August 20, 2021

Unpaid intern turned business cultivator

Let’s start by getting to know you a little better. Tell us about yourself.

My name is Doug Austin. I’m a NYC kid who grew up all across the United States. I went to college in Texas and then back to NYC to begin my advertising career. Today I live in Missouri with my wife and french bulldog, Nina. We have two boys: Cole, 23 and Willem, 19. I met my wife at an agency in Dallas (a long time ago) and have worked side-by-side with her for 28 years. Today, we spend our time outdoors as much as possible.  

My career in advertising has spanned more than three decades. During that time I’ve had a front row seat to the evolution of marketing and how consumers respond/react to messaging. What a ride that has been. The first major shift I witnessed truly fueled my desire to lean into innovation in all aspects of what we do and what I did for clients along the way. It was a way to stay ahead of the curve, carve out a leverageable point of difference for me and the agencies I worked for and probably most important, for the clients we served. Living through what I describe as three significant shifts in marketing application has prepared me to anticipate the next shift, and the next shift, and the next shift whenever they may show up.

What’s something you love to do?

If I could people watch all day long, I would. I am, and have always been, fascinated by human behavior, and I suppose that innate interest is what drew me to advertising in the first place. While I can’t say it’s a hobby or sport, it certainly is my favorite thing to do.

More traditional hobbies include hiking, kayaking and any sport that includes being outside. 

What’s your favorite place?

My favorite place is on my boat with my wife.  

What do you love about the job?

So many things. I love that I am trusted to create a narrative for a brand that honors them among the folks they want to reach and in a way that invites them to action. I love that I can have a hand in helping colleagues discover and exercise their creative thinking in a way that solves complex problems. I love that I have a hand in helping to build a thriving work culture that is built on trust and respect which provides a safe place for folks to freely share their creative gifts. I love that I get to show up every day knowing that I may be presented with a challenge I’ve never seen before. I love that this career has never been boring for me and that every day presents a platform to create.

What is the last thing you binge-watched?


What’s your favorite book?

The Bible

If you could live in any sitcom, which would it be?

Friends because who doesn’t want to hang around a coffee shop all day with their friends. Duh.

Are you a listener or a talker?


If you had to eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?

A big slice of New York-style pizza.

If there weren’t any more computers, what would be your new occupation?

It would still be Advertising. I started before there were computers. 

What’s the scariest thing you’ve done for fun?

Backpacked Europe as a teenager using paper maps and books.

What’s your favorite children’s story?

Stinky Cheese Man

If you had an extra hour of free time every day, what would you spend it doing?

Watching people at the train station.

Any words of advice?

My dad had a great saying: “mind your business.” This simple statement had about 100 meanings. It could literally mean it’s none of your business. It could be a reminder to keep your own business in check or when you are getting a little too big for your britches, a way to check yourself. It could mean don’t gossip. And on and on. I’ve adopted that saying and passed it on to my own kids.

Why Schaefer?

Ken and his vision for the next 10 years.