Driving Miss Janie

“If you work just for money, you’ll never make it, but if you love what you’re doing and you always put the customer first, success will be yours.”

—Ray Kroc

This story is contributed by Jane Howze.

My father, a banker, taught me the value of client relationships.

customer relations

Jane (far right) and her father (behind)

One of his customers ran a filling station on the other side of town. I remember every Saturday as a child, driving across town with my dad to get gas from this customer of his. We probably burned up half a tank of gas to go get gas so we could give his customer the business. My dad said his customers deserved nothing less.

Dad not only taught me the value of taking care of your customers, he also taught me the value in taking care of my finances. How serious was he about this? He would almost make the postman wait for him to write checks for the bills he received that day!

My Dad worked with one employer his entire life. When my brother changed jobs after a decade with a bank, my father said, “Son, I hope people won’t think you are a job hopper.”

Like most fathers, he wanted his kids to have more education and opportunities than he had. It was a huge financial sacrifice for him to send his three children to college—I’m not sure how he did it—but he never complained.

My siblings and I followed his lead by working through college and graduate school.

He believed that to keep a job you had to “give more than you got.” This was no doubt a lesson from his experience growing up during the Depression.

Because of my dad’s lessons in customer service, customer loyalty, and financial responsibility, today I lead The Alexander Group, a recognized worldwide leader in executive search, with offices in London, Houston, New York, San Diego, Park City, Utah and San Francisco.

customer relations

Jane Howze

As Managing Director and Founder of The Alexander Group, Ms. Howze has more than 25 years experience in executive search. She has recruited executives worldwide in banking, energy, manufacturing, legal and professional services. She directs Board searches for the firm and is actively involved in the firm’s diversity practice. Ms. Howze is quoted frequently in major business publications, serves as a columnist for CultureMap, and is the author of Best Practices for Executive Search Firms for the Inside the Minds book series.

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