In light of all the things that have happened in the recent weeks and months leading up to Father’s Day, I have gained more respect for my father’s leadership than ever before. It’s hard to ignore how lucky we are as a company and as a family—my dad is aware of that as much as anybody. We have been able to give back to healthcare workers and first responders, who have continuously put their lives on the line during this pandemic. Most recently, we have added our voice to the fight for equality for all that is happening as a result of the tragedy that took place in Minneapolis on May 25th. All of this is a result of direction from my dad.
These actions remind me that my father’s influence goes far beyond our immediate family, which has been the case my entire life. He has always had a sense of duty that extends beyond our immediate family and business. He strives to serve the community, which is something that was imparted on him by his parents. This extends to his service as mayor of the small town where we grew up and has been a part of his professional life in both of the companies where he served as CEO. The biggest impact he has had has been on the stakeholders in our business: our employees, reps, distribution partners and customers. On a daily basis, they all see that my dad’s purpose goes beyond just making products—it’s about helping, inspiring and creating joy in the world. That is perhaps the thing that stands out the most to me as well as our stakeholders and customers. Everyone feels proud to be a part of something bigger than themselves, and I know that brings my dad immense joy in his own life.
It’s great to be able to call the people you work with family, and to extend our family to our partners and customers. If I had to attribute the essence of this quality, I believe it is rooted in something my dad repeated over and over to me as a child. The golden rule, “treat others the way you want to be treated.”
I say all of this not to gloat or fill our heads, but as acknowledgment and recognition of a life lived in the service of others. I respect that about my dad more than anything and recognize others do too. Here are Father’s Day acknowledgments from some of our employees and partners:
"Writing about Father’s Day has much meaning for me working at Feetures. Hugh Gaither is not only the founder and CEO of the Company but is also my boss and serves as a Father figure to me as well. He embodies everything that I strive to be, not only as a person, but as a contributing member of society. There are many times I have had conversations with our retailers about business and they say to me, “I remember the time your dad came to our store, it was very nice of him to do that”. In that moment, I basically tell a white lie and just go along with them. Truth is, I’m honored to be mistaken as one of his sons. I guess they have a hard time hearing the last name Gardner is not Gaither. Anyways have a great Father’s Day to everyone out there!" - Dan Gardner, National Sales Manager
"Working for a family owned company like Feetures is special. Everyone gets treated like family as well. The best thing about working with Hugh, John & Joe is they are similar yet different in ways that helps balance each other. I admire that that they can disagree on things but still be respectful of one another. They truly make it work. At the end of the day, they love and care about one another & we can see it. You can especially see the love that Hugh has for his own family & work family. That sense of care & thoughtfulness is spread throughout the company and trickles down to the way we treat our customers." Song Nguyen, Lead Designer and Product Developer
"Working with a family business is something we appreciate highly in this day and age. Getting to know the values that family holds transcend's directly into the daily operations of their business and creates a working environment you can count on. Working with the Gaithers has been a fantastic experience in that way and many more and we have very much appreciated our 16 year partnership." - Jeff Salhaney, Canadian Distributor
"Leaving the family dynamics at home can’t be an easy thing to do, but the 3 G's (Hugh, John and Joe), have been able to find a balance between personal family life and the professionalism they must maintain within the Feetures family. Collaborating within the office is always interesting; “Do they all like to have the last word? Of course, they do!” This demonstrates their passion and commitment to the company and the brand they are building. Having been employed by Feetures for over 13 years I take great pleasure knowing that first and foremost they truly care about their employee’s wellbeing. Their dedication to supporting causes within their community illustrates their compassion for others which has translated into building a Feetures family community, second to none." - Linda Corcoran, International Sales Manager