AE100

PORTRAITS IN STYLE AND CULTURE

Meet Charlie Cole, CEO FTD

Tell us about your life’s work.

 

What I’ve learned about your life’s work is that it changes over time. I’ve always approached work as an opportunity to learn and evolve, but then things happen around you and the aperture changes. My life’s work is to help people grow and achieve things that they didn’t know they were capable of. As you grow in your career, how you do that changes massively. Now, as a CEO of a 111-year-old brand as well as the father of two young children, helping people grow takes on a new level of pressure and responsibility.

 

How does your sense of pride inform what you do?

 

Pride is a funny thing. It’s one of those words that can have a remarkably positive connotation sometimes and be very negative other times. I have a simple perspective on this: you should go into every situation in life—every single one—with the goal of being proud of yourself on how you handled it. To be very clear: you aren’t always going to pull it off. We make mistakes and lord knows, I have done a ton of things in my life that I am not proud of, but I got better.

 

Whether it’s how I deal with my son Anders when he is frustrated or how I feel with my wife Elissa when she’s had a hard day, I always want to be proud of myself when I’m done. It’s not about others being proud of you—you can’t control that—but you can approach every situation with the goal of looking at yourself in the mirror and being able to say, “You did good.”

 

What do you want your legacy to be?

 

I played a lot of volleyball in my life and one coaching principle that has stayed with me is, “Better the ball.” Sometimes, plays break down and the ball isn’t where it’s supposed to be so, the best thing you can do is to just try to improve the situation as opposed to being perfect.

 

That’s what I want my legacy to be: I made things better—including myself—constantly. It’s not about striving for perfection, it’s about a relentless pursuit of improvement.

 

What’s your take on classic style?

 

Classic style to me is when someone carries themselves as authentically as possible. That’s what makes style such a great thing. What’s classic for me is not the same as what’s classic for someone else. My daughter Laila, who’s three, has the most classic style of anyone I’ve ever met because every single day she dresses to please herself and no one else. That’s classic style to me.

 

What does leadership mean to you?

 

Doing everything you can to make the team the best it could possibly be every second of every day.

 

“My life’s work inspires me every day. It inspires me to be a better leader, peer, father, husband and friend.”

 

—Charlie Cole, CEO FTD, @CharlieColeIsHere

Tell us about your life’s work.

 

What I’ve learned about your life’s work is that it changes over time. I’ve always approached work as an opportunity to learn and evolve, but then things happen around you and the aperture changes. My life’s work is to help people grow and achieve things that they didn’t know they were capable of. As you grow in your career, how you do that changes massively. Now, as a CEO of a 111-year-old brand as well as the father of two young children, helping people grow takes on a new level of pressure and responsibility.

 

How does your sense of pride inform what you do?

 

Pride is a funny thing. It’s one of those words that can have a remarkably positive connotation sometimes and be very negative other times. I have a simple perspective on this: you should go into every situation in life—every single one—with the goal of being proud of yourself on how you handled it. To be very clear: you aren’t always going to pull it off. We make mistakes and lord knows, I have done a ton of things in my life that I am not proud of, but I got better.

 

Whether it’s how I deal with my son Anders when he is frustrated or how I feel with my wife Elissa when she’s had a hard day, I always want to be proud of myself when I’m done. It’s not about others being proud of you—you can’t control that—but you can approach every situation with the goal of looking at yourself in the mirror and being able to say, “You did good.”

 

What do you want your legacy to be?

 

I played a lot of volleyball in my life and one coaching principle that has stayed with me is, “Better the ball.” Sometimes, plays break down and the ball isn’t where it’s supposed to be so, the best thing you can do is to just try to improve the situation as opposed to being perfect.

 

That’s what I want my legacy to be: I made things better—including myself—constantly. It’s not about striving for perfection, it’s about a relentless pursuit of improvement.

 

What’s your take on classic style?

 

Classic style to me is when someone carries themselves as authentically as possible. That’s what makes style such a great thing. What’s classic for me is not the same as what’s classic for someone else. My daughter Laila, who’s three, has the most classic style of anyone I’ve ever met because every single day she dresses to please herself and no one else. That’s classic style to me.

 

What does leadership mean to you?

 

Doing everything you can to make the team the best it could possibly be every second of every day.

 

“My life’s work inspires me every day. It inspires me to be a better leader, peer, father, husband and friend.”

 

—Charlie Cole, CEO FTD, @CharlieColeIsHere