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  • April 04, 2024 3 min read

    Charlie Siracusa on Building a Career: Discipline, Relationships, and Resilience

    Charlie Siracusa is a seasoned professional whose career has been marked by a fortuitous blend of hard work and timely opportunity. After completing an impactful stint of eleven months at Tyr Sport—a prestigious swim company known for sponsoring Olympic athletes—he wrapped up his tenure there in mid-November 2021. Intent on a sabbatical filled with tennis and daily training, his plans were soon interrupted by an unexpected call that would set his path in a new direction. 

    This call was from John Oler, a contact he had helped out 25 years prior, demonstrating the long-lasting impact of networking and professional goodwill. John had climbed the ranks over the years and had become the executive vice president of Dunham Sports, a notable retail chain in Michigan boasting an impressive 256 stores. 

    It was through sheer luck that this reconnection occurred, thanks to Charlie's earlier willingness to do a favor for John Oler when he was merely a buyer. This favor had been done in collaboration with Charlie's good friend, Steve Carter, whom he remembers fondly and with respect, noting his passing. 

    Charlie's story exemplifies the value of maintaining relationships over the years and being open to opportunities. His dedication to his career and his commitment to his connections have helped him to build a fulfilling and enduring professional journey. 

    Highlights of this Episode: 

    1. Charlie's reflections on family, starting with his father's influence and a family dynamic filled with love and laughter. 

    2. Chad's personal account of his grandfather's peculiarities and how these shaped his own views on work and life. 

    3. Charlie's extensive career, from his early days stocking shelves to his rise to becoming a key industry player, and his networking finesse that continues to support the teams he works with. 

    4. The emphasis on building a community around best work practices and driving brand success through intentional partnerships. 

    5. The power of storytelling as Charlie and Chad recounts incidents that outline the importance of appearance, professionalism, and authenticity in any field. 

    6. An emotional segment where Charlie discusses the profound impact of grief and how it fueled his passion for meaningful work. 

    3 Key Takeaways from this Episode:

    1. Charlie Siracusa's mother was a pilot during World War II and a former Breck shampoo model, which her children didn't find out until she woke. 

    2. Chad Ward's grandfather, whom he admired, always wore suspenders and an unlit cigar, which incidentally saved his life during a fall where he broke his back. 

    3. Charlie Siracusa has intense personal discipline, including setting his alarm with matching hours and minutes and logging every workout since 1978.

      Listen Here: 


      Reflections on 9/11: "He said, we got to do something for the people at ground zero. Figure out the inventory that we have. Figure out what you have in bulk orders. Let's figure out what we need for the balance of the year, and then take about 25% of that, and let's get it to ground zero." 

      — Charlie Siracusa 

      10 Lessons from the Episode:    

      1. Authenticity Matters - Being genuine to your values in personal and professional life was emphasized. 

      2. Patience Pays Off - Discussions highlighted the value of patience in career growth and the development of business relationships. 

      3. Work Ethic - The work ethic observed in the family and the pride in craftsmanship, even without direct instruction, was influential. 

      4. Start Small - Starting at the bottom and learning through various tasks, such as stocking shelves, is crucial for building a solid career foundation. 

      5. Network Power - The significance of connections in the industry and how they pave the way for future opportunities was discussed. 

      6. Discipline - Maintaining personal discipline, like waking up early and tracking workouts, was shared as a critical factor in success. 

      7. Relationship Building - Building partnerships and nurturing relationships in the marketplace is vital for growth and success. 

      8. Appearance Counts - Always showing up professionally and being ready to engage was stressed as highly important for credibility. 

      9. Giving Back - Sharing experiences in giving back and positively impacting others was a common theme. 

      10. Traditional Values - Embracing traditional work values and creating demand through strategic partner selection and storytelling about the brand was highlighted.