Andy Boian is celebrating the 10th anniversary of founding his PR firm, dovetail solutions, and he appears to be just as excited and ready for the next 10 years!
Aside from being one of the kindest and most genuinely likeable people you could meet, he has established himself as a sought-after voice and respected expert for businesses who want to integrate their products and brand with that of the community. Boian embraces his strategic vision with a mission of: “community, partnership & integrity.”
Andy Boian still draws on his experiences when he was a young person growing up in Denver learning the fundamentals of success: hard work, determination, and fortitude; and he has used those values throughout his multi-faceted career.
A Denver native and a “Saint Joseph’s Hospital baby” born in 1972, Andy was a member of the last Regis Jesuit High School class to graduate from the North Denver campus. As well as his class was the last all boys class at Regis. His dad’s family was originally from Dayton, Ohio and grew up in the Washington Park area. His mom’s family originated from the home of Abraham Lincoln – Springfield, Illinois, and she grew up in Arvada, Colorado. Andy’s sister, Wendy Felese, is the founder/owner of the popular Cherry Tomato Restaurant which opened in 1997 in the Park Hill neighborhood.
Andy says: "I love to listen, learn, engage and share the philosophy of giving back just like people did for me."
And I love what "Have You Met" and a member of the dovetail solutions team, Keri Christiansen, had to say about Andy Boian; it sums him up pretty well: "Andy is so genuine - just a good human being. At dovetail solutions, people are happy and respectful of one another. Andy really steps up as the leader of the company and always makes you feel like you are part of the team. Andy has created a nice work environment for everyone, and his employees adore him, and his clients think the world of him! Everyone wants to contribute to the success of dovetail. He's a rare individual, kind and a true gentleman... He's the real deal! To see him interact with his kids.. he is just gentle and devoted to them. He will continue to be very successful because of his wonderful qualities. He has been involved in politics; knows where he stands, but he has strong relationships on both sides. People can have different viewpoints around him, and he is still respectful. He likes to hear both sides. He is all about community and giving back. He encourages everyone in our community to learn about one another."
Andy Boian is grateful for what our community and vibrant city have given him. It allows him to raise his kids in a wonderful environment. He sincerely cares for others and has been referred to as a "natural connector." Everyone is deserving of respect and opportunities in Andy's eyes, and with his many talents, he zeroes in on what he does best, and that's "bringing people together."
Tell us about how you started dovetail solutions? I went to several folks that I revere and told them I have this concept and vision for a public relations firm and told them their feedback and opinions would mean a great deal to me. There was no fiduciary responsibility for them, and even though they had no reason to give me the time of day, they were willing to act as advisors, and allow me to come to them when I needed to with questions and concerns. They were a tremendous asset to me, and because of them, I owe back to the community the mentorship I was given. I go talk to classes whenever I am asked, and I am happy to help people when they come to me for help. Some of these people like Bill Mosher would say, "I understand what you are trying to do here, and here are some of the things you want to think about as you begin." Rob Cohen (now my board chair) was another great resource. Chris Chavez, Rebecca Saltman, they were so valuable to me. They helped give me a start and put together a plan for how my vision could stand out from the rest.
What does your firm specialize in? We are in the business of building relationships among the business, the nonprofit/philanthropic and government/political communities for the long-term, mutually beneficial health of each. Without question, the team that we have assembled over the years has made the biggest difference in both how we provide client service and how the client feels when interacting with our group. We have been intentional, also, about whom we serve, and the quality of clients that we have had has led to our success as well.
Why did you name your company dovetail solutions; and why is it spelled with all lower-case letters? It's about the concept of harmoniously dovetailing business and philanthropy, as well as government, to come together for common goals. It's like the corner of carpentry: each part of the corner is reinforced. It’s a process similar to a tail of a dove where the feathers lay on top of each other to form a stronger bond, linking together to make a stronger community; There's an opportunity for clients and community to come together, and both are served well.
We chose lower-case because that’s the way we want to be and present ourselves - not showy, but more discreet and professional in a way that personifies our interests, creativity and agility. The unique nature of how we adapt to opportunity is not big and bulky, it's thought-out and well-meaning.
