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Hold Hands, Get Chocolate – No, not from your boyfriend

Milka, an Argentina chocolate company, set up a nifty vending machine with a catch, to promote “tenderness” between strangers. Bear with us…

You see, in order to dispense the free chocolate, people need to hold hands, one on one end touching the button on the machine, the other on the other end touching the button on the cow. This caused strangers to make a connection to share in the joy of chocolatey goodness. Nice!

This is very Dance Floor Theory because:

  • Pattern interrupt” to get attention: what is that cow and purple vending machine with chocolate doing there?? Hmmmmm….
  • The organizers didn’t have to be there for their “pattern interrupt” to work, they created fun by using the environment.
  • The set up caused people to make a positive connection and work together to experience something cool.


What do you think? Would you hold hands with a stranger for chocolate? (Isn’t that the definition of dating…just kidding.)


Coca Cola is Dance Floor Theory Gold

A few months back, the marketing world got excited over Coke’s new campaign: The Coca Cola Friendly Twist.

Watch the video, it’s kind of awesome

I saw this, and as a marketing fanatic, I shared it on my Facebook wall, tagging our very own Tom because it reminded me so much of what he talks about in his Dance Floor Theory programs.

Here’s what he had to say in the comments:

1) Pattern interrupt? Yes
2) Positive Confusion? Yes
3) Connecting People Together? Yes

It’s a DFT winner to me! 

Let’s take a closer look at each point.

  1. Pattern interrupt: You have to get people’s attention by standing out, by creating a situation that isn’t normal or within our daily pattern. Nobody expects to get a Coke from a machine and have to ask someone else to help them open it. It’s surprising!
  2. Positive confusion: Remember, like we say with Free Hugs – confusing, not scaring. The confusion that opening one of these Cokes leads to is good because it encourages making a new friend.
  3. Connecting People Together: As leaders, we need to think of creative ways to get people to actually connect, not just learn a name and forget them immediately. Sharing a memory like in this ad would definitely create a deeper connection of some kind.

What do you think? Love it or think it’s silly? I love it :P

Community at Swift Kick HQ – We Share Stories

One thing that sticks out while working at Swift Kick is that we are all friends, working together. We aren’t just coworkers.

This is the kind of thing you want to create within your on-campus organization: friends, doing cool things together.

One of the simplest and most effective ways we foster a community within our own team is at our meetings, and also inbetween tasks. We share stories. The first item on our agenda of the weekly meetings is the “Good News Tangent.” Each of us get to share a cool/funny/awesome story from our past week, outside of work.

Not only does this help us get to know each other, but it reminds us that work isn’t the only thing in each of our lives. This is important! Knowing about your team members lives outside of your niche together is powerful because it makes your connection with them stronger. It serves to remind us that we have separate lives –troubles, triumphs, etc.– besides what we see in the team setting. It gives us a chance to treat each other as friends.

And friends who have fun building things together succeed together.

DFT Tip #17: The Never Ending Party

This week we posted this DFT Tip, artwork by Lia Rothschild, on our Facebook page. The idea is, you shouldn’t have to be in the room with a group you lead for them to have positive experiences. Another way to think about this tip is the old adage

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

You could stand at the front of a room and call on the people at your event to chat with you. Everyone might be having fun listening to all the conversations you have with each person. But as soon as you leave, you’ve left those people with nothing, because the focus was them talking to you. But, you can break those same people into groups, give them a ridiculous task to work on together, or help them find a common interest. When the focus is on the connections and activities they can do without you, you can leave, or sit down and take a break (you deserve it), and the party will keep going. Remember, if you make yourself indispensible, you may feel powerful, until you realize you can never leave for your work to be successful. You want your organization and events to become breathing things within themselves, based on the culture you create.

Welcoming Nathalia to the Team – Our Wandering Kick-Butt Intern

nathalia brasileiroTHE Nathalia is a social sciences and humanities graduate of Corning Community College, moving onto Communications and PR at Brooklyn College. She was first involved with leadership as a student senator and then was the PR director for Student Association for a year. She is one of the amazing interns currently at Swift Kick. She is also a great member of our #SLChat community. 

Some epic fun facts about Nathalia:

1. I was born and raised in Brazil! [Her American accent is amazing, though it has led to some interesting mix ups.]

2 .I was never allowed to have a cat or a dog growing up so we had a chicken named George Washington.

