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Business Class: Randy Antik’s Labor of Love

By Randall Kenneth Jones

Originally published in the Naples Daily News
Friday, February 14, 2014

Long before sports columnist Mitch Albom celebrated some very special Tuesdays with a sociology professor named Morrie, Randy Antik was enjoying monthly lunches with a lifelong mentor—a prominent Dallas businessman named Stanley.

Randy’s first encounter with Stanley happened—completely by chance—when he was an 18-year-old intern in New York City.

Years later and still hungry for stimulating conversation, the pair ended up living in the same city and shared regular meals over a period of ten years.

Stanley, who aged from his mid-80s to mid-90s during this time, had only one requirement: every three months Randy was to bring an interesting “young person” to join them.

His preference: someone under 50 to help him “understand what the young people were up to.”

The lunches ended with Stanley’s death on January 22, 2002.

“Stanley,” a.k.a. Harold Stanley Marcus, was the one-time president (1950–1972) and later chairman of the board (1972–1976) of luxury retailer Neiman Marcus.

Though there’s little doubt that Stanley Marcus’s mentoring spirit is a significant part of Randy Antik and his character, Antik credits Marcus—and many other “teachers”—for inspiring his ceaseless urge to promote education, best practices and social issues.

During his career, Antik worked for private families (Pritzger, Carlson, Bass) as well as private equity firms (Warburg Pincus and Wells, Carson, Anderson & Stowe).

Additionally, he was involved in numerous turnaround and fast-growth situations with a strong emphasis on consumer products and marketing service companies.

As CEO for six companies, Antik and his expert leadership resulted in more than $4 billion in revenues.

When retirement loomed, Antik reflected: “I realized I shared a parallel interest—a bouquet of curiosity—with those I valued most.”

A quote from Alistair Cooke also served as inspiration: “Curiosity is free-wheeling intelligence.”

Essentially, Randy Antik thrives on a simple action—one that some feel is in short supply today: thinking.

At some unknown point, an intellectual seed had been planted—one that would ultimately grow, change and dominate his vision for the future.

Antik’s unrelenting notion: “What if I could bring together my greatest teachers for the benefit of others?”

As was the case with Antik, people who live to “inspire” simply do not “retire.”

According to his longtime friend, Peggy Post of The Emily Post Institute: “Randy Antik enjoys other people’s success stories—especially those that inspire others. He has always been passionate about education and helping people gain access to learning.”

With “thought” as a “leading” component of his personal professional development—and motivated by the success of thought-leader conferences such as TED, the Milken Institute and the Aspen Institute—Educator Antik became the champion for the 2008 launch of the annual Imagine Solutions Conference in Naples.

Imagine Solutions Conference LogoNow in its eighth year, Imagine Solutions presents world-class thought leaders to an audience of 500 private-sector leaders on today’s most relevant issues.

More than just “talk,” Antik’s ultimate goal has been to “create a model that links learning with action.”

He adds, “If we can inspire successful people, they will take the ball and run with it.”

Now that’s something to think about.

Randall Kenneth JonesMarketer, publicist, business humoristprofessional-courtesy advocate, branded-content writer, creative-development consultant, and entertaining motivational speaker Randall Kenneth Jones is the creator of RediscoverCourtesy.org and the president of MindZoo, a marketing communications firm in Naples, Florida.