Written by Dianne Molvig Tuesday, March 22 2011
Snapshot: Dian Griesel
While growing up, Dian Griesel wasn’t allowed to watch television. She became an avid reader, and over the years she’s built an extensive personal library. Among the books on her shelf are many on nutrition, wellness, stress management, and other health-related topics.
Griesel wrote a few of those volumes herself. She has a doctorate in nutrition and worked as a nutritionist and stress management counselor in private practice for five years.
Her current day job, however, is being CEO of The Investor Relations Group, a corporate communications firm she founded in New York City 15 years ago. During that time, she’s written three books and numerous articles on business topics.
Griesel’s career has been a one-thing-leading-to-another kind of progression that’s brought her full circle. She and her brother, Tom, recently launched The Business School of Happiness, an online community aiming to help people lead healthy, fulfilling lives.
They’ve also written a just-published book on wellness titled, TurboCharged.
Womenetics: How did you migrate from a career in nutrition to investor relations?
Dian Griesel: After working in nutrition for five years, I went to work for Paramount BioCapital to be the CEO of a chain of weight-loss centers. I was mostly working with health care companies. At Paramount, I got my first exposure to companies being able to raise money without going through the traditional loan route. I was fascinated with the capital markets.
I looked at these companies and wondered why some had no problem raising capital while others struggled, even if they had strong management teams. I thought the problem might lie in how they were telling their story. I left Paramount after about 18 months and started The Investor Relations Group.
Womenetics: What does The Investor Relations Group do for your clients?
Griesel: We provide investor and public relations services to nano-, micro-, and small-cap companies. We help them tell their story. We sit down with them and try to pull out the nugget of the story behind these companies.
For example, one of our clients had a mother who died of cervical cancer. He left his career as a college professor to spend his life researching treatments for cervical and other kinds of cancer. Another client built a company around a product that became No. 1 in the online gaming space. He was a street fighter as a kid, and 20 years later he’s still a fighter who’s determined to succeed in his business. If I were an investor, those are the sorts of companies I’d want to bet on.
Besides investors, we also try to attract customers and build general awareness for our clients. We place stories in the media, and we’re in the top 10 percent for Twitter following. If it’s AIDS Awareness Month, for instance, we’ll get out stories about a client who’s working on an AIDS diagnostic test you can do at home and another who’s trying to develop a vaccine.
Womenetics: What do you like best about your work?
Griesel: It’s fascinating. We deal all day long with entrepreneurs who are on the cutting edge of whatever is happening. For example, in the late 1990s we worked with companies doing early-stage development of voice-over IP. We get to see what’s going to be happening five years out.
Womenetics: What is The Business School of Happiness?
Griesel: That came about because we often work with CEOs who are just plain burned out because they’re wearing 20 hats. When they meet with investors, they’re fried and unable to put their best foot forward.
Then when the financial market collapsed, a lot of people we dealt with in the financial world began to reevaluate their priorities. They’d finished college, got a great job at Lehman Brothers, worked 80 hours a week. Now they have no job, they’re 40, and they’re considered overqualified. They’re wondering, what’s life about?
My brother, Tom, and I certainly aren’t experts on the topic, but we just thought we’d reach out to this community (through an online newsletter and blog). Anyone can hop on; it’s free. We put out press releases and post stories that inspire people to stay focused and positive. It’s a way to give hope in a time when there’s so much news that’s negative and depressing. We started The Business School of Happiness in August, and that segued into our new book, TurboCharged.
Womenetics: What do you mean by “turbocharged?”
Griesel: If you’ve ever passed a Ferrari, Lamborghini, or Gullwing Mercedes in a parking lot or on the road, you can’t help but stop and look. Most of us will never own one, but we’re inspired by the beauty of that vehicle. We talk about what a fine machine it is.
Meanwhile, our body is a fabulous machine that blows away any of those vehicles. Yet today too many people are getting fatter and unhealthier. Kids are having strokes. Women are having heart attacks in their 30s.
So Tom and I are trying to show people that you can get to that turbocharged body. We’ve put together a holistic program backed by more than 2,000 scientific articles that will help people get lean and healthy and feel great. All of the testimonials in the book are from 35 to 80 year olds.
Womenetics: With your writing, public speaking, sideline business, running your communications firm, you seem to be a woman with a lot of energy.
Griesel: If I could give one message to anybody, it would be this: People say, “Oh, that’s just your personality.” It’s not. We can all make our lives what we want them to be. Anybody can change. I don’t want anyone to think I have something they don’t have. Because I don’t.
Dianne Molvig is a Madison, Wis.-based freelance writer who writes regularly about business management, financial services, law practice, consumer education, and other topics.