Denise Thomas - CEO, ApplePie Capital

Episode 66: Being in Service to One Another with Denise Thomas and ApplePie Capital

Who is Denise Thomas and the key takeaways in this episode?

Denise Thomas is the CEO and Founder of ApplePie Capital. She has always felt compelled towards setting up businesses and she firmly believes that culture is always absolutely vital to the success of any company. We all have a lot to learn from her, that’s for sure.

Listen to this simply remarkable interview and find out:

  • How Denise accelerated her company’s growth
  • What she believes about core values
  • Denise’s invaluable tips for up and coming entrepreneurs
  • And much, much more

The Questions

Was there a monumental moment, a tipping point, when you said, “I need to be one of one. I need to be able to drive to a different place. I can’t be like everybody else?”

Answer:I felt compelled to do this business. I often teased my family a little bit by saying this was my last startup each time I did one, and I did break that promise a few times. This was no exception that, but I felt that the need was so clear and when I went to research the industry and went to a large, franchised industry event I was actually conducting some final research about my concept before I formed my company. I became a spontaneous speaker at a round table with one of my colleagues that I had developed a relationship with, and it was clear from that event that I needed to form my company and get going. […] I came back and said, “No more self-financing. I need to raise money and go hard and fast on this.”

Can you share with us how culture has accelerated your growth and how you’ve used it as a positive tool for growth?

Answer: We’re still very young. I mean, we incorporated a year ago, in January. Many of the people that started the business with me are people who had worked with me in prior companies. I think we started with a base of values that everyone understood because they’d all experienced me as a leader previously. We have since grown to beyond the people that I had worked with previously. I think that part of the base of a culture is really around attracting talent, based on the values, the consistency, and the shared vision around these values and around what we were trying to achieve. From there I think the team has also evolved the culture dynamically. We have stated what our values are for the business and how we want to conduct ourselves, both around our customers and the experience we want to deliver and around how we work together and how we want to make a difference.

What tip can you give our listeners that are building their companies, trying to build strong cultures and trying to get it all right? Is there a piece of advice you would give them on their journey?

Answer:I think the most central point is to create value for your constituents, and if you create value then everything else will come. I think from a cultural perspective that also means you should start with your own values and vision and then attract the people that share those values and that vision. Others will follow and contribute to evolve the culture. […] You need a fundamental value proposition for the market you serve.

Culture According to Denise Thomas:

Culture, to me, evolves and it is based in the values of the founders as well those of the people who join that picture.

Book Recommendations:

  • Emotional Awareness by Paul Ekman and The Dalai Lama
  • The Princessa by Harriet Rubin

What Denise Thomas Wants Her Company to BE:

  • BE Fearless
  • BE Ahead
  • BE in Service to One Another

Links and Resources Mentioned in this Interview:

Where to Find Denise Thomas:

  • Send her an email at:

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