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Meet Rotarian Heiko Dobrikow

You can connect with Heiko on LinkedIn here:


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Adi Soozin: one Hello everybody and welcome another episode of meet your fellow rotarians today. We have a total mover and shaker from our local ecosystem here. Yes assistant is a mover and Shaker within the entire ecosystem of Fort Lauderdale. Not only has he been a member of our club since 2011. He is also the Executive Vice President, right? of the Las Olas company,

Heiko Dobrikow: That’s correct executive.

Adi Soozin: which is If they’re a huge company, that’s completely just revolutionized downtown Fort belt it into this gorgeous hotspot that we have International tourists pouring it to law. So to this tour attraction that high goes

Adi Soozin: one of the invisible hands behind the scenes with it or maybe not so invisible. He is also the chairman of Career Source Broward, which is an absolutely incredible organization. Hopefully, he’ll tell us a little bit about it today and he is the general Riverside Hotel, which is hands down one of our favorite places to eat. They have a lot of Very interesting. Themed restaurants in there so you don’t get tired of going to one place because there’s all these different themed restaurants. But then with his domain heiko, thank you so much for joining us today.

Heiko Dobrikow: ADI thank you so much for inviting me and congratulations on the podcast. I really enjoyed the interview you had with your dad what a gem of a leader and you are third generation. And I’m thrilled that you’re not doing your kids already to become rotarians.

Adi Soozin: he

Heiko Dobrikow: So that is fantastic and fellow rotarians Welcome to our podcast. Hopefully I can bring a little bit of light to our conversation and maybe tell my story and I let ADI just go ahead and rip some questions. I guess she has some prepared. I’m not sure yet. I’m actually a little worried about it because you never know what you’re going to get with Adi.

Adi Soozin: It only four questions. This is not the full interrogation that I usually do just for questions. Who are is your profession? I know I already kind of touched upon it but there’s so many things that you’re involved in everywhere. could you

Heiko Dobrikow: Yeah, maybe I just give a little background from where I’m from and who I am and then go into the professional aspect and then maybe in the servant leader aspect effect of my career. So my name is heiko dobrikow. I was born and raised in Germany. I grew up in a small little village in Zeba is in the hearts mountains. We had a population of 600 three people and interesting enough when I grow up in Zeba. I was part of a folklore club that had also service element to it Alin benonist to me. Nobody ever talked about that. There was also service involved in this particular club. We just thought we were singing and raising money and then sometimes on a Saturday or Sunday, we had certain Community projects, but it was interesting how that kind of molded me over the years, right? I then migrated to the United States.

Heiko Dobrikow: At the age of 17, and I just want to be an exchange student. I went to Washburn Road High School graduated from their fell in love with America and fell in love with Kansas. And I really never wanted to leave Kansas the nicest people ever down to earth hardworking Americans that just are extremely truthful and it reminded me of my Village because everybody was straightforward truth truthful and telling you What they really were thinking And so again another element that formed me towards rotary right because it is about the truth that we telling each other and I then went to the University of Kansas and wanted to become a sports psychologist for tennis players while I was working there. I kind of dabbled in some Hospitality type of work and fell in love with the industry and kind of fast forward after I graduated

Heiko Dobrikow: I went to Florida started working in Panama City Beach Florida at Marriott’s Bay Point Resort Village. And that’s where I met my mentor and he was a Vietnam vet for the Air Force and he was explaining to me a terminology that I’ve heard in college servant leadership. Right? And the first time I heard the terminology was in religion 104 in college in my freshman year. And then later on I heard the word servant leadership in a corporate environment in my statistical class my business class in stats in college. And so when he talked about this, his name was Bob Martha and Rusty many Rest In Pieces been in heaven for two years whose also rotarians, by the way, he built a flat company structure where everybody in the company is on the same level. It was no hierarchy.


