RiseSmart, the firm Dan Davenport ’96 helped co-found in 2007, helps companies transition laid-off workers to new jobs.
by Douglas Lucas '08
Dan Davenport ’96 is senior vice president for global operations at RiseSmart, the outplacement firm he co-founded in 2007 which helps connect laid-off workers to new jobs.
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by Douglas Lucas '08
Dan Davenport ’96 has taken problem solving from the Neeley School of Business classrooms to some of America’s top companies.
He is senior vice president for global operations at RiseSmart, the outplacement firm he co-founded in 2007. RiseSmart has worked with about 30 Fortune 1,000 companies, more than 150 companies total and in a variety of sectors, such as healthcare, technology and financial services.
RiseSmart helps companies transition their laid-off workers to new jobs. If they are not cared for or cannot find work, companies risk higher unemployment taxes, damage to their reputations and legal troubles. RiseSmart solves the problem by getting laid-off workers into new jobs quickly. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average duration of unemployment in June was about 250 days. The average for a worker RiseSmart helps is just under 100.
Davenport accounts for RiseSmart’s success by pointing to the firm’s use of new job placement as their metric for success, rather than merely transitioning people out and sending them in the right direction. He also points to RiseSmart’s online platform. While many outplacement firms are still thinking in brick-and-mortar terms, RiseSmart’s online approach allows the firm to personalize assistance to large numbers of workers in ways that are up to date with new media and social networking.
RiseSmart’s mission is an inspiring one. “We all know people who have been impacted by a layoff, given the unprecedented layoffs in ’08 and ’09 and even now,” he says. “One of the biggest negatives that can happen in life is losing your job. People come to us at a really low point in their lives, and we provide tools, provide guidance, and we really have the opportunity to turn things around for them. That has attracted a lot of people who want to work with us, because we are doing something good for people, literally for thousands of people a year. We are building an important company and a valuable asset, and at the same time we’re doing something good for the world. That is gratifying for me and for the people who work here.”
Davenport says case study-based work at Neeley helped prepare him for the real world. “It was important to learn how to work through those problems, evaluate situations and make calls,” he says. “I look back at TCU fondly from that perspective.”
Building his young company continues to present him with fresh challenges. “Nothing completely arms you with what you need at a startup,” he says. “It’s a baptism by fire.”
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