3. I started learning English as a second language when I was only 5.

4. When I was 14 I told my parents I wanted to move out and it took me two years to convince them to let me come abroad.

Nathalia will be taking over as co-leader of The Student Leader Collective, working in office with Sabina to make sure your community and the leadership team continues to grow and improve.

In Depth with New Intern Jeremy Chen

Here in the office, we are super excited to have Jeremy spend a month with us through an NYU program matching incoming college freshmen to internships. It’s been fun having him join us on the company retreat and every day, as he joins in on the shenanigans in the office.

Jeremy was born in Taipei, Taiwan, and currently lives in Newport Beach, California. Of course for this internship, he is living at New York University. He just graduated from Corona del Mar High School.

He is excited (and a little nervous) about attending the University of Michigan in the fall. We know he is going to do great, but we are happy to have him here in the meantime. He will be studying engineering in college.

Besides school, he likes to play tennis, work out, cook, and watch Netflix. Talk about well-rounded! He also loves dogs, particularly corgis. But cats, on the other hand, not cats! He is deathly allergic. Meow.



Jeremy has only been here slightly over a week and he is already Feeding His Butterflies and trying new things. Expect blog posts from him soon over at The Student Leader Collective. He is also helping us make our systems more efficient, as we continue to work to make our company better and better.

In short, Jeremy is awesome.

Swift Kick Company Retreat – An Inside Look at the Epicness

from the resaurant’s site

Another quarter, another company retreat. The Swift Kick team (Tom, Sabina, and new interns Nathalia and Jeremy) spent all of Tuesday, July 1st, getting down to business and also romping around our side of town. We were sad, however, that new intern Trisha couldn’t join in because she got sick. Sad faces forever!

We started the day with some “getting to know you” activities: “I am …” statements and showing childhood photos that best describe us. We also explained the company overview so we are all on the same page.

We went to lunch at a Mexican restaurant called Mexican Radio, a mere walking distance from our office.  Our food was delicious, though Nathalia was the only one who didn’t ask for a special change to her menu item. The waiter must have loved us…A lot of great conversation happened, especially about technology. There is now an inside joke happening about Tom’s plans for machines to take over the world. We are a nutty bunch.

After lunch, we got down to business, to defeat…our quarter strategy. We planned out all our projects and when each task is going to get done. We have an awesome process here at Swift Kick that leads to success every time.

Tom getting ready to cry over the game


After we finished planning, it was time to get to the important part of the day: The US vs. Belgium World Cup Match. Needless to say, it didn’t end very well and led to Tom hugging walls while Nathalia and I giggled over the players last names matching with our first names. Jeremy sat quietly up front and wondered what he had gotten himself into.

After the game, Tom proceeded to hand out tissues in case we wanted to cry over the loss of our country. Then, we wrapped up the business part of the retreat with letters to ourselves to get back in 3 months, a company tradition.

We closed out our day with a trip to the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory with one challenge: you HAD to try a flavor you’d never had. Some of the flavors we tried were pandan, black sesame, green tea, and lychee. Yum!!!



We took our traditional company retreat selfie (we are hip, we are cool), and parted ways good friends and a great team.


The 3 S’s of Community

Image from bluewolf.com

Community building is key within any organization or team. The best teams feel like something each member wants to be loyal to. They should be committed to making the group as a whole succeed, not just themselves. Three very important parts of creating a community are shout outs, strengths, and support. 

Shout outs:

Make people feel great about their accomplishments. Every time someone does something good, within the group or in their own life, share that with the group as a whole, so you can all celebrate together. This makes each person feel valued as a member.


Every group has individuals with different backgrounds and talents. Use these differences to create a unified team. When a person feels that they are using their unique skills and points of view to benefit the group, they feel that they “count.” Take time to get to know each member and give them opportunity to shine where they shine best, as well as learning new skills.


Finally, a community should feel like a place where friends are. Work to create connections and friendships throughout the larger group. (Warning: avoid cliques, though!) In the end, we stay loyal and excited about the human connections we make. Would you show up weekly for a group of strangers?




