Douglas McDermott's work as president and CEO of the Farmington Chamber of Commerce puts him in the heart of his community, and that's just where he wants to be. McDermott got his start at Southeast Missouri State University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in mass communications and a master's degree in higher education administration. He then worked for Southeast's alumni association and foundation before sharing his experience and knowledge with others as a public relations instructor. In 2010, he left to go back to his hometown to head up the Farmington Chamber. Working with businesses comes naturally to McDermott, who grew up in a family business, Plaza Pool and Spa, owned by his parents Carleen and Jerry. McDermott's move back to Farmington came just a few months before his father was diagnosed with cancer. Before passing away in July 2011, McDermott says his father taught him the best leadership lesson he's ever seen. He watched him work as hard as he could up until just a few weeks before he passed away to serve customers, some of whom he'd worked with for 40 years.
What's your No. 1 goal at work?
Easily put, growing a stronger Farmington. That's our tagline, but it's really what we do. Each year, we set a plan of work to try and build connections to provide creative solutions to area needs. As long as we keep focused on that, we'll continue to remain a strong chamber of commerce and a strong community.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by watching talent succeed. There is nothing better than seeing something special in a volunteer or staff member, opening them to an opportunity and watching them embrace it and shine. Every day I strive to be an even better talent scout.
What's the secret to your success?
The secret of my success is surrounding myself with people who are different from me because they add special value to my life I couldn't get on my own. Whether it's in personal life or professional, as long as we're working toward the same goals, I'm stronger with a team of colleagues and friends who challenge my thinking and bring their own personalities to the game.