DOYO: Helping Youngstown Help Itself

By Gabrielle Fellows

DOYO Live is a marketing and interactive design conference being held on Aug. 4 in the Williamson College of Business Administration at Youngstown State University.

The conference is the first of its kind in the area and will feature speakers and panels from innovators in the valley as well as international guests.

Dennis Schiraldi, DOYO Live’s founder and owner of CYO Marketing, said he developed the idea for the conference after attending the Mayo Clinic Social Media Healthcare Summit in Rochester, Minn. three years ago.

“I have three small children, 7, 5 and 3. It’s very important that when I’m not working, I’m at home with them. The Mayo Clinic is not easy to get to…Plus there’s not much in Rochester,” Schiraldi said. “That night, I threw myself into bed at 2 a.m. and thought ‘there’s got to be a better way.’” 

After his epiphany in Minnesota, Schiraldi began working on a way to bring a conference of this capacity to Youngstown. His first step was to make sure the conference would capture the attention of business professionals in the area.

“If you go to LinkedIn, you can find 300,000 people with marketing in their title that live within 75 miles of Youngstown. That’s not counting business owners, UX designers or sales executives,” Schiraldi said. “So I checked the boxes on critical mass, the fact there’s a void locally for marketing professionals to get access to ongoing education, networking, etc. That’s at a world class level.”

YSU professors RJ Thompson and Adam Earnhardt are also assisting with the production of DOYO Live.

Thompson, an assistant professor of graphic and interactive design at YSU, is overseeing the design of different aspects of DOYO Live and providing direction on certain presentations at the event.

He said he believes this conference will help Youngstown fully understand how professional design and marketing can help attract customers and bring corporations into the 21st century.

“Businesses… might not have access to good resources or might not be able to afford them,” Thompson said. “This conference will teach people how to appeal and market to their audience. For Youngstown to become a ‘new’ city, not a crime capital or a boring place, we need strategic players to step up and bring enthusiasm to others living here.”

Schiraldi said that he thinks there is potential for DOYO Live to grow in the future alongside the growth of the city itself.

“We will likely integrate buildings and food establishments into the mix,” he said. “Going from 200 people this year to 500 to eventually a 1,000.”

For more information, pricing and the schedule for DOYO Live, visit