Community Partner Podcast Series: Donna Riccardo with Asentiv

[Below is a transcription of the podcast]

Cheri Landin: Hello and welcome to The Mortgage Company’s Community Partner Podcast Series. My name is Cheri Landin and I am the Community Development Director here at The Mortgage Company and one of the things that I get to do is sit down and interview our community partners each month just to learn a little bit more about you and hopefully get to you a little exposure in the meantime. So I am here today with Donna Ricardo. Welcome, Donna.

Donna Riccardo: Hi Cheri, thank you for having me.

Cheri Landin: Yes, so just introduce yourself and your company if you would please.

Donna Riccardo: Sure. My name’s Donna Ricardo and my company is Asentiv Denver and we are a business coaching, training, and consulting company.

Cheri Landin: Asentiv.

Donna Riccardo: A-S-E-N-T-I-V.

Cheri Landin: And I have learned from you, your number one question is, what does Asentiv stand for? It’s not an acronym, right?

Donna Riccardo: It’s not an acronym. No, not at all. I know it sounds like it should be though, right?

Cheri Landin: You can make one up.

Donna Riccardo: We totally have a made up one. Okay here’s the made up one. One of the things we say at Asentiv is that it’s about having an amazing business and a spectacular life. So the a-amazing, s-spectacular E-N-T for entrepreneurs because that’s who we work with. And I for inspired and V to live their vision. So yeah it’s sort of, kind of an acronym.

Cheri Landin: I like it. Alright. So Asentiv, business coaching. One thing about business coaching I know is, just from talking with entrepreneurs and people that have had a business, it’s their number one tool in their tool belt that has really helped them focus. So many people are out there that know their profession or trade or whatever their skill is like very deeply. But then how to turn it into a business and there are so many different components it’s overwhelming right? So business coaches are essential. And then Asentiv, your company is one. Can you tell me more about what Asentiv is and how it came about and how you were introduced to it?

Donna Riccardo: Yes. So Asentiv was started by an entrepreneur and it’s for entrepreneurs. It was started by Ivan Meisner who started BNI, which is Business Network International and that is referral groups, referral chapters throughout the world. And he also conceived of the idea that not only should there be meetings of people who get together and refer business to each other, there should be training that goes together with that. So he conceived of both these ideas and he took the chapters and became the face of the chapters. And then he brought these other people in who developed Asentiv into the training division or the training partner. So that’s how I found out about it, through BNI because I’m also part of that.

Cheri Landin: Right okay so BNI has been around a long time, over 30 years. How long has Asentiv been around?

Donna Riccardo: Similar, yes similar because he came up with it as one idea and then it developed into two separate areas.

Cheri Landin: Although it’s new to the Denver market, so this is your market?

Donna Riccardo: Yes yes. It is new here, as of a year ago.

Cheri Landin: Congratulations. A year, huh?

Donna Riccardo: It’s been a whole year already.

Cheri Landin: Alright. So tell me: what’s your past experience? I know that you had some training-type backgrounds and then what kind of training you had to do for Asentiv.

Donna Riccardo: Yes. So I’ve had a lot of training in the world of personal development so that helps me be a really good coach. And so I’ve done a lot of work there, for over 25 years. I’ve also had a lot of experience with public speaking for also probably around 20 years. Part of what we do is train people so the public speaking part is important as well. And I also, as an entrepreneur, I’ve been an entrepreneur for many many years and just in my various different experiences being an entrepreneur and having my different businesses. I’ve had a lot of experience also as being an entrepreneur. So I know what it’s like to be behind the scenes of that.

Cheri Landin: Yeah and so in your endeavors as an entrepreneur, was that something you look to was having a business coach yourself? Did you have that personal experience?

Donna Riccardo: Yes absolutely.

Cheri Landian: And how did you find that to be for you.

Donna Riccardo: Yeah it’s essential, you really need it. I mean it’s one thing to have your vision and your ideas and you know be going at it, but it’s quite another to have somebody holding you accountable and training you in the areas that you need to grow in. Or can see those areas, maybe you can’t see them yourself.

Cheri Landin: Right. Accountable? Did you say accountable? Do business owners like to be held accountable?

Donna Riccardo: No

Cheri Landin: And they need to be.

Donna Riccardo: And they know, they know that they need to be.

Cheri Landin: Because I suppose, they’re just chasing their tail, so to speak, for all this time. Take me through a process and maybe some of the programs that you have. I don’t know if it’s, maybe one business owner knows they’re not doing all that they could be but can’t really put their finger on where the hole is if you will.

