Women Business Owners Series: Denita R. Conway, President and CEO of PROVEN Management
Meet Denita R. Conway, President and CEO of PROVEN Management. As part of our series on Women Business Owners, we sat down with Denita to learn more about why she started her business, how she prioritizes her employee’s well-being and advice to other women who are looking to start their own businesses.
What prompted you to start PROVEN Management after a successful career in corporate marketing?
Denita: As I was growing in my career, I was thinking more about becoming an executive rather than owning my own business. Then, I suddenly lost employment and had a wonderful opportunity to become a consultant in the same field. Three years later, I received an opportunity to hire people for my consulting business. In 2011, I went from 1 to 6 people and kept scaling upward—and now I have over 96 employees!
PROVEN Management offers a range of services. Can you tell us more about the types of services you provide?
Denita: We offer concierge services for businesses that include Owner’s Representation, Space Planning, Interior Design, Transition (Move) Planning & Management, and Furniture Procurement. We assist our clients nationally to understand and define their requirements and figure out how to meet their needs.
For example, we can do everything from identifying needs, designing the space, hiring construction managers, overseeing the build process, moving furniture and any other facility-related services.
Client service is clearly a core part of the business. How do you ensure that clients receive top-notch service and are satisfied with your solutions?
Denita: Our company culture is based on client service. Serving customers is what our employees sign up to do whether they are an architect, designer, project manager, or facility coordinator. Everything else regarding client service is taught and we have our own processes to ensure everything meets expectations. This means double and triple checks. Everyone is involved and engaged, and no person runs solo. The end result is happy clients.
Speaking of employee engagement, how do you make sure all your employees – including those placed in client locations – are engaged and feel valued?
Denita: People want to know that you care. I make sure my employees know that I want to hear from them. If they are tapped out in their current role, let us know and we’ll move you into another area of the business. We treat it like a buffet, and you can get involved in areas you are interested in. We do not hire people for jobs—we hire those who want careers.
Like many service-oriented businesses, we are at the beck and call of clients so maintaining work-life balance is critical. This means we must take care of our employees’ mental health, like making sure they take vacations, having a gym onsite, areas with a lot of sunlight and a rooftop space. We care about our team and offer benefits like EAP programs and mental/financial health education.
PROVEN Management is obviously a mission-driven company. The concept of giving back to the community is very clear. How does social responsibility factor into your business?
Denita: Good corporate citizenship and giving back is a vital part of PROVEN’s culture. Each member of our leadership team donates at least 32 hours of community service to a non-profit organization of their choice. PROVEN encourages all our employees to give back to the community. Our goal is to give our time and talent to “improve what we can, where we can, as much as we can.”
Let’s talk about PROVEN Management’s approach to diversity. In what ways are you ensuring that diversity is a part of your company?
Denita: The PROVEN team recognizes the differences among us as both an asset and a source of strength. We believe that excellent work performance comes from the expertise and experience of professionals with diverse backgrounds and complementary goals. Our partnerships know no racial, ethnic, gender, religious, sexual orientation, organizational or cultural boundaries. PROVEN has a wide variety of personnel with varied backgrounds, perspectives, and life experiences and together, we make the PROVEN team.
What is your favorite part of being an entrepreneur? What’s the most challenging part?
Denita: My favorite part—all of it! It is such an immense feeling knowing that I am contributing to others every day be it a client or an employee. I wish I could say one thing, but I wake up every day ready to take on what comes my way because I have chosen to be an entrepreneur and have become ok at it.
The most challenging part is three parts for me, being comfortable with taking risks, having to be three-dimensional so I do not miss anything and finally, I am an overachiever so not having a work-life balance while I regularly promote it for others.
What advice do you have for women who are thinking about starting their own businesses?
Denita: You must be 100% committed to the people, processes, and time that it takes to start and maintain your business, it is ok to make mistakes after all failure is a definition of success and get a trusted team, people you can trust and depend on. Lastly, have fun. Everything has challenges and fears, so you must make sure you enjoy it—it can be so rewarding.
What are your plans for PROVEN Management in the future?
Denita: I am a serial entrepreneur, so I am sure it is something but for now, I am done making plans. I want to allow the company environment to guide my path. I want to lean on what makes me feel good. At this point, my employees are guiding the direction and telling me what they want to do. I focus on building an environment where they want to work and succeed and let them create what they want.
Visit the PROVEN Management website to learn more about them and their services.
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