Heiko Dobrikow: He was not above everybody and one of the things that he’s always said to us as the young leaders as we coming in. You lead others by serving them first. And when I heard that it kind of resonated with me, and I felt like wow that is pretty awesome. Right? You are here to just invest in others and really build them up from there and going now fast forward about 10 hotels there after ended up at the Riverside Hotel in For North Panama City in Fort Lauderdale. And it’s a family-owned and operated Hotel still run by the same family that built it in 1936 and the Las Olas company was founded in 1935 and that’s very very rare.

Heiko Dobrikow: And the DNA of the family that runs the Las Olas company at the Riverside Hotel is truly all about. Giving back to the community. It was a philanthropic approach of running a business. And it mesmerized me and I was fortunate enough over my years in the hospitality industry always working. For family-owned and operated companies and I dabbled a couple of times in the corporate environment, but mostly I was reporting directly to family members in other hotels as well. And that really helped me develop this kind of style that I have as a leader.

Heiko Dobrikow: Every community that I have went into I got involved in and it was very important for me to do so and so that’s kind of who I am and that’s kind of my DNA in the hospitality industry. But also it was interesting how small little seeds throughout my upbringing were planted for me to have a service mind and it molded me.

Adi Soozin: yeah, but yeah, very interesting. it’s very very unique experience almost a lot of the other guests on far. So thank you for coming on and sharing that with how do you use for Professional Knowledge in this projects locally and globally with rotary?

Heiko Dobrikow: that’s a profound question as a matter of fact, and it’s one probably that is not easy to be answered unless you have a strategy, And ADI for me and fellow rotarians, I’m fortunate enough that I work in the hospitality industry so services in my blood whether I like it or not. It’s just in my blood. I’m truly passionate about service, Whether it’s servicing my team members to be great with it servicing the customers to have a good experience or whether it’s servicing the community. And so what I tell many of the younger leaders and I even say that to rotarians what is your strategy to conquer the community?

Heiko Dobrikow: And you get various answers and A lot of times talk about the false silos. I said you need to divide your strategy for silos and a lot of times I get the question. So, how do I do this first as a business person right because we rotarians our business people. We were founded by business people.

Adi Soozin: Yeah.

Heiko Dobrikow: We were founded by business people with a philanthropic Vision in order to grow our communities and our world into a better place. Right? So number one is you need to rub elbows with the existing business community and a lot of times for me. It was a Chambers of Commerce wherever I went, right and build the relationships and I was fortunate enough here in Fort Lauderdale to be the chairman of the board for the Chamber of Commerce and oversaw about six 26 different councils while I was chairman and it was phenomenal right the second Silo that I always tell folks that are in the business Community if you want to

Heiko Dobrikow: Help new businesses coming into the marketplace. Then you should be aligned with the economic development boards in our case here in Broward County. It’s the greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance in Miami. It was the beacon Council in Palm Beach. It was the economic development board right of Palm Beach. And you roll out that red carpet to those new companies that are coming into your marketplace, right and really help them out. I think everybody in the business has a trade right and that would be the third Silo and mine is early on I joined Hospitality associations current one that I’m part of is the Florida restaurant and launching Association. It’s a Statewide organization. It was important for me to give back to my trade and Rob elbows with the folks that I might trade.


Heiko Dobrikow: The last Silo to the equation how to conquer a community is what nonprofit are you going to align yourself with, and that was not always easy for me to understand who I’m gonna align myself because there’s so many worthy causes out there, right and so in my hotel here at the Riverside, we had the rotary luncheon every Wednesday, 12:15, Clockwork, And I was not a rotarians. I was a fly on the wall because what I enjoyed about the rotary lunch and says they brought some amazing amazing guest speakers in that educated you So I went like wow, he is an organization that actually invests in massaging your brain with new information that you didn’t know before. And I went like this is just amazing.