Donna Riccardo: Yeah. Well, I would start first with a client assessment, just to find out if we’re a good fit and a good match and see if this particular flavor of business coaching is actually what they’re after. So we work specifically with entrepreneurs but not just any entrepreneur. It’s the entrepreneurs that are responsible for being the ones that grow the business themselves, through the relationships. So it’s referral marketing and relationship marketing, so it’s those people in particular that we work with them. And we show them how to develop their business through working with the business contacts that they already have, and through being really really clear about what it is that they are out to accomplish and how they’re going to fulfill their vision and how to make the most of what it is they already have. So one class, in particular, I think that’s what your question was, one class, in particular, is a longer class, it’s like a series of over about three months. And we start with really not only, you know everybody has heard of, what’s your why? But we take that to a whole other level and really what is it about you that’s special and different that makes people want to be able to work with you, what stands out? And we help people really develop that, we call it your emotionally charged connection. And then we take them through an in-depth version of their vision and mission and really flesh that out. And then we look at all their contacts and who are they and what is the level of the relationship that they have and how can they make the most out of working more with those people and appreciating those people and how do they train those people and how do they make sure that the people that are out there that could be referring them are saying what they want to be saying about them. Right? And then we look at how are you looking in the market. You know how does your online look? How do your materials look? So how do you look? How does your professional business image look? So those are some of the things that we look at and we check in and we have something called your Networking Scorecard, which I’m thinking I might want to rename it your magic scorecard because that’s really where the magic happens.

Cheri Landin: Let’s rename it right now.

Donna Riccardo: We’re calling it, it’s the magic scorecard. It’s a whole page of different items and different categories but they’re different, they’re all action-oriented and they are all giving activities. So if people were to focus on one area of those, it could be something as simple as making what we call a “How are you?” call, which is calling people in your context, not to get something from them or try to sell something to them, but really, “how are you? What’s life like. How are you doing.” Touching base, creating that personal connection and people make all kinds of business from that.

Cheri Landin: Absolutely because right? I mean how often does someone get a phone call without an intention of wanting something or needing something? That would be rare for somebody to just be like, how are you? You know people might be suspect on the other end initially. Well so that scorecard kind of sounds to me like that’s where you’re gonna find some of your holes too.

Donna Riccardo: Absolutely. Yeah because it outlines everything. All the different kinds of actions that people could take including one-to-one meetings, including setting up events, like everything from the little things to the big things.

Cheri Landin: And so it’s a workshop driven thing?

Donna Riccardo: That one is, yeah.

Cheri Landin: In some of the things you mentioned, so business 101, it’s what’s your mission statement, what’s your vision, you have you a little piece of paper and you write it down and then you put it away and then you forget what it is or whatever. But it’s like great, so you have this vision and a mission statement and you’re like inspired by what you want to do. But then what do you do with that? So that’s what this sounds like. Yeah, I have a mission statement but how do you deliver that right? Like you have it, I know it’s in my head, but how do I disseminate this?

Donna Riccardo: Yeah well one of the things that we have people do,  because it’s a weekly or bi-weekly meeting in person at the moment, although I’m looking to take it online, we go through their activities and see where did they get something from those different activities. And one of the things that we tell them to do is to go out there and share their vision. That’s one of the assignments that they are doing between sessions is share their vision and it’s not just a couple of statements vision, it could be a page or two. It’s more of a world vision, a big picture vision starting with themselves and then going into, well if that were happening and that were happening, that were happening, what would the world look like around you? What would the lives of the people of the people around you look like?

Cheri Landin: So it sounds like this type of coaching, it certainly is going to benefit your business as a business coach but it really sounds like it might make you as an individual just better in your world. Does that make sense?

Donna Riccardo: Right, because people want to do business with people they know, like, and trust. People always have to be dealing with themselves to be somebody that people want to do business with. Absolutely.

Cheri Landin: Alright. So that’s one of your workshops. What other kind of programs would someone come to or be introduced to through what you offer?

