Like Father, Like CEO

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A Father’s Day Tribute to Tex Douglas

By Nancy Case

 

“There would be no Marketing Doctor without this man.”

~Janet Casey, Marketing Doctor President and Tex’s daughter.

 

Tex Douglas and Janet Casey

 

Tex loves conversation.

“He’s a retired salesman,” Janet says with a smile. “He’ll talk your ear off.”

She continues, “When my father goes to a doctor’s appointment or the like, he comes out with lots of new friends: everyone in the waiting room, and all of the staff he interacted with. He always remembers their names and their stories.”

 

Janet also loves conversation:

Marketing Doctor Account Executive and Sales Developer Kate Popp says, “It’s really fun when I get to travel for business with Janet. Whether we’re at the airport or out for lunch, within seconds she’s making friends with strangers. It’s a delight.”

 

What triggered this conversation?

As a way for our team at Marketing Doctor to get to know each other, upon hire we each fill out a questionnaire: 15 Things We Didn’t Know About You. It’s a fun ice-breaker and the answers can range from intriguing to silly, shocking to inspiring. When Janet filled hers out, her very first fact said, “I am just like my father.” This sparked interest, and we wanted to find out just how alike they really are.

 

 

Tex pops into the Marketing Doctor headquarters often, and the team adores him. He’s thoughtful and friendly- a true conversationalist.

 

Janet tells us this story:

“My Dad was a salesman, on the road in the beverage business for four decades. He was well known and truly loved in the 413 (Western Massachusetts). When I was the age where you hang out at restaurants and bars I would anonymously ask managers and owners how much they liked their various sales reps, and invariably they would rattle names off. They’d stop and rave about my father. I remember a friend at the time saying to me, you better be careful doing that without telling people who you are, sooner or later you are going to find someone who doesn’t like him.  It never happened. Never once did I ever hear anything but glowing comments about him.”

 

A little back story:

Tex grew up in rural Arkansas, and when he was three years old, his father died. “My mother was a widow,” he said, “she had three kids and three dollars.” Tex (this is his full first name) is known as “Ricky” back home in Arkansas. A nickname that he’s had since he was a kid, derived from his middle name, Rickard. “My older brothers gave me this nickname.” They didn’t think the name Tex was a good fit.

According to Tex, there wasn’t much to do in his hometown. “My mother didn’t have a car. If it wasn’t for the Community Center, I don’t know what I would have done.” Truman, Arkansas had a population of approximately 3,500 back then. The Community Center was a place to gather, it had “a full basketball court, small library, and a big foyer” for clubs to meet.

     The older I get, the smarter my parents get.

Gladys, Tex’s mom, went on to make a living as an entrepreneur, running a small grocery store (open 8am to 8pm), and making smart real estate decisions as a landlord. “She had a tremendous influence on me,” Tex says. Gladys died of breast cancer in her early 60s.

Tex grew up when Rock and Roll was just coming onto the scene. It’s still his favorite genre of music. “I was raised right where it started,” he said. “My first concert was at the Overton Park Shell in Memphis. It was outside. Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, and Carl Perkins. Carl Perkins was the headliner, but Johnny Cash stole the show; Roy Orbison was just starting out. And Elvis showed up. He didn’t sing; he just came out on the stage and jumped around. Everyone went crazy. There’s nothing serious about Rock and Roll. It’s gibberish, but it’s fun!”

     They never met a stranger.

Community is important to Tex, and equally as important to Janet. In fact, it’s a value that runs in the family. When we spoke to Sherry Pfeifer, Tex’s dearest cousin from Arkansas, she told us that both Tex and Janet “never met a stranger.” She describes them both as “very giving,” as well as “business oriented and great salespeople.”

Janet never knew her paternal grandmother, but Sherry did. “My Momma was her niece,” Sherry said. “[Gladys’] grocery store in Arkansas was a little wooden building with a Coke machine out front. She would cook in the back… it helped the community.”

Sherry was Janet’s Maid of Honor.

 

Janet grew up in Western Massachusetts, and still lives there with her husband Peter and their four children. She has a brother Duane in Connecticut, a sister LaDonna in Arkansas, and several nieces and nephews.

 

Her parents met in the Air Force; Tex joined the military right after high school. Patricia was an Air Force nurse and they met after Tex broke his leg playing football. Tex says their courtship was “short and intense,” and the rest is history. Pat is known affectionately by her family (and the Marketing Doctor team) as Granny Goose.

 

 

Tex and Goose, 1980.

 

One of the highlights of Janet’s childhood was when her cousins from Arkansas would come visit during the summer. They took family trips to Fenway Park in Boston to see the Red Sox play, to Bar Harbor, Cape Cod, and Montreal.

