EDITOR’S NOTE: The following story appeared in the Aug. 21 issue of the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal. “Then & Now” is a profile of a past member of the Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 class.
After he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, Seth Mohorn received an outpouring of love and support from not only friends, family and colleagues but also thousands of others, many of whom were his clients.
“It was humbling and very encouraging,” he said.
More than three years ago, Mohorn was diagnosed with medullary carcinoma of the thyroid, affecting 1% of people with cancer. Until recently, he had been taking a chemotherapy drug to treat it. He was taken off the drug after experiencing kidney failure, but he hopes to take it again after his kidneys recover.
Mohorn, 45, is managing partner for Howard, Mohorn and Associates. The business provides Dale Carnegie training to companies throughout the mid-South, including Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas. It serves between 450-500 clients, and about 80% of the business is comprised of repeat customers. The remainder is from organic growth.
When Mohorn was named to the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 class in 2004, he was overseeing the Northwest Arkansas market for Jerry Wilson & Associates, which also offered Dale Carnegie training. Globally, Dale Carnegie training is offered to 450 of the Fortune 500 companies. Its franchises are in 89 countries, and the training is offered in 30 languages.
In 1996, he started working for Jerry Wilson & Associates, and in 1998, he moved to Springdale to lead the company’s Northwest Arkansas market. In four years, he doubled sales and added another employee. He set a five-year goal to increase sales between 12% and 15% annually and to add two more full-time consultants. “We have far eclipsed that,” he said.
The company has increased revenue by 30% since he and a few partners established Howard, Mohorn and Associates 10 years ago. It’s also added six staff members and 18 trainers. The company has a total of 15 employees and 30 trainers and offices in Springdale, Little Rock and Memphis.
Since 1995, the Dale Carnegie franchise here has been ranked as one of the top-20 revenue producing franchises. When he moved here from Little Rock, his office was in north Springdale, but it was relocated to 2837 Arapaho Road in south Springdale about 13 years ago.
Some of the biggest changes in the Dale Carnegie training since he started offering it have been clients have wanted more of it in a digital platform, and they have sought a more customized solution tailored specifically to their needs.
The training includes anything related to soft skills such as leadership involvement, management training, communication and customer service. Mohorn works with clients from all sectors including healthcare, higher education, secondary education, manufacturing and transportation.
While he considers the outpouring of love and support after his diagnosis his greatest achievement, “I’m most proud of the team we’ve built,” he said. They are honest, trustworthy and do what they say they are going to do. He attributes his success to his team, strong mentorship from his business partners and God.
He and his partners purchased the Dale Carnegie franchise here 10 years ago. His business partners included Donald “Buddy” Wray, Les Risner and Daren Howard. After Wray died in early 2016, his partners absorbed Wray’s ownership part.
Over the years, the company has acquired three businesses and expanded into Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee. In the next five years, he hopes to continue to expand into Missouri, Tennessee and Oklahoma, add sales representatives to the existing offices and increase top-line revenue by 20%.
Since he was diagnosed with cancer, he’s not been able to offer training, but he continues to meet with companies and handle the consulting work. He matches the company’s solutions to the needs of the client, and in some cases, the outcome is to keep their doors open.
“I enjoy the connectivity with people,” he said. He also enjoys helping clients to thrive and to “achieve goals they never thought they would achieve.”
Mohorn is a volunteer for the United Way, offers discounts to nonprofits and provides scholarships to religious organizations and area high school students. He and his wife have two children, and they enjoy traveling. His other hobby is his work, he said. “I really enjoy feeling needed.”