Heiko Dobrikow: And So eventually I kind of stepped up and said, what I want to be kind of part of this group of people because when I looked inside the room, it was movers and shakers. These were folks that were very influential in some cases was a city manager and other cases. It was a commissioner. Otherwise, it was a Fortune 500 CEO. It was truly folks that all seemed to grow in the same direction for the same purpose. and so then once I got on board, I kind of realized that you have to roll up your sleeves get your hands dirty and really make things happen and I started small, right? George Huska who is working for the city of Fort Lauderdale had this crazy idea the power of an hour and it was one of the first service projects that I got involved locally, right?

Heiko Dobrikow: Yes, just give me an hour and in one hour on a Saturday morning. I put you to work and we just transform a building. We landscape something. We take care of something in the community. And suddenly you saw the fruits of your labor. the next thing that I really liked. Was the aspect of adopting a street. So just west of us of the hotel. There is a street that was adopted by the river by the Rotary Club and we went into that and maintained the street and picked up trash and we did things out made things good.

Heiko Dobrikow: we are in the season of giving ADI and so what better things in just getting children’s toys out there and we doing it online and with Amazon and what a great way where you actually don’t have to do that much other than go on and purchase and then be part of a group in order to put the toys together and sort them out and have them delivered Or we just got off the Thanksgiving baskets that this Rotary Club is doing and needless to we also had a special group for a long time, which was the turkey flights where we actually flew.

Heiko Dobrikow: Hundreds of turkeys for Thanksgiving to needy families, which was an amazing experience. We are in Florida ADI, so we have actually hurricanes and it devastates communities, right and it’s just the question of time when it’s going to devastate our community. But our Rotary Club has always stepped up in order to really help out in the time of catastrophe right whether it was the key. So whether it was over on the west coast of Florida, what have you in helping out Hurricane Katrina was another one. and so

Heiko Dobrikow: one of the things that was always important to me was scholarships because I believe the number one economic driver and any communities education and if you don’t invest in education, you probably missing the mark, And so this club in particular made it a priority through the annual raffle program to focus on student scholarships, right and every year we give away.

Heiko Dobrikow: Student scholarships, I think roughly about maybe 75,000 worth of student scholarships. I might be off with my numbers because it’s so overwhelming for me to see how many students scholarships we give away every year. Right? And I think that is very powerful which our club always participated from a global standpoint, which I also enjoyed because I am kind of a product of this I wasn’t exchange student. So the rotary Exchange program is just very robust and getting these kids from other countries to stay here in the United States in our rotary families and then having a great experience is important while I’m on the subject of global what I liked about our club was really the different grants that we tapping in and getting the various matches two, three matches, right? What have you and our club early on participated in the early childhood development?


Heiko Dobrikow: And I think it was for South Africa if I’m not mistaken and I might be a little bit wrong there, but it’s a fun really to Foster Education and Training globally elsewhere. Right? I love the fact of us participating and I know this was in South Africa in the sanitation projects, right? Because at the end of the day when people have a teen environment they have a better quality of life.

Heiko Dobrikow: one of the first projects that I was very interested in and participated globally was the lifestyle project or Water Project which was called Spring of Hope and replenish and I think it’s an incorporated business that we provided live straws literally filtering live straws for people in Kenya to drink money water that turns actually clean by the time it comes through the straw and I mean water it’s life ADI, and so that important and the most impressive thing globally. I think that we as rotarians should be most proud of

Heiko Dobrikow: Is the aspect of eradicating polio are this far away from eradicating polio, right? And so when you just think about this from an aspect of service locally just in your backyard Statewide nationally or internationally rotary is really one of those entities where you can do as much as you wonder as little as you want, right, you might be just in a met with one aspect of that fourth Silo nonprofit that I’m talking about all you can spread your wings in anything. I think the last component to your question that I want to tell the rot. There are no bad ideas.

Heiko Dobrikow: The only bad ideas that you have as a rotarians. If you don’t share your idea that that would benefit a community doesn’t matter whether it’s local nationally or internationally just bring the idea to the table, and as rotarians, we kind of all have the same DNA, we kind of make a choice you have two choices in life. You can either sit at the table or be on the menu pick one choice is yours.

Adi Soozin: he

Heiko Dobrikow: I like okay, I like to sit at the table and drive the conversation and drive the business and move in the right direction.