Janet’s family home was somewhat of a Community Center itself. “We were the only family in the neighborhood with a pool, so all the kids would come and swim. We’d play Atari and ride bikes. Have you seen the show Happy Days? It was like that.”

One of Janet’s childhood friends, Anne Day, says she still calls Tex “Dad” when she runs into him. Anne and Janet played softball together in the Lassie League. They were on the same team: Tex’s Frogs. (Yes, that Tex.) Anne says Tex would “go out of his way for anybody. He’d pick kids up, drop kids off, bring us all for ice cream.” Anne says both Janet and Tex were “welcoming and friendly,” and that they were both “competitive and good sports.”

   Smart cookies.

Janet says she had “never seen my father as proud as he was in 1984 when my brother was valedictorian of his senior class. Just maybe, building Marketing Doctor into a successful multi-million dollar business was my sibling rivalry. It’s still alive and well!”

And Tex can’t say often enough how smart Janet is and how she had a savvy way of getting what she wanted as a child. “She had the ability to talk to you at just the right moment to get what she wanted.” She was deliberate in her timing, and Tex says “she would wait until I wasn’t doing anything important or watching a ball game and she’d climb onto my lap.” She’d first gather the facts, then she’d articulately state her case and ultimately get what she wanted. “Even when she was about five or six years old,” Tex says.

 

In what other ways are Tex and Janet similar?

Visible similarities between the two can be detected right away:

There’s a strong family resemblance, and each has a classic style, Tex in his tassel loafers and Janet in her tailored separates and coordinating jewelry. They both have a great head of hair!

But as you may have noticed, it’s not just their good looks and fashion sense that make them similar. We dug a bit deeper into our conversation and gathered more data. (Marketing Doctor style, of course, using strategic research techniques.) The results were striking.

 

But first, there are some differences.

While Janet loves to watch HGTV real estate shows, Tex would rather sit and read a mystery. “He’s a voracious reader,” Janet says.

Tex describes his daughter as “always creative,” but says, “I’ve never considered myself creative by any stretch.”

“He’s a numbers guy,” Janet says.

When we asked Tex if he could be any animal in the animal kingdom, his answer was pondering and philosophical, exploring whether he’d be a predator, like a bear, or maybe a majestic deer. “A deer,” he finally settled on. “I love deer,” he said.

Janet, with no hesitation, said, “a horse.”

Tex and Janet even agreed that they have different parenting styles. But these differences only confirm what Tex told us: Janet is her own person. “She’s independent. I gave her her freedom.”

Janet repeats this often: “There would be no Marketing Doctor without this man.” This is quite a statement, considering Tex insists that Janet started the business all on her own. “I offered to help,” he said, “but she wanted to do it on her own.”

 

Something they profoundly agree on: Janet’s mom Pat (Tex’s wife) is an extraordinary woman. “A saint.”

 

 

Janet had some pretty straightforward things to say about her dad:

“He’s ambitious… and a straight shooter. If you ask him to do something, he will drop what he’s doing and help. He’s always positive. He does the right thing, even when no one is looking.”

And this is where we knew we struck gold.

This. Janet’s description of Tex: It describes Janet to a T. Janet, too, is a straight shooter. Incredibly ambitious, and she, too, is helpful and always positive. She does the right thing, even when no one is looking.

 

Marketing Doctor.

Much of what Janet leads here at Marketing Doctor can be described as Societal Marketing— marketing focused on increasing the well-being of society. At any given moment, we’re working on campaigns for public health, safety awareness, emergency preparedness, and pro bono work for Look Park and area public schools.

This socially-driven focus makes perfect sense, given the family behind the scenes. And this family dynamic carries over to the Marketing Doctor team. The office culture here is nurtured and protected.

Janet’s six words, “I am just like my father,” started this entire conversation.

She encouraged the 15 Things I Didn’t Know About You initiative, in fact she encourages a variety of team-building activities meant to spark more conversation and real-life, face-to-face encounters, something we’ve begun to lose in a world of digital communication. The result? Workplace interactions that have the potential to build trust and camaraderie. She encouraged us to share, and in turn, shared so much about herself.

In a world of smartphones and artificial intelligence, so much can be overlooked about human nature without in-person interaction. Even the best emoji can’t convey the extent of what we’re thinking and feeling.

So this Father’s Day and beyond, we challenge you to get out there and interact with your fellow humans– in true Tex and Janet fashion. Have a friendly chat with a stranger. With anyone you might be sitting next to. Ask some questions. You never know what you might discover.

 

Janet, Tex and Duane

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