Dallin Cooper Headshot
Alumni Spotlight

Dallin Cooper

Keynote Speaker | Author

Interviewed by Sena Krula

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Can you please share with us a little about your background and what inspired you study at UW?

I grew up in Riverton, WY. My parents were very much serial entrepreneurs, but one of the consistent threads that carried through my childhood was that we owned a lot of sheep. Sometimes that meant 30 sheep, sometimes 300+. But whether it was sheep or any of the other businesses they started, I was exposed to the entrepreneurial life at a very young age. I went to the University of Wyoming simply because I was offered a great scholarship. I’m very frugal, so that was really all it took for me.

I graduated in 2018 with dual bachelor’s in Management and Marketing, as well as a minor in Chinese. For me, the greatest value in my education came from my professors. I didn’t fit into a lot of the normal boxes when it came to career goals, but my professors were able to help me with my specific challenges and make connections that have proven invaluable. I’m still in contact with many of them and count them as sincere friends.

Those relationships are my greatest connections to the university as an alum, though I’ve recently interacted more with the career services as I’m looking to hire someone with an interest in marketing.

Dallin with son Photo of Dallin
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What advice would you give to young professionals who are looking for jobs in Wyoming?

Learn to love learning. I’m currently looking to hire someone that I hope to train to replace me. I know that I won’t find many people in Wyoming with the skillset I need, and I’m okay with that. I can teach skills. What I can’t teach is a desire to keep learning. If I have an employee that wants to understand the industry and grow in their capacity, I can get them there. But the world is constantly changing, and if you don’t love learning, it’s easy to get left behind.

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What does a day in your life as an entrepreneur look like?

Currently my 8-5 looks very normal. I sold my marketing agency in 2020, but still work there as part of a phased transition, so I work a very normal job directing a digital marketing agency. I manage projects, communicate with clients, do some sales, etc. But my lunches, evenings, and weekends are always filled with some new project. At one point it was a dog chew company, but I sold that just 6 months after I started it. Now the big project is building my speaking and consulting business, with a focus on leadership and ethics training.

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What are some of your favorite things about Wyoming? Why did you decide to stay in state?

I like small towns. I lived in Phoenix for a while and spent some time in Harbin, China for my minor, and those experiences quickly made me realize that I am not a city dweller. That makes Wyoming a great place. My wife and I both have family here, the taxes are reasonable, the cost of living is relatively low, and there are plenty of towns that fit our preferred size. I don’t know if there’s anywhere else I would live, except maybe Alaska if I wanted to just try something completely different.

Photo of Dallin Photo of Dallin
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The College of Business is part of the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative Collegiate Program. Does your organization have a code of ethics or a set of guiding principles that it uses for decision-making – and if so, can you share it with us?

“My organization” gets a little bit fuzzy now that I’ve sold it, but generally speaking yes. County 10 is now the parent company, and it has several codes it follows, including the SPJ Journalistic Code of Ethics, and some general guidelines for marketing which focus primarily on transparency and honesty in communication.

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Our ethics class has also adopted the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative principles as their classroom code of conduct and are working to integrate the principles into their classroom culture. Tell me a little about the culture of your organization and how you go about developing a culture of “doing the right thing”.

There’s a lot of accountability in our organization, which is helpful for developing a culture of doing the right thing. Our teams act as checks and balances to each other. Granted, because County 10 is so well known in the community and provides the news, we also have plenty of public comment telling us how to do the right thing as well. Sometimes those public comments are right, and we make efforts to do better!

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Bill Daniels was the founder of the Daniels Fund. Mr. Daniels believed integrity and an unwavering commitment to ethical behavior provided "the ultimate business advantage." Do you think he was right?

Definitely. Digital marketing is one of the shadiest industries out there. I get multiple scam calls for it every day. But we’ve had clients that have been loyal customers for years because they know that we have their best interests at heart and that we’ll do what’s right for their business. Most of our clients have competitors trying to poach them every month, but they don’t leave because they know they can trust us. That’s huge, and it only comes from being committed to ethical behavior.

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How do you encourage ethical behavior among your colleagues/those around you?

The fact that I’m writing books, recording podcasts, designing board games, and giving keynotes about ethics generally helps! Having a colleague that works in the ethics industry tends to raise awareness of ethics, which is honestly one of the biggest issues. Most people who do unethical things aren’t doing so maliciously. They often just don’t think it through very well and awareness helps with that.

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On those occasions when integrity issues do arise, how do you hold others accountable?

We honestly haven’t had many integrity issues. We do the accountability before the issues by having teams coordinate with each other, so there isn’t much that gets sent out the door that hasn’t been looked over by at least two parties, which usually catches problems before they happen.

Obviously mistakes happen. But usually it’s a case where there just needs to be an apology and a promise to do better in the future.

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What ethical dilemmas have you run into while working in various industries?

The most common one is easily the opportunity to sell services that the customer doesn’t need and that wouldn’t benefit them. Because many business owners in Wyoming don’t have a great grasp of digital marketing, there are a lot of opportunities to spit out some fancy jargon and tell them they need to buy a bunch of stuff that they actually don’t.

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Regarding your community, how do you give back and why is making a difference important to you?

We have a whole program dedicated to giving back to the community! It’s called Activate 10, and it involves various activities to help those in need in Fremont County. Whether it’s helping with meals and gifts around Thanksgiving and Christmas or running a fundraiser for transitional housing, we’ve worked with a lot of different partners to try to give back.

We rely entirely on the community to support our business, so it’s important that in return the business supports the community.

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In closing, is there a final piece of advice you would like to share with Wyoming business alumni?

Everything comes back to people. You’ll have opportunities based on the people you know and how you treat them. When in doubt, get out there, talk to new people, and show that you genuinely care about them. Across three very different businesses and professions, that is the one thing that has made the biggest difference in their success.

To learn more about the Ethics Initiatives at UW