Almost a year after taking the helm at The Dallas Entrepreneur Center (The DEC), it’s time for Alyce Alston to take on the next phase of her personal entrepreneurial journey. Today is Alston’s last day at The DEC as she joins the parent company of Dallas’ eccentric toilet spray maker, Poo~Pourri.
In her new role, Alston will be president of Supernatural, a line of natural cleaning products crafted with Conscious Concentrates, and chief strategist of Scentsible LLC. In a blog post announcing the transition, Alston said she looks back on the past year with pride and appreciation for the North Texas community and its partner organizations.
Executive Chairman Trey Bowles says it’s now his responsibility to step in in the interim. He posted the job description and application today, and anticipates making a hire in the next 60 days.
Interested applicants should send a resume and cover letter to [email protected].
It’s a big role in terms of broad experience, he says. The CEO is the public-facing representative, with overall strategic and operational responsibility for all DEC locations. “The right person is a needle in a haystack, but is out there.”
It’s a unique position, in terms of its needs. The DEC CEO must understand entrepreneurs as well as the inner workings of a nonprofit. The CEO will need to “get gritty” with entrepreneurs and also deal with governments, for example. But one of the biggest attributes needed just might be passion. “When we hired Alyce, she loved the DEC vision. She got it,” Bowles says.
The parting is a positive one, he says. Bowles told Dallas Innovates it was certainly bittersweet, but the move underscores what The DEC is all about: “helping entrepreneurs grow and flourish.”
“That’s one of the fun parts about building a team,” he says. “It’s what we hope happens to people who work at The DEC. Part of what The DEC does is launch people into new opportunities.”
And, there’s an upside, he says: “Now we have another strong advocate for The DEC and the region’s ecosystem in the for-profit community at a high-growth company.”
Looking back on what Alston’s accomplished
When Alston took the reins as CEO last June after Bowles—who helped start The DEC in 2013—stepped down, she quickly embraced the nonprofit’s dedication to helping entrepreneurs start, build, and grow their businesses.
“I also wanted to expand the vision to provide programming and education for later stage startups whether that be building a larger team, raising Series A/B funding or looking to merger and acquisition type strategic growth,” Alston wrote in her post.
And she says she was welcomed with open arms into the collaborative ecosystem—and accomplished what Trey Bowles calls “an amazing amount.”
Alston orchestrated the largest Dallas Startup Week in The DEC’s history in April. Roughly 10,000 attendees and more than 100 industry leaders and volunteers gathered in downtown Dallas to attend the five-day event that connects and unites startups, founders, corporate and social innovators, and investors. It was there that she created the first-ever Corporate Innovation Summit, which united the region’s corporate presence and burgeoning startup ecosystem.
She was instrumental in helping to grow a strong regional team that includes Michelle Williams, executive director of the southern region, and Nancy Hong, director of Addison Treehouse.
It was her drive to lift up the women of the region that allowed her to expand initiatives like the WeDallas series, one of the DEC Network’s signature programs designed to empower female entrepreneurs. There was also the Women of Innovation initiative, which Poo~Pourri’s Suzy Batiz coincidentally spoke at during this year’s Dallas Startup Week.
And, in her vision for early-stage entrepreneurs, Alston spearheaded working with companies at the growth stage, many of which are now Series A. She started the EO speaker series (which helps companies navigate talent, capital, and customers), and found more opportunities to work with corporate partners.
“I am encouraged by the continued growth and maturity of our ecosystem, and I am more certain than ever that DFW is the best place in the country to start, build and grow a company,” she wrote.
And she’s joining a company that’s representative of just that.
Poo~Pourri was founded in Addison in 2007 by spunky serial creator Batiz, and has since become an internationally known name. Batiz launched Supernatural last October as a brand with one of the lowest carbon footprints in the industry—the cleaning products are crafted with an all-natural formula, packaged in recyclable materials, and shipped as just-add-water concentrates.
“My new role at Scentsible, LLC will undoubtedly keep us connected,” Alston said, addressing the entrepreneurial community in her post. “I will continue to champion our region’s innovation hubs, celebrate the collective wins, and create new connections for the network.”
Additional reporting by Quincy Preston.
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