Welcome to CORE 10, an off-the-cuff interview series with prominent CORE figures. Read on to learn more about this week’s guest, Executive VP of Sales Doug Heddings!
Who is the living person you most admire? David Innocenzi. He’s our Manhattan Sales Manager with whom I’ve worked for nearly 10 years. He’s a dedicated and awesome husband, an unwavering, loyal father and a present and supportive best friend! He’s smart with an incredible work ethic. I can count on him always and we share a bond for which most could only hope. We have no secrets, we can be brutally honest without fear of hurting each other’s feelings and if we do hurt feelings, we are quick to make amends. Most importantly, we share lots of laughs! There is only one other with whom I share a greater bond, and that is my wife.
Who is the most interesting New Yorker you know? Without a doubt, it’s Kevin Sheekey. Although I haven’t seen Kevin in years, my now teenage son went to nursery school with his twins. As often happens, we have lost touch, but I admire him and his family from afar. Kevin is liked by all, friends with so many and always shares a once-in-a-lifetime type story about some celebrity who he’s recently had the pleasure of meeting. A former campaign manager and then Deputy Mayor for Bloomberg, Kevin would totally have my vote if he ever decided to throw his hat into the New York Mayoral race. One can only hope!
What is your earliest New York memory? I had never even visited New York prior to moving here in July of 1989 from the suburbs of Baltimore. I arrived via bus into what was then the very grimy and dangerous Port Authority Bus Terminal. The walk through the terminal, including all of the sights, sounds and unpleasant smells, still resonates with me, as does the trek from 42nd Street and 8th Avenue to 10th Avenue and 51st Street where I first lived. I was in complete awe even as I questioned what I was doing here.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received? Embrace yourself! All of yourself. The good, the bad and the ugly. Your history makes you who you are and life is all about perspective. On any given day I could write down the same ten items on a piece of paper and depending on my perspective, I could call it a “Gratitude List” or “Burdens List.” I do my best to remain grateful on a daily basis. Definitely an imperfect practice.
What do you consider your greatest achievement so far? I really believe that I am an excellent father. My kids are my greatest teachers. They are windows into my soul and show me my strengths and most definitely my defects so that I can change to become a better person. The irony of fatherhood is that while you are making every effort to raise fantastic children, they are influencing the father and the man that you are becoming. In essence, they are “raising” me.
What are your three most treasured possessions? My wedding ring has only been off my finger ONCE when I dropped it in a crashing wave. Miraculously, I sprung to the “sparkle” in the sand as the wave receded and scooped up the ring. As a child of divorce, this ring symbolizes so much more than just my wedding vows. Our home is a sanctuary and since we renovated to create a space that we cherish, I frequently prefer to cocoon at home in front of the fireplace rather than spend a night out on the town. My daughter has an authentic Pittsburgh Steelers football helmet signed by Hall of Famer “Mean” Joe Greene. It’s technically hers but I bought it and love looking at it on her book shelf. I touch it every time I leave her room. I don’t even think she knows that.
Name a movie, book or work of art that changed your life. It may sound bizarre, but Top Gun changed my life’s trajectory in a way that I never could have imagined. Long story, but shortly after seeing Top Gun in 1986, I joined the U.S Navy Nuclear Engineering program in an effort to maneuver my way into the U.S. Naval Academy. I had applied in high school and despite receiving the necessary congressional nomination from then Rep. Helen D. Bentley, I withdrew my application out of complete fear of the unknown. Six months into training, I experienced a spontaneous pneumothorax that landed me in the ICU and eventually received an honorable discharge after serving only 8 months and 8 days. After that, I did a short 8-month stint at the FBI in Washington, D.C. and ended up as a bartender at a very trendy hotel bar in Baltimore City, where I met the person who brought me to New York in 1989. Three years later I met Kate and the rest is history, as we have built a beautiful life together. Who knew that Maverick and Goose would have such an impact on my life?
What’s your greatest extravagance? I try to get a 2-hour massage every week. It doesn’t always happen, but it is something I do for myself that is a 2-hour escape into pure mindfulness.
What’s your secret talent? Those who know me will tell you that I have no SECRET anything. I’m an open book with limited boundaries (I continue to work on that…hahaha). But I guess if I had to choose something that not everyone knows, I’m a decent actor and I can do a few impressions, with my favorite being Jimmy Stewart lassoing the moon for Mary in It’s a Wonderful Life. I also dabble with a guitar but would hardly call it a talent.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? “Get out! No really. Get out!” “Awesome.” “Oh my G*d!” Just about anything that evokes drama! With a lot of exclamation points!!!!!!!