CEO, Patrón Spirits Company
Before Brown took over as Patrón's president and CEO in 2003, the Las Vegas-based tequila producer was more about cantina margaritas than sophisticated cocktails at high-end bars.
Now the company has grown to about 1,700 employees and gained fame for its epic events and marketing campaigns, which have raised consumer perception of the brand as a high-quality tequila. "Everything has changed," says Brown, who also races cars for Patrón on the professional circuit. "In the early days, I worked on making sure the brand was profitable for everyone, and now we are the single most profitable brand for our distributors."
On a happy staff:
You have to make sure people enjoy coming to work. Without the employees, Patrón would never be what it is, so I tell them, "If you don't absolutely love it, it's time to leave." If I'm not thrilled, it'll be time to sell and move on.
On effective motivational strategies:
It's all about an environment that makes employees feel like family. Lunch is catered every day; I built a church at the distillery because some employees were religious. My whole executive team has never worked in the same building because I felt it was more important that they were where their families were, and if everyone had a happy home life, that would mean a beautiful work life. I also ask employees to multitask, which is important to keep them from getting bored and stuck in a rut--my assistant started as a receptionist, and I have her doing marketing now.