I am amazed, in awe, and inspired by the way many nonprofit leaders – many of whom are women – are leading their organizations through the uncertainty brought on by COVID-19. So much so, that I’ve decided to do a special series about Badass Nonprofit and Small Business Executive Women who are living in the trenches, working to keep their nonprofit running, and doing critical work to continue to serve individuals and families during this crisis. I’m curious about their work and the people they’re serving, their biggest concerns, and how they are taking care of themselves and those around them. So I asked!

Danielle Nolan, Co-Owner, DNK Presents

DNK Presents is a small business that offers big adventures. Danielle and her wife started the company six years ago to encourage more people, especially women, to experience the great outdoors and live life to the fullest. Danielle is also the creative director at Live Adventurously, a film following the stories of four incredible Indiana women who won a Women’s Adventure Giveaway hosted by DNK Presents.  Danielle and Kate live in southern Indiana, with their one-year-old son. They’re staying active and creative during quarantine, while also finding ways to keep the company relevant and operational.

Q.  Who are you serving and how are you serving them during this crisis?

A.  Most of our clients and participants are in the Midwest. We have hosted a few events in Arizona and on the East Coast, so we have clients there as well. We were fortunate to get in our two biggest events in Arizona before the pandemic. In fact, we flew back to Indiana on March 16. The following weekend we had a sold-out women’s backpacking trip planned that we had to reschedule. Luckily, we haven’t had to provide a lot of refunds – we’ve been able to work with our clients to postpone their adventures. We’re being extremely flexible with our clients through all of this – and we’re grateful that they are flexible with us. There are so many unknowns, money is tight due to furloughs and layoffs, and we’re finding people don’t want to book future trips right now. We’re looking at ways we can pivot our services to keep people outside and active.

Q.   Have you added, changed, or deleted any services because of COVID-19?

A.  We’ve postponed many of our events and pivoted to Facebook Live and virtual events to engage with our community. We just launched a 30-Day Online Guide to Outdoor Wellness on May 1 that includes a series of yoga classes, meditations, breathing exercises, hikes, and an e-workbook. Participants can go at their own pace and will be a part of a private Facebook group, which will be a fun journey for us to experience together.  People can reserve a spot for the next one, which will start June 1.

Our virtual events have included things like a backpacking essentials workshop, mountain bike challenges, and a video series on mountain bike basics that you can do in your driveway. All of our adventures allow for social distancing if you want to invite a friend to join you.

Q. What are your biggest concerns right now?

A.  Mine is the same as most entrepreneurs and that’s being concerned for the future of our small business. We had our whole year planned out and now we have to refocus. I’m concerned about the unknown. Even when things get lifted, we’re unsure of how the public will respond. Will they want to travel? Will they want to take adventures with us when most of ours are with small, intimate groups? I’m also concerned for our guides and want to make sure they feel safe, secure, comfortable, and confident when they come back. Being an entrepreneur, you try to do your best to navigate through something like this and just take everything day by day. 

Q.  How are you taking care of yourself, your staff, and your clients?

A.  We enjoyed some family time in Arizona before the pandemic hit. Now we’re getting outside as often as we can – either for a run with our son in a jogger or for a bike ride – whatever we can to stay active during quarantine. We’re also working really hard to stay in touch with our guides and clients to check in with them and encourage them to remain active during this time. We created the 30-day outdoor challenge as a way to help people take care of themselves.

Q.  What is your biggest need right now and how can people support your business?

A.  We have an online store for people to buy gear. People can buy gift certificates now to use later for private sessions, join our 30-day Outdoor Wellness program, do a daily DNK adventure and share it online, or sign up for our next virtual workshop. Any support would be a huge help!

Q.  What are you reading, watching, listening to, or doing to get through this?

A.  I’ve been baking a lot. Kate’s the cook in our house, so it’s good we can tag team in the kitchen. I just finished the book Everything is Figureoutable, by Marie Forleo. It’s a great read. Now I’m reading Educated, a memoir by Tara Westover. It’s part of a book club with the Startup Ladies, which I serve on the board. It’s very emotional for me and maybe not the best to read during a pandemic, but I highly recommend it. Other than that, we’re just doing what we can to get through this time.