Donna Riccardo: Well I can do that particular work one-to-one with people or any of the pieces of it I can do. When I assess what people need, I can work with them one-to-one so I can do that sort of individual coaching and then I have a really fun class, and it’s a one evening class, it’s called Room Full of Referrals. Because again, people like to do business with people they know, like, and trust so if you don’t know how you’re coming across to other people, then chances are you’re just shooting in the dark right? So it’s based on the DISC system. But we’ve taken it and changed the different names to make it more networking friendly and the context is networking. So people get to find out their own personal behavior style and then they get to find out the behavior styles of other types of people and they can see how it is they can identify these different behavior styles and be able to interact with them in a way that works. Because if it’s a comfortable fun experience for people then people are going to want to develop those relationships and maybe ultimately do business together.

Cheri Landin: Right and I think people’s natural tendency is, I know for instance how I want to be approached. So that’s how I approach people and if I do that to someone that doesn’t like that they’re not going to like that right? So that’s why it’s important to identify. Just in your world in general, again. I’m thinking, as you’re speaking I’m thinking just in general this is just beneficial for business and for life.

Donna Riccardo: For people. Yeah, it’s a people thing. I know one woman that came, she was a very lively personality type or it’s not really personality types, it’s behavior types. She was a very lively type and she was in the class and then somewhere in the middle of it she goes, “Oh I completely understand my husband now because he’s completely the opposite.” And now she can just really relate to him very differently and not that it’s wrong or bad that he is the way he is.

Cheri Landin: Right, it’s just him.

Donna Riccardo: It’s just how he is.

Cheri Landin: I hope they hadn’t been married 30 years and she’s just finally figuring this out. Alright. So what types of businesses do you feel this makes the most sense for?

Donna Riccardo: Well again it’s for the people that are are building the business through the relationships. They’re the ones out there that are creating these relationships so it could be realtors, mortgage lenders, it could be insurance agents, it could be network marketing team leaders. Those are some of the people that we like to work with.

Cheri Landin: So it sounds like definitely sales, business development, type of things where it’s not necessarily behind the scenes. If you work for a company and you’re not really out developing the relationships. So not someone behind the scenes maybe sitting at the desk all day. It’s for someone who’s out and about and needs those skills.

Donna Riccardo: Exactly.

Cheri Landin: So those types of professions. OK. So who is your ideal client?

Donna Riccardo: Well it could be any of those types of people for sure but can also be anybody who wants to take their business to the next level, an entrepreneur, again, who is developing those relationships or somebody who’s new. Because there’s a big part of what we do in that core program that can be really geared for people that are newly in business and then we can get them in action and then come back to some of the things that are better for people that have been in business for a while. So people that already have some of those contacts and already have some of those relationships and we do some work with that. But you have to have them first.

Cheri Landin: Right. Well, that makes sense too for new businesses to get a jumpstart on it. You know get some help out of the gate. So I think too, one of the best things about if you had this type of business coaching right away, you don’t need to redo things that you did wrong. Whether it’s wrong, maybe wrong isn’t the right word but let’s just say ineffective.

Donna Riccardo: Or maybe not as thorough or not as in-depth as it could be and even if people have been in business a long time we still take them through that because chances are they did fold it up and put it in a drawer. And now we revisit it and is this still what you want and is this really where you want to go and does this still give you life?

Cheri Landin: Alright well it sounds like a very fascinating program and a lot of stuff and I know that so many people could benefit from it. You know and just really get out of their own way right?

Donna Riccardo: Yes.

Cheri Landin: Alright. So if someone’s out there listening and they’re either A, just going into business or B, been in business and maybe are stuck or just really want to understand how to better relate with people in general. So if someone wanted to learn more about this and maybe come to one of your workshops or nights to learn more, how would they get in touch with you?

Donna Riccardo: They could go to  We also have a Facebook page Asentiv Denver, that one’s flip-flopped to keep things interesting. Right. And then also could call at 303-449-0418.

Cheri Landin: OK. Well, I think it’s a wonderful service that you’re providing. So thank you for that. And thank you for sharing Asentiv with us today.

Donna Riccardo: Absolutely. Thank you.

Cheri Landin: You’re welcome!



About Donna Riccardo

Meghann Feldman is CEO and co-founder of Trivida in Centennial, CO. In 2013, Corey and Meghann opened Trivida while Corey takes the helm as primary medical provider and personal trainer, Meghann manages the strategic day to day marketing and operations for Trivida. Prior to Trivida, Meghann developed her career as a Marketing director with several small and large corporations in Denver. As is the nature of Trivida, all team members have a very hands on approach with clients and when Meghann is not managing the business you can find her coaching clients and supporting them in their goals through nutrition and exercise.





Cheri Landin


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