Daphne Large started Data Facts in 1989. It remains a 100% woman-owned business, something the company’s president and CEO said makes her proud. But she’s possibly just as proud or even more so about how the company’s employees give back to the community. It’s at the core of what Data Facts does, and it’s all employee-driven.
“We’re excited about the culture that our people develop,” Large said. “You can’t force a culture on people. They have to buy in. You have to lead by example but people have to carry the torch.”
Data Facts started with a focus on mortgage credit reporting and expanded to include national and international background screening in 1991. Large had three employees in the company’s first office in Clark Tower. The company today has two Memphis offices in Cordova, and offices in Houston, Little Rock and compliance, sales, and marketing staff who work remotely across the Southeast U.S., Arkansas and Texas. There are 65 employees and many contractors across the country.
The company enjoys a diverse client base across all 50 states.
Background screening is pretty much the only career Large has known. A native Memphian, she began working at Equifax Services at 16 and stayed there until 27, including during her studies at the University of Memphis. It was at that point she left to start Data Facts, and the company has been going strong the past 28 years since July of 1989.
Data Facts’ background screening service does everything from national criminal data base searches, county, state and federal criminal court checks to employment verifications, education, driving records, drug screening, E-Verify and I-9 employment eligibility verification and assessments. The lending solutions division helps mortgage bankers close loans offering a robust suite of services to include credit reports, tax return retrieval, SSN and VOE verifications, fraud detection tools, credit analytics, appraisal management and more. Their business credit reporting services helps when one business wants to know about another before offering loans, credit terms or maybe just have a need to know more about a potential business partner.
“Over the years in background screening and the banking and mortgage worlds, compliance requirements and expectations as well as technology have evolved and increased exponentially. We have evolved as well and reinvented ourselves many times over throughout these 28 years,” Large said.
Part of Data Facts’ core is giving back through the years in leadership roles in various industry organizations. Those efforts naturally have driven the company’s people to get more involved in the community, too.
“I believe that to whom much is given much is expected,” Large said. “Giving back is in our DNA. We operate that way as a company. We believe if we take care of our people, they will take care of our customers who in turn take care of Data Facts. It starts with treating our people fairly and building a culture, then giving back to our industries and communities. It’s what we need to do.”
Yes, the Memphis-based company makes financial contributions to various organizations. But Large said it’s important to take that aspect of giving a step further and become more engaged and involved in the community.
“You have to be part of the solution, not the problem,” she said. “It’s easy to sit back and point out what’s wrong but we need to get involved.”
Data Facts has organizations it supports on an ongoing basis, including Youth Villages, Make-A-Wish Mid-South, and many others. The company makes financial donations to the organizations, employees spend time with these groups and various team members serve on boards; Large, for example, serves on the Youth Villages’ West Tennessee Board and is the Chairman of the New Memphis Institute Board, serves on the University of Memphis LEAD Board and has served on Make-A-Wish Mid-South board and another team member serves on its Associate Board.
Volunteers from Data Facts serve Youth Villages in a variety of ways, such as Halloween pumpkin decoration and Easter egg hunts with children. Data Facts sponsors and its employees host the Youth Villages’ annual foster family Christmas party and they sponsor children for Christmas Gifts through the Youth Villages Holiday Hero’s program.
Data Facts has sponsored many wishes for Make-A-Wish, and often dress up as super heroes or Disney characters.
“We have people based across the Southeast, Arkansas and Texas and by and large they’re all engaged with giving back in their communities. Some help with battered women and animal rescue organizations,” Large said.
There also is anonymous giving. Sometimes employees know someone struggling and they quietly bring the situation to light so team members can rally around that person. One example is a few years ago through an effort of an employee’s church, Data Facts helped put air conditioning units inside homes.
“It’s fun. You feel like you change a life for a moment,” Large said. “Our people are giving and involved, they mentor. We love to touch the lives of real people who might not otherwise have the resources. We don’t do it to be self-serving, never for that.”
Data Facts has an engagement team that organizes the giving back efforts. There aren’t formal volunteer days. Basically, if an employee wants to go read to a school classroom or volunteer at Youth Villages they do it.
The company has a give back program that allows its clients to get in on the effort, too. Ten percent of a customer’s first bill goes to the charity of their choice. Sometimes it’s one of the organizations Data Facts supports and sometimes it’s one in that particular client’s hometown. It doesn’t matter if the client has a $30,000 bill or $500, 10 percent of those checks all quickly add up.
Large is passionate about the organizations she supports and the work they do to improve Memphis. She supports New Memphis Institute, for example, because she’s attracted to its mission to attract and retain talent to Memphis.
“That’s so important because employers won’t come here if we don’t have talent here,” she said. “That organization has done wonders in working with HR leaders across the city. It’s a wonderful way to expose Memphis newcomers to Memphis and current Memphians to Memphis. … As a native Memphian and Memphis business owner I feel it’s my job to do what I can to elevate Memphis.”