Adi Soozin: yeah, so you already sort of touched on this but We just formally answer it. When did you join rotary? And what made you decide to join?

Heiko Dobrikow: my Sponsor is charts feelings and when he was president for the Rotary Club here in Fort Lauderdale. He educated me on the financial whereabouts how actually this elephant off rotary operates from a fiscal responsibility.

Heiko Dobrikow: And I’m telling you you will not learn that in one hour. You will literally have to sink your teeth into it to just wrap your arms around it.

Adi Soozin: Yeah.

Heiko Dobrikow: And so I joined on March 1st 2011 and it was shortly after I started working at this hotel in October of 2010 and being a fly in the world for many of the rotary luncheons. And eventually I like blood and I said this is what I wanted to and there’s many reasons why I wanted to join rotary number one. when I surveyed the room, right and was very important for me to rub elbows with folks that I like-minded, right? I enjoyed that our Rotary Club was very diverse in the aspect of the business diversity.


Adi Soozin: it’s

Heiko Dobrikow: And I sensed also then that we started to take the lead on making our club more diverse as well. And so when I started seeing more women coming to our club I think that was important right because strength license diversity, but when I saw the business acronym and mindset of these different industries that are all sitting at the same table and really working towards a common Come and goal. I think was just amazing to me.

Heiko Dobrikow: I also like the fact that when you said at the luncheon these table conversations took place and we started discussing Community needs and how important it is to find and develop creative ways in closing the gap on our community needs that we had and sometimes it’s the most unexpected people that will step up to the plate and said I’m passionate about this as a rotaryan. I want to take the lead and I’m sometimes good. where did you come from? I mean this right because you never know what really interests somebody important for me because

Adi Soozin: Yeah.

Heiko Dobrikow: Honestly rotary means business and you meet business people for some reason. We don’t ask for each other’s business, but boy, do we refer business to each other? And that was just amazing for me to see right…

Adi Soozin: Yeah.

Heiko Dobrikow: because here are people that are pouring their heart out into service. And as a thank you you want to help them with their business naturally, So I’ve referred much business to fellow rotarians as a first referral…

Adi Soozin: just

Heiko Dobrikow: because these are minded people that work for The better of the community and I love that. the other reason what was important to me is you never stop learning. And I needed to grow as a leader right and…

Adi Soozin: yes.

Heiko Dobrikow: I needed to become a better leader. out question without question rotary taught me to become a better leader not only in the community, but ADI also for my business here that was amazing for me,…

Adi Soozin: Yes.

Heiko Dobrikow: right because it helped me to find What my mentor gave me as a gift, this servant leadership ideology in a company and it fit perfect in this family owned and operated business and it helped me to literally find to my skill set as a professional. I’m a travel dude. I love traveling folks rotarians. I know you are all traveling.

Heiko Dobrikow: But you won’t believe there are a few clubs out in this world.

Adi Soozin: People we are.

Heiko Dobrikow: So you won’t believe how many rotarians you actually meet internationally and you won’t believe how minded they all are. I think if we do a personality survey or predictive index survey, right? We probably all have certain ingredients that are very similar that make us so minded. Right? And I think that’s what that was important for me to have to get local connections to get Global Connections and really see how that is working out.

Heiko Dobrikow: Another item that was important to me was inspiring the Next Generation, right? Because I was completely gift as a young Ripper Snapper when I came fresh out of college at 25 years old and…

Adi Soozin: Yeah.

Heiko Dobrikow: I was taking another wings of a rotary and Vietnam vet right and You have to this paying forward that was given to me as a gift. I have to pay forward right and a lot of times when I introduce myself. I don’t introduce myself as a hotel. Yeah, I introduce myself as a mentor, and I just hear wanting to help other people to get better and I think if

Heiko Dobrikow: Fixate ourselves in helping the folks that are coming behind us, for me. My legacy is kind of behind me already. I’m kind of at the tail and of my journey but there are some Future Leaders behind me right that I think that will be an inspirational and…

Adi Soozin: 


Heiko Dobrikow: will really do a great job in taking service above self to the next level. So that’s kind of what made me take for rotary.

