Dayna (Sherman) Martin '97
CEO, Stand Steady
Dayna Martin fell in love as an ILR undergraduate with what she describes as the dichotomy of economics, where theories are built on the assumption that people act rationally, when in fact people do not act rationally. She went on to explore marketing, which capitalizes on emotionality, as a practical business application of economics. Martin used this as the foundation for her career in direct marketing.
In 2012, Martin was in a car accident that left her with chronic back pain. She was working for the Corporate Executive Board in data analytics, where she sat for most of the day. Her back pain was bad throughout the work week but would improve on the weekends. She soon realized that sitting made the pain worse.
Martin set out to find a desk that allowed her to work while standing. After lots of research, she could not find an affordable option suitable for her needs. Working with her father-in-law, Martin designed prototypes and began testing product ideas. When she realized that other colleagues were dealing with similar back pain and had difficulty sitting all day, she decided to build and market her own standing desks and launched Stand Steady in 2013.
After two years in business and revenue projections of over 2.5 million for this year, Martin is as passionate as ever about Stand Steady’s standing desks. She describes the desks as attractive, affordable and easy to assemble. They are placed on existing desks and fit into any cubicle or office.
Martin applies the broad business and economics background she received at the ILR School to all aspects of owning and operating Stand Steady. As a family friendly business, Stand Steady invites employees to bring their children to the office and on business trips. The company has a comfortable room for children to rest when they are sick and cannot attend school.
“I had another ILR moment when I realized that my business needed to be flexible and accommodate children. There are real differences in the challenges you face as a primary caregiver running a business,” Martin, a mother of two, explained.
Martin serves as a role model for young women interested in male-dominated careers, such as business, manufacturing or STEM fields. She is concerned about the lack of mentors to help girls explore these careers. Martin has worked with her children’s elementary school to launch a robotics program to enhance STEM education for girls and boys at the school.
She wants young women to have the opportunity to explore their interests, as she did while studying economics, marketing and business at the ILR School.