By Amanda Thomas
On Tuesday evening, the Hankamer School of Business hosted a private pre-screening of CBS’ show “Undercover Boss” in Waco Hall with The Dwyer Group CEO Dina Dwyer-Owens, who participated in the show. Other contributors from the show were also in attendance.
Dwyer-Owens was given the opportunity to experience walking in the shoes of her subordinates while participating in the two-time Emmy-nominated reality show. “Undercover Boss” puts the CEO of a company in a hands-on position, allowing him or her to witness the lives of the company’s unsung heroes who work in low-level positions.
Dr. Terry Maness, dean of the Hankamer School of Business, introduced the show and Dwyer-Owens prior to the screening.
“This is a unique and exciting event because we have the CEO here,” Maness said. “She is a brave woman to share this with us.”
The Dwyer Group was founded in Waco in 1981 by Dwyer-Owens’ father, Don Dwyer, Sr.
“I have a whole new appreciation for the frontline team,” Dwyer-Owens said of her experience. “I wish I did that “Undercover Bosses” journey 15 years ago.”
Along with the audience, it was the first chance Dwyer-Owens had to see the episode because CBS does not usually allow pre-screenings of the show.
“I am a little nervous,” Dwyer-Owens said. “This is a special gift.”
Reactions to the screening ranged in emotion, as audience members laughed and cried at what they saw. A question-and-answer session in which members could also share comments followed the show.
Both she and the contributors walked away from the experience having learned something new about themselves and the company, Dwyer-Owens said.
One of the contributors featured, Tanna Marino, works for Mr. Appliance and is special to Dwyer-Owens because she is one of the few women who work in a labor-intensive field.
“One thing I pulled away from this is that it is really easy to get wrapped up in your daily work,” Marino said. “You think that your questions and concerns don’t matter, but to have a CEO validate that your questions and concerns matter makes them heard.”
Dwyer-Owens said she has changed after this experience and hopes that her father is proud of her and the direction in which the company is going.
“It was the 30th anniversary when we began taping, and there were two things I wanted to see,” Dwyer-Owens said. “Are we providing for our customers, and are our code of values really penetrated to the frontline? Was it happening? And it was happening better than I thought.”