Dawn Myers has over 25 years of human resources expertise in the hotel and non-profit industries. Her genuine character and openness about her mental health struggles, accomplishments, and failures have made her a thought leader and in-demand consultant.
Tell us about your childhood and where you grew up?
I was the middle daughter (of five) and grew up on the other side of a dairy farm in Lemon Grove, CA.
How did you get started as an entrepreneur?
I grew up in a family that was in survival mode and was never encouraged to further my education. I knew I needed to work and that is what I did. After years of doing so for a large non-profit organization, I found myself burnout and I looked to find a career I could be passionate about and help improve the lives of others. That led me to take a temporary position in human resources at a run-down hotel, but hey it got my foot in the door to the world of hospitality. Little did I know that one decision would change the trajectory of my life. I was kept on at that dumpy hotel until decided to close for an extensive renovation project. At that time, my main concern was helping our employees find new homes. So, I taught them how to write a resume, interview, and then hosted job fairs with neighboring hotels. I assumed I would be the 137th employee laid off, but that wasn’t the case at all. They asked me to join their executive team as Director of Human Resources and open the new hotel (Marriott). It was absolutely surreal. From there, doors began to open, I was elected president of the Hospitality Human Resources Association and was offered an Adjunct Instructor position for the HR Certificate program and San Diego State University Global Campus, where I continue to teach. After 18 years in hospitality, I became a Strategic Human Resource Consultant for a Professional Employer Organization. It was there that I met my (now) business partner. We both wanted to help small businesses thrive, but were frustrated by our inability to provide our clients with what they needed, due to the limitations imposed on us. It was out of that passion and disappointment that Guided Leadership Solutions was born – a Human Resource Consulting Firm specializing in reducing employer risk and improving the workplace of professional service organizations. If you would have asked 20 years ago if I ever believed I would own a company, I would have said that was impossible. But, look what can happen when you put in the work hard and pursue your passion. It has truly been a Cinderella story.
What is one business lesson you would tell a startup founder?
Start messy, if you wait for perfection you will never get going. Put yourself and your business out there and learn from trial and error.