A Fond Farewell: Moving on from Swift Kick


This first half of this year has been an eventful one for me. I graduated from my master’s program after two tough years, turned 25 years old, traveled for national conferences, searched for a full-time job, and perhaps most importantly, had the privilege to spend some time with pretty amazing people here at Swift Kick.

I started at the end of January, coming into the city to meet the team and from there, it was a fast-paced journey into a brave new world for me, contributing ideas, new content, and bringing the fun to a growing organization. As a team, I assisted as we created a podcast, newsletter, and forged ahead for the months to come, continually improving the experience we offer our community members. I learned a lot during my time with Swift Kick, about myself and about how to achieve success that I know I’ll lean on as I start my career.

Personally, I gained confidence, knowledge of how to get around NYC (relatively), and met some great people, many of whom I consider friends. We shared laughs, frustrations, and quality experiences that I’ll remember fondly long after I’m gone.

As a professional, I learned how to embody and realize a vision, how to work better as a team, and I also made some great connections in the field that I cherish dearly since I feel as though I never would have had the privilege and opportunity to do so otherwise.

I look forward to continuing to help The Student Affairs Collective and the whole Swift Kick family grow in any way I can. I support their goals and mission and I want very much for them to succeed because I believe they can make a positive impact on how student affairs professional serve students, which can change the world.

I also am happy to announce that I will be working a Husson University in Maine as a full-time professional in student affairs, starting in July. I know a good chunk of my success is due to the growth I experienced while at Swift Kick.

As I wrap up here, I just want to say thank you to Tom, Sabina, Jay, Megan, and the leadership teams for an amazing few months. Anywhere else I work has a lot to live up to.

Anyone who wants to stay connected with me can find me on Twitter, and on my blog.

All the best, and as always, live long and prosper, my friends.

Note from Sabina, community manager at Swift Kick: Working with Dustin has been an extreme honor and great pleasure. Not only did he make more of a mark on our wonderful company than any intern is ever expected to, he truly helped create a work environment that cannot be beat. Here at Swift Kick, we have a knack for being incredibly productive while having a blast. The more shenanigans, the better. Dustin fit right in. Thanks for the laughs, your Muppet’s Swedish Chef impression, and running around Canal Street with me on Random Acts of Kindness Day. Most importantly, thanks for your friendship. We send you off to Husson with pride and absolutely no doubt that you’ll be the best addition to their institution that they could possible ask for.

Swift Kick Never Puts Baby in a Corner – Megan’s Intern Reflection

I just had my last meeting with Tom to close out my internship with Swift Kick :(. You know, I am not new to this internship thing. Before my time with Swift Kick, I had been an intern with a few different companies so I was no stranger to the general list of intern duties: paper work, coffee fetching, the usu. This was not the case with Swift Kick.

#SAChat plushies

#SAChat plushies

During my time as a virtual intern at Sift Kick, I acted as Co-Leader of Student Leader Collective and #SLChat, created the hashtag plushies that travel to different Student Affairs conferences, two years worth of #SAChat awards AND I helped to organize the first annual Random Acts of Kindness Day in April.

I feel like my personal strengths were utilized for the projects I was involved with. For one, I am a really great crafter. I was trusted to make the awards and hashtag plushies on my own. I also have some graphic design skills, so I really appreciated the opportunities to develop these skills through making the RAK Day logo and print-out cards.

I loved being a part of the Swift Kick crew! As an intern I feel like I had the opportunity to grow personally and professionally- Swift Kick helped to facilitated this growth. Being an intern was more than coffee fetching and grunt work, my skills and opinions were valued.

So thanks, Swift Kick! I had the time of my life.

Megan Wood

Megan during Swift Kick Quarterly Retreat Chinatown Shenanigans


Note from Sabina (community manager at Swift Kick):

Meeting and working with Megan have been a dream! She contributed so much to our company and communities, too many things to count. She’s a hard worker, fun addition to meetings, and is guaranteed to make every moment exciting. This girl can do anything, literally. We are going to miss you so much, but we know you’re going to be doing amazing things as you craft and dance through your life. Thanks for teaching us Southern phrases, for the video chats that were half business and half girl talk, and for the plushies that I cuddle with every time I open my locker here at the office. :) 

Sabina De Matteo & Megan Wood

Oh and thanks for agreeing to create a long distance hand heart with me :)

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