For entrepreneurs and business owners, the work of a new venture begins long before the “Open” sign is placed outside or the new website is unveiled to the public. The new venture begins in the entrepreneurs mind and a vision for what they hope to achieve. For Joey Darley, the owner of Joey's Smiles and Scene2bSeen, his first annual Dancing with the CEOs event was years in the making.
For Joey and his business manager Annie Darley, the event was an opportunity to do something unique and raise money for a worthwhile cause. The team put a unique twist on the popular Dancing with the Stars show to instead invite entrepreneurs and professionals to perform. What started out with just a vision and an idea eventually became Dancing 4 a Cause. Jaicin Lowe said the team worked tirelessly for close to a year planning for the event that brought together 22 professionals and CEOs together with sponsors in front of a packed room to the National Conference Center in Leesburg, Virginia for the sake of bringing awareness for Childhood Cancer.
There are some startling statistics about Childhood Cancer that many aren't aware of:
- Just in 2014, it is estimated that over 15,000 children and adolescents (ages 0-19) in the United States will be diagnosed with cancer and 1,900 will die from the disease.
- Cancer also kills more children than any other disease in the United States.
- Childhood cancer is the leading cause of disease-related death among children and adolescents (ages 1-19) in the US
“@shannon1connors: Americans spend 20x more money on potato chips than they do childhood cancer…”
— DMV CEO (@DMVCEO) September 21, 2014
These are just some of these statistics and which fueled Joey and his team to take time out of their busy schedules to do something to raise awareness. In addition to the dance competition, non-profit organizations–Smashing Walnuts, StillBrave.org, Loudon Therapeutic Riding, Special Love and Bite Me Cancer had the opportunity speak about their organizations and how they are trying to battle cancer and raise awareness. The money that was donated during the evening went to each of the 5 non-profit organizations.
After each dance couple wowed the audience with dances including the tango, swing, cha cha cha, and even the hustle, the judges eventually picked their top 5 couples to move to the final round. Cecilia Ugarte, the organizer for the event explained that the entrepreneurs and business professionals had practiced for months prior to the event with Dance teachers. After one final performance from each of the top 5 contestants, the judges crowed Gale Paige, the CEO of Complete Professional Connections and Mike Bresnahan, Licensed Allstate Sales Producer and Marketing Director of BLK Digital Media the winners of the event.
At the conclusion, Joey spoke about the long road to having what started out as just an idea and eventually blossomed into s successful event. He charged the audience to not just listen but to take action to raise awareness about childhood cancer and that there will be more causes that they will be dancing for in the future.