By Janine S. Creager
October 15, 2009
Dell Brown knows a lot about making dough. As president and chief operating officer of MonaVie, Brown has overseen incredible growth and success at the South Jordan-based company. But the dough he really loves to get his hands into is in the kitchen.
Brown recalls a time when he shared a loaf of his homemade bread with a neighbor who was so impressed that she turned to compliment Brown’s wife who pointed at him and said, “I didn’t make it, he did.” The neighbor then said, “I didn’t know you had a bread machine,” to which Brown replied, “I am the bread machine.
“I’m a cook and love to bake bread,” adds Brown who learned the skill from his grandfather. “My goal is to someday own a brick oven. I’d love to fire up a brick oven to bake my bread in.”
Growing up, Brown had his eye on medicine rather than business. His father was a doctor and Brown majored in Zoology with a pre-med emphasis. But as he pursued his education, he found himself drawn more and more to business.
“I am not a particularly entrepreneurial person,” he says. “I have a low tolerance for risk. I really knew nothing about what it meant to work in business. I just thought that would be an interesting path to pursue [and] entered business quite naively.”
But what Brown lacked in experience, he made up with enthusiasm. After receiving a BA in science, he hired on at NuSkin where he became director of product development. While the position was a great challenge and opportunity for him, Brown knew he needed more. He moved his young family to Chicago where he received his MBA from Northwestern University. While there, he interned for, and was later hired by, APM Management Consultants, a health care management consultant services corporation. With APM, Brown traveled extensively, making 50 trips to Japan in five years. But the phenomenal business experiences did not make up for time away from home. He left APM and went on to form his own consulting group. MonaVie became a client in late 2005, which led to where he is today.
On returning to the direct sales industry, Brown says, “This time around I had some management tools at my disposal, the benefit of experience and approached and saw things much differently.”
Brown’s success at MonaVie is not as far removed from the oven as one might think. His ability to bake bread is also a metaphor for his approach to business. When making ciabatti bread, he recalls the satisfaction of bringing together a few simple ingredients to create a delicious end product.
“You never think it’s going to come together in a dough,” he says. “But finally it does [and then you get to] smell it in the oven and bite into the crust. [There is] great satisfaction in eating it myself and seeing others enjoy the fruits of my labors.
“There is both art and science in baking bread and running a company. Both require a lot of patience and trial and error,” he continues. “[Business] is about creating opportunities and products that people enjoy, creating wealth that can bless their lives and the lives of others. Those are the things I really enjoy.”