within a year Betty was running her own studio, and Debbie had a close-up view of the dance business.

Because Betty built her Windsor Studio attached to their home, Debbie literally lived at the studio. Debbie also had a front row seat watching her mother create a studio that would become one of the largest in the state, and expand to dance supplies, theatrical supplies, novelties, costumes, and much more.

Debbie literally grew up in the family business.

When Debbie became sixteen she got a job at Arnold’s clothing store in Merle Hay Mall and was introduced to the world of retailing—and selling.

The best salesperson was a woman who told her customers they looked great in every outfit tried on. Debbie wasn't comfortable "hard selling" products that weren't in the customers' best interest just to make a sale.

Years later Debbie learned in her MBA program the difference between marketing (matching the needs and wants of the customer with the offerings of the business to build a long-term mutually successful relationship) and selling (pushing for the sale now, regardless of whether it is what the customer truly needs or wants).

Debbie applies the fundamental difference between marketing and selling in running her studios.

She wants to develop long-term relationships with our dance families, and therefore offers classes and enrolls students in them which create a successful match with the students’ interests and abilities, creating more growth, success, and satisfaction over the long run.

In applying the marketing approach, Debbie recognizes that our dancers and families have some goals in common, yet they also have varying needs and wants in terms of dance styles, difficulty levels, and time available.

Debbie uses her business training to achieve the "optimal solution"--a program that balances opportunities for our students with a reasonable cost and time commitment.  What we end up with is a great value which builds on students love of music and movement and develops their confidence, self-esteem, and friendships.

The summer after Debbie’s freshman year in college, she worked at Look Magazine, sorting address plates after they came back from the printing department.

Within a few weeks she was promoted to the file card room and was put in charge of organizing the entire file room for the remaining of the summer, with full time employees reporting to her.

This experience helped Debbie realize the premium that successful businesses put on original thinking and organizational skills, and that her personal combination of creative and analytical skills were valuable. At the time Look Magazine had the second highest circulation in the nation, so Debbie’s success was a strong confidence builder.

Debbie's next summer job was with General Life Insurance.  At first she was assigned to "pick up the slack" among the permanent workers, but by August the general manager had asked her to create a "how to" manual on the various tasks workers needed to do in the company.  He recognized Debbie's ability to analyze, organize, and articulate information and processes--even as a college sophomore!

Debbie was recruited by Richard Peebler, Dean of the College of Business at Drake University. She received a full fellowship (scholarship) in the MBA program at Drake University, with the hope that she would then teach at Drake after receiving her graduate degree. Debbie graduated first in her class with a 4.0 grade point.

Debbie then taught marketing, retailing, and general business for six years, bringing her education background and creativity to a new demographic of students.

Debbie’s education and experience at Drake gave her the acumen to navigate the business world, but instead of choosing a career as a corporate executive, Debbie returned to her roots, becoming director and owner of our studios and combining her passions for dance and education with her expertise in business.

Since 1985 Debbie has owned and operated our studios, applying her business training and experience to every aspect of our studios.

She's taken graduate law classes, courses in Excel, Access, and Photoshop, and classes in web design.  She's honed her computer skills in editing music using professional quality software, and she records and mixes all of our music for our classes and performances.

Debbie's research skills allow her to search out products and costumes, that keep us at the forefront of technology and change.  All of this effort gives our students and parents a business that is on the cutting edge.

We realize that we are not a major US corporation, but Debbie's aim is to be the most professionally run studio in the nation!

Sound business principles, cutting edge technology, and great customer service are what Debbie believes our customers want--and deserve--and she aims to provide it.

It all comes back to our kids!

Read about Debbie and Leadership.

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