Dallas-based businessman, Adrian Parker, talks with us about overcoming obstacles, taking risks and the importance of learning from past failures.
Adrian D. Parker
Vice President, Digital Marketing
The Patrón Tequila and Grey Goose Vodka at Bacardi
What is your passion?
Launching and leading change. For the last 10 years, none of the roles I’ve held existed at the companies before. I love to produce business results by solving people’s problems and I’ve built a career out of doing things differently—which is the very core of the Patron Tequila brand.
Dog or cat?
Dog. Cats hate me, and the feeling has become mutual.
Briefly, what is your story?
For most of my early years I had no clue about the food stamps, Salvation Army clothes and church offerings that sustained my family. One night when I was in middle school, we were cleaning a senior citizen center and my dad pulled me aside. He told me he wouldn’t be able to help me with college. From that day on, I knew I had to work smarter and trust God harder than my classmates. Looking back, I realize poverty was a privilege because we were rich in what mattered.
From Patron Tequila and Turbo Tax to Nike and Apple, I’ve worked for and with some really amazing organizations. What I’m most proud of are the people I’ve led and learned from.
How would you define your style?
Corporate cool kid. Button-downs, denim, sneakers and funny socks are my predictable staples—but I can throw on a tailored blazer, Windsor knot and a tuxedo with the best of them.
What inspires you?
Change. I’m a CFO, Chief Failure Officer, with robust experience discovering just how unqualified I am in every area of life. I launched a line of ESPN hoodies at Foot Looker that my own mother wouldn’t even buy. I ran my own marketing agency, for 4 years, right into the ground.
At Patron, we just launched a 3D virtual tour of our distillery via Oculus Rift goggles, Apple mobile apps, global events and almost 100 Samsung Gear VR units across the world. That’s the kind of change that only happens when you swing big, and know what striking out feels like.
What is your favorite piece of clothing or accessory?
It’s a toss up between my Chuck Taylors and my Levi’s. Both are perfectly suited for rolling into a boardroom meeting or onto a rug for a wrestling match with my 2-year-old son. I used to own more than 70 pairs of crazy expensive shoes and spend $150+ on “designer jeans”. Guess what? My Chucks and Levi’s last longer, fit fine and leave more room in my wallet for important things, like coffee and baby-sitters.
What is your favorite thing about living in your city?
I went to college in Florida, worked in New York City for 5 years and swore I would never return to the Dallas/Fort Worth area after growing up here. Now I’m back and can’t imagine a better place to raise a family, build a career and enjoy some of the best Texas has to offer.
Where is your favorite local place to eat?
My last meal will be the grilled salmon, mashed potatoes and broccoli from DeVivo Brothers Eatery in Keller, Texas.
What is your favorite thing to do in your spare time?
Fatherhood actually drives a lot of my hobbies. I have two little life coaches at home that make the words “spare time” laughable but—but being a dad to Caleb, 2, and Chloe, 8 months, is my absolute favorite job.
What are you currently reading?
The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Piece is an amazing, 290-page gut check. The book is a sobering reminder that the line between where we are and where we could have been is imperceptibly thin and fragile.
What is your travel must-have?
Gold Bond hand sanitizer moisturizer. It’s a 2-in-1 antibacterial lotion and I use it frequently. Have you ever counted how many guys don’t wash their hands in the men’s room? It’s mildly disturbing.
Any travel tips?
Life is too short to get to the airport too early or spend lots of time in the Admirals Club. Go to the bookstore and read 1 page of a book that you would never buy. Say thanks to a member of the armed forces. Use the first class bathroom on your flight if it’s closer. Always text your spouse when you takeoff and land.
What Moore & Giles product(s) do you use?
For work and travel, the Crews Backpack is my go-to and it’s always a conversation starter in the airport security line. Someone referred to it as a “forever bag” and it is, there’s nothing to trade up to. The PDT Cocktail Book is a great recipe reference piece for my office at Patron and I keep the Bar Rollup at home next to my tequila collection. I also own everyday items like the Snap Business Card Case, bookmark and picture frame. They elevate the ordinary and are fantastic interpretations of the seemingly commonplace.
What is it about leather that you think resonates with men?
Like men, leather is an oxymoron. It’s raw, yet refined. It’s natural, but luxurious. It protects and preserves, but it also enhances. Leather is one of the few materials that men can wear better than women. Excluding leather pants of course.