Hoya Highlight: Stephen Dypiangco (SFS’01), CEO and Co-Founder of Dadventures

TIME ON THE HILLTOP

What was your favorite class or who was your favorite professor at Georgetown?

My favorite professor was Lalitha Gopalan, a cinema studies professor. The class was a 12-person seminar and it was hard! She really pushed each and every student in discussions and in our assignments. I’m glad she pushed us because it made me push myself harder and helped me grow, more so than I would have on my own.

What advice would you give your younger self (or current Georgetown students)?

Pursue your passions. I used to make videos with my friends (think YouTube before there was YouTube)—they were silly videos but it was just so fun. I wish I had taken more film classes or gotten involved in student clubs around video production while at Georgetown. Eventually, after graduating, I worked with Netflix, YouTube, PBS, and even worked in film for quite a while. Working in film taught me about storytelling and building an audience, which is essential for a startup.

How has Georgetown shaped you?

I think it really helped me set the bar high for myself; the high caliber set by other students pushed me to strive for excellence. It was not until I left Georgetown that I realized that not everyone sets their bar high! I’m grateful that Georgetown pushed me to be the best I can be.

What is your job now?

I am the CEO and Co-Founder of Dadventures, which is a startup helping parents find activities to do with their kids. We started out focusing on outdoor activities, but with the COVID-19 outbreak, we have been shifting to refocusing on more indoor activities. I oversee all ends of the company including product, marketing, content, business development, and finances.

CAREER REFLECTIONS

What is the best career advice that you have ever received?

I worked with an executive coach who showed me that I have control of the career path I take. At the time, I was a new manager and experiencing growing pains from the new responsibilities. She told me I didn’t have to be a manager if I didn’t want to, that I could just be an individual contributor. It made me realize I have control of my professional path and made me take ownership of where I was and where I wanted to be. Feeling in control was very empowering, and it helped me to stop feeling overwhelmed and become a good manager.

What was the hardest thing you’ve ever done professionally?

Asking for help. The first time I became a manager, I struggled because I was learning how to be an executive and launch  an initiative with a high-profile partner, while two members of my team were involved with an HR dispute with each other. I felt completely overwhelmed and unable to deal with the stress, so I went to my company and asked for help. It was the first time in a professional setting that I’d ever voiced a need for help, and it was difficult for me to do so. I’m glad I asked for help though, because ultimately I was able to perform at a higher level.

What are the big trends in your industry you’re seeing now?

During these uncertain times, a lot of companies are shifting toward indoor activities and work. Some companies are better at adjusting to it than others, and there’s still a lot we just don’t know. My business is mostly focused on outdoor activities, and since the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve had to reshape those activities to fit within the confines of indoor environments. We are trying to focus on providing resources for parents rather than actual activities. For example, a major issue parents are facing right now is getting enough exercise and movement for their kids while being stuck indoors during stay-at-home orders, so we’ve compiled all the best YouTube videos of indoor kid-friendly exercise. Personally with my kids, I have been getting them to dance and teaching them dances from the 90s. It’s silly and fun for both me and them!

A DAY IN THE LIFE

What does your workspace look like? Are you at a desk frequently or on the road? What do you have on your desk or with you at all times?

I went from starting this business in my guest room to a WeWork space with a team of six. Since the pandemic forced us to work virtually, I’m back in my guest room. I work on a laptop with two large screens, so I can maximize screen space when looking at data. Otherwise, I have pictures of my children and my wife, and am never without my water bottle.

What is one part of your daily routine that you couldn’t live without?

My morning meditation. Meditation in the morning has become an important part of my day because it helps me prepare myself for the day ahead and bring in positivity. I try to carry that inspiration and positivity with me throughout the workday.

What are your words to live by?

“Whether or not it is clear to you the universe will unfold as it should.” This quote reminds me not to get too attached to the moment. Some things may feel like a success, but may go away; something else may feel like a setback but could actually be a learning experience or room for growth. I try to look at  the big picture.

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