Doug Feick, GC and SVP of Corporate Development,fulfills a triune role as an administrator, manager and chief legal officer at the international online marketplace
Doug Feick, an accomplished senior legal and business executive, began his professional career as an Associate at a corporate law firm in southern California that focused on entrepreneurial technology businesses and software. He became intrigued with the team approach he witnessed at the firm, and felt drawn to the idea of being part of an internal management and advisory group, rather than solely an outside advisor.
So, after practicing for six years with the firm, Feick began to pursue work that encompassed broader legal matters and corporate development activities. Since that time, his positions have included General Counsel (GC) at a subsidiary of AOL; Vice President (VP) of Corporate Development and Associate GC International at Yahoo! Inc.; and Executive VP of Business Affairs and GC at ChoiceStream Inc. Feick presently serves as GC and Senior VP of Corporate Development at IronPlanet, a leading international online marketplace for used heavy equipment. It’s a post he’s held for three years.
Feick explained that his work at IronPlanet is dynamic and complex, and his company role is triune in nature. One part focuses on administration. He handles operational tasks, receives reports from office management, and oversees the Human Resources Department.
The second part of his position involves managing the Corporate Development and Strategy group. Feick’s group handles acquisitions and strategic deals; helps assess and develop new, effective business strategies; and tries to find innovative avenues in which to guide the company forward. He shared the guiding question of the strategic department: “How do we continue to drive improvements in our business and take on special projects to do that?”
Feick’s third function at IronPlanet is as GC. As the Chief Legal Officer, his responsibilities encompass risk management, contracts, advisories, managing outside counsel and litigation, and handling any legal matters that may arise. He works closely with a small internal team and his vast outside counsel network to skillfully handle all of IronPlanet’s legal needs.
The Daily Triage
Feick is one of the six members of IronPlanet’s executive committee, acting as a steward of the entire business. Because the company has offices all over the U.S. and Europe and serves a worldwide market, the executives’ duties are immense and multidimensional. The team must be adept at switching gears from handling operational tasks to strategic business planning and problem-solving.
“The biggest challenge,” Feick said, “is [figuring out how to] triage and manage things on a day-to-day basis.” Most executives and business professionals realize the importance of wise time management and the ability to quickly change their proverbial hats. “That focus shift takes effort. You have to really be judicious with how you carve out your time.”
Feick accomplishes this by rising early each day, completing his exercise workout, and then reviewing and prioritizing the day’s activities. “I’ve got a to-do list that’s a mile long, so it’s a matter of triage.”
Channeling Creative Technologies
This triage mentality applies to both corporate and private life. Feick, who is an avid runner, devoted husband and father of four, explains that thoughtful planning is key to achieving work-life balance. He has used a variety of innovative modules to help him blend and manage his work and family time.
For instance, during his business trips, he monitors and assists his middle-school-age son with homework using Facetime and a Dropbox folder. This enables them to essentially work side by side, and helps him share in parental responsibilities even while away. Making good use of creative technologies has better enabled Feick to keep his priorities in alignment.
Feick contends that a genuine, community-based approach in business fosters success in the corporate world, whereas insincere, self-centered networking tactics are not effective. “I’ve always hated the word ‘networking,’ quite honestly. It has sort of a smarmy taint to it,” Feick said. “[Networking] is more about an interest basis, a friendship basis and a common interest basis. It’s about commonality of purpose.”
He illustrated the value of a community-based approach in a recent event. When Feick was in need of a specific type of litigation counsel for a tricky case in Texas, he called on one of his friends in the area, the former GC of Yahoo! Inc., to inquire about recommendations. His contact referred him to a firm that precisely met his needs. Feick later had the opportunity to return that favor and provide his friend with fundraising referrals that he needed.
“It’s a give and a take,” he noted. “If you’re just out there networking trying to get stuff, take it for you and be selfish, people are going to see through that really quickly.”
Humility Over Arrogance
The general mindset in the tech business industry during his years at AOL and Yahoo! Inc., according to Feick: “They were the hard-chargers of Silicon Valley. There was a lot of arrogance within these types of businesses.”
The industry may have been wrought with egotism, but Feick valued a more humble and personable style. “I think humility is very important in terms of being able to get stuff done,” he said. “If you’re difficult to deal with, I personally don’t think you’ll do well in business.”
Rather than becoming infected with haughtiness, Feick has found that keeping down-to-earth and approachable is instrumental in bolstering one’s career.♦
Creating Your Own Destiny
Your future isn’t happenstance; rather, you affect the outcome of your life, according to Feick. “Good things happen to those people that are earnest and work hard and are genuine,” he said. “You create your own destiny by doing that.”
Feick recommends honing the following three qualities in order to mindfully create your desired destiny:
- Be thoughtful. Think before you act, care about others, and be observant.
- Be diplomatic. You must be able to work well with others in the business world.
- Be hardworking. Forgo any sense of entitlement. Focus and elbow grease create destiny.
Investing in Fitness
For Feick, exercise is a priority. He carves out the time to work out six days a week, alternating between running and TRX workouts. “It’s for my health,” he said. “It’s an investment in me and my family. [Fitness] is a requirement for me and allows me to think more clearly.”
As part of his regimen, Feick completes 6-12 mile trail runs each week with 24 Lost Soles, a running group comprised of more than a dozen dads who are business and medical professionals. They’ve accomplished feats including the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim, as well as the 200-plus-mile Calistoga to Santa Cruz 12-man relay run.
Doug's Key Partners:Faegre Baker Daniels (Commercial Litigation matters) | Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP (Intellectual Property) | Carrington, Coleman, Sloman & Blumenthal LLP (Litigation, Employment and M&A) | The ABD Team (Insurance & Financial Services) | McDonnell Law Group (Complex transactions counsel)
Professional profiles, photojournalism, and legal writing are Sunny's specialties; her personal, creative, edgy approach makes her stand apart in the industry. Her clientele has included over three dozen law firms around the country; international businesses such as LiveStrong and Howcast; American favorites like Family Fun and Natural News; and regional publications such as Rutherford Woman and Conch Color.
As a mom of six, fitness enthusiast, and self-employed business woman, she stays busy in her island home with her middle school sweetheart and husband Michael, and makes time to travel regularly. If she's not jogging on down the islands, shooting an event, or writing up a storm, you can find her at Sunfire Creatives or on Facebook.
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