Bringing the Vistage Experience to Life: A High Yield Opportunity


Dustin Keipper

Director of Operations

Mary Mack’s, Inc.

  • Leading manufacturer of shaved ice and snow cone syrup

  • Offers home and commercial shaved ice, snow cone, cotton candy, and popcorn machines and accessories

  • Community-oriented, local business in N.C with global impact and distribution

A Move Forward, An Uphill Climb

Dustin Keipper was serving as Mary Mack’s marketing director when he recognized a professional growth opportunity right in front of him. The company owner had a lot on his plate so Dustin offered to step in to help as operations director.

It was a great career move but also an incredible challenge. “The transition was very difficult. It was my first time learning to manage other people. The change of going from overseeing one department to overseeing the entirety of day-to-day business operations was a big jump. I experienced quite the learning curve.”

Instead of claiming to have all the answers, Dustin realized that he and his team would need to learn together. Dustin sought out the Vistage Key Executive Program and joined a peer advisory group facilitated by Vistage Chairs Chris and Ana Quinn. His goal was to become the leader his people deserved.


A Uniquely Supportive Community

“Why Vistage?” we asked Dustin. His response: “Why not?


“Vistage is unlike anything you can find in the workplace or from your colleagues,” he says. “It’s a unique place where people are eager to do better, become better, succeed better.”


In a new role at a growing business, each day brings different challenges. Dustin has found that the structure of Vistage balances the ongoing change he’s dealing with.


“It’s nice to have a clear structure and peers who are committed to learning from the program. Building relationships and trust from my peers and knowing they were there to help me through my growth has been a big win!”

Dustin feels that Vistage has offered him a “community of support for those who seek continuous improvement and enjoy learning from others’ experiences.” Bouncing ideas off of fellow executives has been a huge benefit and each month after his Vistage session, he brings his expanded perspective and learnings back to Mary Mack’s.


Continuous Learning to Meet Each New Challenge

“As a business, we are actively continuing to grow.” Dustin knows he’s made mistakes but is proud of the learning along the way.

“With Vistage, I know someone is going to hold me accountable, and the group helps me identify what I need to do to succeed. There are things I don’t know yet, and I hope to get help as these challenges emerge. I would recommend Vistage to anybody who is willing to be vulnerable and learn. I appreciate how dedicated everyone in the group is to the process. Our chairs, Chris and Ana, are invested in us just as much as we are invested in the opportunity to grow. It’s nice to feel that both the people and the process are always valued.”

Dustin reflects on his experience, noting, “Had I gone it alone, I can’t say it would have worked out the same. Vistage has helped me gain the clarity and motivation necessary to make decisions that are best for the company and to move forward with each new challenge.”