The Business of Meetings – Episode 183 - 15 Minutes of Shame with Des Hague
Today, we are both honored and delighted to have Des Hague joining us on the podcast!
Des was enjoying a fascinating career in the hospitality industry when his life took an unexpected twist and he found himself entangled in the pervasive web of cancel culture. He courageously chronicled his experience in a book he wrote called Fifteen Minutes of Shame, which officially hits the shelves today.
In this episode, Des dives into his career trajectory and tells the story behind the pivotal moment that forever altered his life. This episode is one of the most enthralling episodes Eric has ever recorded, so you will not want to miss it!
Des Hague is an author and a highly regarded innovator in the international business community having more than thirty years of experience leading global companies. His forward-thinking approaches as president/CEO of Centerplate, president of IHOP, and president of perishables at Safeway, as well as high-level executive positions at Maytag and 7-Eleven, helped those companies achieve sustained growth and robust competitiveness in an uncertain world.
Hague currently serves as co-founder and CEO of Hague Enterprises, sits on the boards of Messenger Sports, Ikoniq Inc, MRGN, and YoungCaruso, and is an active mentor, advising several start-up ventures and working with numerous private equity groups to create more than half a billion dollars in returns for investors.
Outside of the business world, Hague has received numerous community leader awards and helped raise more than $100 million for various nonprofits. Hague holds an MBA from the American College in London and resides in Colorado with his wife, Carol. They are the proud parents of two sons, Patrick and Desmond Jr.
Des was born in Belfast to an Irish mother and an English father. At the time, interreligious relationships were stigmatized and their family faced much adversity, including the destruction of their business due to the violence in Belfast. After fleeing to the UK and settling in a village near Sheffield, Des’s mother became seriously ill with ovarian cancer and soon succumbed. Then, his father married a troubled woman plagued by alcoholism and violent tendencies. Des faced increasing abuse at the hands of his stepmother, beginning with psychological torment and eventually escalating to physical violence when she was intoxicated. At age nine, Des felt compelled to intervene to protect his younger brothers from her brutality. Despite his fear, he stood his ground, motivated by his mother having taught him never to strike a woman, and endured years of abuse, often on a nightly basis. Des has agonizing memories of near-miss assaults, hospitalization after brutal attacks, and his father's inexplicable inaction. At fifteen, he finally reached a breaking point and left home, embarking on a journey of homelessness and self-reliance, determined to carve out a new, more stable life for himself.
Fish and Chips
Being homeless, Des turned to a family friend who owned a fish and chips shop for a lifeline. His journey into the world of hospitality began in that fish and chips shop, peeling countless bags of potatoes each day. Things eventually shifted when Des embarked on a journey to expand his horizons. He opened the first video shop in his town and diversified into other businesses like butcher shops and convenience stores. At 17, Des managed all the properties, gaining valuable experience and business acumen. Despite his young age and being challenged with dyslexia, he thrived in the business world, soaking up knowledge and skills.
From Trauma to Entrepreneurship
Des's life took an unexpected turn when he faced a traumatic incident, suffering a violent assault. Despite his size and self-perceived toughness, the ordeal left him shattered. Then, he ventured into a food caravan business, and on the very