Andy, you are remarkably active in the Denver community; tell us some of the organizations you are or have been involved with. I've served as a member of the Denver Botanic Gardens board, The Kempe Foundation board, Urban League Board of Directors, Chairman of the Denver Future Forum, a Corporate Committee Member of The Children’s Hospital, Joy House - a shelter for abused women, Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), Junior Achievement, teaching "Ethics" in the classrooms, and the Public Policy Committee for the Denver Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
You were the Chairman of the Board of the Kempe Foundation, what did you learn from that experience? I had a front seat, as did all of the board, to the efficacy and importance of the Kempe Center and, more broadly, the epidemic of child abuse in Colorado. I learned the importance and value of listening to parents in dire situations and helped advocate for the children in those situations. The treatment, prevention and advocacy of child abuse and neglect is my passion and has been for more than a decade, and serving such a fine organization in numerous capacities was unbelievably self-fulfilling. Hopefully, I did some good, too.
What is something people don’t know about Andy Boian? I’m actually an introvert. I find peace and happiness living between my professional career and my life as a single dad. Only my close friends know the depth to which I love my children and treasure fatherhood. Also, I co-founded a foundation called ExecConnect that connects senior executives to their community to give back in a meaningful, concerted way to maximize impact.
Tell us more about your foundation - ExecConnect. ExecConnect is a 501 c3 where senior executives in the community help solve some of the largest problems in the community. We are helping three underserved neighborhoods, the Globeville, Elyria and Swansea communities, raise $50 million dollars. Our "C" level execs want to give back to the community. We have a very driven agenda - with tangible results. Our group consists of bank professionals, service firms and elected officials who want to give of their time to make a difference. For more information on the various projects we are involved in, please go to ExecConnect.gov.
Your boys are adorable; how did becoming a father change you? It was the most prolific change I’ve ever experienced and probably ever will. The boys have the grace and class of their mom and a healthy part of me, too. Being a father has taught me what true love really is and has given me the lesson of knowing what’s most important in life, by far. It’s taught me humility. It’s taught me that this world is much bigger than I thought or envisioned. And it’s taught me how to truly embrace adoration.
I think you are one of the kindest coolest guys around; Describe yourself? Thank you for saying that. Being kind is maybe the first thing my mother taught me, and to have that word used to describe me is the highest form of flattery. I am a flawed, hopeful, self-reflective person who seeks the knowledge and understanding of how to improve myself. I believe in service to and gentleness toward those in my community and with whom I interact. And Nancy, I think you’re pretty kind yourself. It takes one to know one.
What do you think the world needs more of right now? This world needs more compassion, more respect for one another and our environment, fewer fists up and more hands out. Perhaps we could, as a species, approach each other with more optimism and less skepticism. And the world also needs more of those candied cashews that they sell at Target, because they’re always out when I go.
What does Denver need more of? Denver needs more affordable for-sale housing. It needs to better assimilate with its unique and valuable attributes in order to promote healthy, well-balanced lifestyles that co-exist with a local economy that’s the envy of others.
What are you most thankful for? I’m thankful for my close relationship with my family, including my children, for my shortcomings to be accepted and forgiven and for the chance to keep trying every day.
What do you consider your greatest accomplishment since starting dovetail? I would say it's the quality of people that are associated with this firm, both colleagues and clients, and our ability to break out from traditional public relations work and extend our unique vision of strategic community investment and relationship building as a means of achieving numerous goals simultaneously. I also feel gratified by the fact that our foundation, ExecConnect, has done so well since beginning in 2008 to make an impact in this community. Personally, I’m a proud “dadda.”
Can you share some future plans with us… for the company? For Andy Boian? 5 years from now – 10 years from now? The firm will expand its portfolio of services to include a comprehensive marketing platform to clients. I’m going to work to be in better shape and continue the process of becoming a better colleague and friend.
What do you, Andy Boian (not dovetail solutions), believe you owe our community? I owe this community, the one I have grown up in, the one I love and consider mine, my best efforts to work hard in service to others while being active in the building of an all-inclusive, empowering, close-knit community that thrives even through hard times.