Adi Soozin: and what is One thing that you’d want to call those thinking of joining Rotary International.

Heiko Dobrikow: Why did you have to give me a difficult question? Can you give me an easy question? thing

Adi Soozin: I know you’ve already shared so much rotary is one of those few organizations where you can actually go and you get mentored while you’re doing service projects and while you’re giving back to the community or you get to Mentor the Next Generation. There’s a lot that you’ve poured in but if you had to just give one final thing, what would

Heiko Dobrikow: Yeah be easy. it’s Namaste. I’m giving you 46,000 and 1.2 million. That’s my reason why because fellow rotarians. It is Our obligation to grow Rotary International from the 46,000 clubs that we have in the world and I think the 1.2 million members. I think it’s higher even though it’s 1.4 million. I might be wrong. But if you just think about that right growing.

Heiko Dobrikow: The strength of rotary and really giving service to your community to your city to your county to your state to your nation to your world. I think the one reason is to grow this kind of movement because it is a movement folks. It is something that is Unstoppable. We are on a rated club, right? we are an organization as Rotary International. I think our vision needs to be to bring more of these minded folks to Rotary that want to make a difference in community build community and at the end of the day leave a better world and if we can find more rotarians out there and grow our various clubs and add new clubs out there and grow our membership.

Heiko Dobrikow: I think if there’s one reason that should be the driving Vision that we all should have in leaving a legacy behind and leaving a better Club behind. So maybe that’s my answer.

Adi Soozin: Thank o I appreciate it. And for those of you not know heiko is a great person to call if you are a moral develop your life how the heck do I take all this complexity and organize it into a clear plan of action within 20 minutes. No pressure. I hope is one of those rotary mentors that is I have called on it at least once but thank you so much. I

Heiko Dobrikow: Buddy, that’s very nice of you to say but fellow rotarians I want you to look at adii ADI is a brand genius. And I think she is going to take the rotary brand. In our area and hopefully then in the district and hopefully then even to a larger portion to new levels because at the end of the day, we as rotarians always had the difficulty to tell the story. What is our elevator pitch right or how do we Define the brand or how do we talk about the brand and you get somebody that has transformed Fortune 500 companies like ADI, we are blessed to have her and see how she’s gonna help us and educate us to

Heiko Dobrikow: Come better story tell us because at the end of the day folks want to hear a great story that makes fear it makes him feel good and takes them into the next aspect of their Journey that they may want to join rotary because they say, these are the type of people that I want to be part of and so ADI, I want to thank you for being such a genius when it comes to putting that together. I saw your presentation and you literally gave me goosebumps when you did that presentation, and We’re just blessed to have you. Thank you so much.

Adi Soozin: Thank Everybody tuned in and we look forward to seeing you on the next episode. If you heiko for taking the time to share all of that with us you give us a lot of things for people to listen to dive into sick their teeth into I look forward to seeing you all back on our next episode. Have a good day.Heiko Dobrikow: Bye-bye everybody.

Adi Soozin is a 3rd generation Rotarian and the Public Image Chair for District 6990.

She has a Bachelor's Degree in Medicinal & Biological Chemistry from PBAU & an MBA from IE Business School. She started her career with a guerrilla marketing company in 2009. It was here that she first learned about the fast paced world of marketing when she worked with her boss on projects for Porsche, Whole Foods, Target & Disney.

After this, she was selected to manage Apple sales on a NATO base in northern Italy. She doubled sales within 12 months, which is why her boss documented her strategies and had them replicated across all of our locations in Western Europe.

As of now, the fastest she has grown a company is from “idea on paper”, to $108,757,750 in sales in less than 5 years. By its seventh year, this company closed more than a quarter billion in sales. This is why her strategies and playbooks are used by 1000s of marketers & agencies across 59 countries via

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