Young: Finding an unexpected home in the social media world
Research has told us that often people become entrepreneurs and join the ranks of the self-employed due to a change in their personal circumstances.
That change can evolve from work, family or simply embracing a period of self-discovery by exercising a passion or intense interest in seeking solutions to a problem or issue in the marketplace.
Today, I want to introduce you to a young woman who found her home as an entrepreneur through family circumstance, and her acceptance of the challenge to make personal change not only her reality but also a reality for hundreds and thousands of people whom she touches with her words and service.
Let’s meet Melonie Dodaro, Top Dog Social Media Diva of the Okanagan, and learn of her journey into the entrepreneurial lifestyle.
I first became aware of Dodaro at a monthly townhall session of the Okanagan Valley Entrepreneurs Society. At that particular meeting, she was one of three speakers each discussing the topic of social media marketing for the small business owner.
I sat at the front with an open mind as, although I am plugged into every social media tool in the land, it’s not something I have pursued as part of my personal or business life. That evening considerably changed my view of social media.
Our zealous moderator, Rae Stonehouse, stormed the conversation with LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and the like that left the audience and myself with raucous laughter, nodding heads and a joyful recognition and acceptance of the realization that social media is here to stay.
For her part, Dodaro offered her experiences as comfortably as one might imagine leading the audience of wisdom seekers to Twitter paradise.
I felt compelled to invite her to be a subject for an upcoming column, and she was more than happy to oblige.
Talking with her over a coffee, I discovered that this social media star was born in Toronto with a sister and parents that operated two restaurants for a number of years in the metro district.
Dodaro was married at a very young age and gave brith to a son.
After becoming a single mother when her son was two years old, she decided to attend college and graduated in business administration in 1992.
(Melonie, you were destined to move mountains from the beginning—I snuck that in because this woman has charisma plus and never, say never is not in her vocabulary.)
Upon completion of her college studies, she began her journey in the corporate world with an Ontario telecommunications company and then a steel manufacturing entity. By 1998, she had already begun her research in potential business opportunities.
Here is where Dodaro’s entrepreneurial zeal really took hold as she became one of the first venturists in Canada in the weight loss industry.
Through the parent company, Herbal Magic, she opened two locations, noting that “the timing and the investment was right for her.”
Although her educational foray didn’t dwell on self employment via an entrepreneurial pursuit, she found herself a quick study.
After successfully building two businesses, she sold them both in 2004 and decided the Okanagan was where she needed to be for her next entrepreneurial pursuit.
After Dodaro’s arrival here, she was diverted with another weight loss corporation and opened three locations to continue tackling her desire to help others with weight and self esteem issues.
After four years of managing these enterprises, she sold them in 2008.
A short time later while attending a business seminar, she met Bob Proctor, star of the blockbuster video The Secret, and a notable speaker and author on the philosophy of the mind.
What Proctor had to say prompted Dodaro toward the realization that weight loss wasn’t merely about what we should or should not eat, but also how to lead a more positive lifestyle
Working with Proctor and following up on his writings and program, she decided to write a book and developed a program with Proctor in 2008. Then in 2009, she authored a couple of books of her own—The MindBody FX Lifestyle and 28-Day Fat Blast.
It was while promoting her books that she discovered and fell in love with the world of social media, which has since transformed her into one of Canada’s most sought after social media strategists.
In early 2011, Dodaro started her social media marketing company, Top Dog Social Media, to help businesses and service professionals use social media marketing to increase their profits and visibility.
She is currently working on her next book, called The Social Marketing Profit Formula, which is scheduled for release later this fall.
Top Dog Social Media has become a premier Kelowna social media marketing company, utilizing 21st century networking platforms, collaborative strategies and expertise to assist service professionals, entrepreneurs and small businesses to increase their visibility, competitive edge and potential revenue.
Her journey from weight loss champion to social media evangelist has not gone unnoticed as she is in demand across this nation and the U.S. as well.
I would highly recommend that you check out her website at www.TopDogSocialMedia.com and learn of her diversity. Her books are pretty amazing for weight control as well.
A welcome addition to our Okanagan entrepreneurial landscape, Melonie Dodaro has also joined our Okanagan Valley Entrepreneurs Society as vice-chair of social media relations.
Joel Young is an entrepreneurial leadership educator, coach and consultant and founder of the Okanagan Valley Entrepreneurs Society.