“Career Diaries” is a new column from Step Up Magazine where we feature established professionals on what it’s like--and what it takes--to enter their field. Today we are excited to learn from Dex Curi.
Dex Curi is the Founder, President, and CEO of Curi Consultants, LLC. He makes major corporate decisions and manages all of the resources and operations for the company. He is also the main point of communication between the board of directors and corporate operations. Dex is a very accomplished individual, being presented with an award of Academic Achievement in Speech from Northern Virginia Community College in 2006. In 2010, Dex received a Bachelor's degree in psychology from George Mason University. Post-graduation, Dex appeared on the NASA website, training prospective NASA employees to have successful interviews, and he also taught related skills to prospective United States government employees. His close work with international students prepared them for their Visa F-1 interviews, allowing them to study in the United States. Dex has taught many different subjects to all age ranges, including English, science, and the psychology of communication, to name a few. Finally, Dex is a published screenwriter and editor of the Spiral Spirit script in the book Metaphysical Short Stories. Dex is clearly a well-rounded entrepreneur, and we are delighted to have him as a guest this week.
How did you get into consulting? What inspired you to become your own CEO?
I felt it was the right time to share the fruits of my life’s experiences with my private clients. I teach them how to implement meaningful changes in their daily lives and use powerful lessons from my own journey to reduce their overall ignorance and suffering. My mentorship program guides, protects, and sustains my clients in their quest for self-actualization.
I made a decision to take on a wider responsibility with my acquired skills, giving up teaching for a position of leadership and service within my consulting firm. Now, as a mentor to both my consultants and our clients, my role has expanded to president and CEO.
What exactly does your consulting work entail?
Consulting work requires frequent travel, making connections (both internally at the firm and externally with the clients), and constant convincing that one is an indispensable asset to a project. We act as resources and facilitators for such undertakings.
Consultants are sources of deep change for people. That is why our logo is a phoenix being consumed by fire. Consultants are the catalysts for the transformational process that occurs within an individual or group of individuals.
What does an average day look like for you?
My day is mostly filled with meetings, phone calls, and writing emails. I am usually engaged in negotiating contracts or filling out necessary paperwork for the firm. Additionally, I always make sure to exercise, eat well, meditate, and stay connected to family.
Is there any overlap between your teaching, tutoring, and consulting work?
Education, plus experiential knowledge obtained from teaching, expands competency in tutoring, and this knowledge is reflected in my consulting work.
How do you think your work as an elementary school and middle school teacher has influenced other parts of your career?
This work has made me realize that, while a utopian school doesn’t exist, transparent, honest, and direct communication inside and outside an organization is needed to avoid making errors that everyone would have to pay for later on.
What's the best career advice you've ever received?
The last word my greatest mentor, quantum physicist Dr. Joseph C. Lisiewski, told me was “Work!”
What's some career advice you would have for entrepreneurs looking to start their own businesses?
If you’re the kind of person that likes to follow rules and procedures like a soldier, you will likely have trouble engaging in the creative process of starting your own business. Entrepreneurs are artists and they are always open to new ideas and suggestions. I’ve learned that there is no specific formula that can be used to develop a new company. Businesses understand that rules sometimes need to be broken in order to move to a higher level of analysis. It is very different within a rule-governed structure.
Next, not only is a higher IQ is necessary for managerial positions and complex jobs, but conscientiousness is a great predictor of performance. When you develop a business, you most likely understand the field completely. However, you still must continue to work with your team to answer the next micro-question that should be explained. This continual generation of knowledge advances one’s field. A creative presence in your business can help save a company from going in the wrong direction. There is no doubt that creativity can really help change the face of a company for the better.
So, if you want to create a successful product, you need a combination of creativity, a diverse network of individuals with various skills, and a product that is in high demand. In the meantime, if you want to engage in a creative pursuit, find work that will generate an income first, as monetizing creative production is difficult.
Are there any roadblocks you have overcome in your career?
At times, my lack of discipline has been a major roadblock, though I now hold myself to much higher standards.
Are there any specific kinds of consulting (creative, academic, etc.) that your business specializes in? Are there any that you're particularly passionate about?
Curi Consultants is interested in strategy, management, and operation consulting. However, because of my experiences, I am personally interested in educational consulting.
What is next for you and your company, Curi Consultants? Do you have any big projects in the works?
Yes! We are starting an exciting literacy program that includes the essentials for being able to read, comprehend, discuss, and write about stories. The course will equip a student with the necessary tools to write their own stories too! The program is divided into three parts: guidelines and principles of a story, dialogue, and the journey of the archetypal hero found in world mythologies.
All writing submissions will be evaluated for content and grammar. The student will meet with his or her teacher for 2-3 hours per week until they complete the 45-48 hour course. Each student will be required to take at least 3 hours of reading comprehension skills throughout the course, but they may opt to take more. The program is simplified depending on a student's grade in school, as well as their level of English proficiency.
Our overarching goal is for literacy rates to rise in the United States. Students enrolled in our program will not only want to read more books, but they will do better in school because they will actually understand more concepts and think critically about what they are reading. Furthermore, they will have the confidence to comfortably write about what they read. Additionally, they will be prepared to read advanced articles, journals, textbooks, and novels by the time they graduate from high school in preparation for college work.
Research indicates that higher literacy rates have been known to enrich lives by giving people the necessary skills to eventually provide for themselves and their families. These literacy rates also impact economic growth beyond the local community, as they also enhance a country’s economic strength. Lastly, high literacy rates allow people to communicate effectively with others, increasing social connections.
Aaron Royce, 20, is a student and journalist with writing experience for print and online publications. His journalism interest began when he started reading back issues of Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone and Vogue before entering high school; he was a co-editor for the school’s newspaper and arts magazine. Post-graduation, he attended Christopher Newport University before transferring to NOVA’s Annandale campus, where he is currently a sophomore pursuing a Communications major. He recently completed a summer as Northern Virginia Magazine’s style intern, and now writes for online publications and interns with ArtJamz Creative Director, RMCI Senior Designer and fashion blogger Anchyi Wei.