Ken Austin was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1965. The second of three children, and the only boy, Austin shared a special bond with his dad.
“He was always a true role model for me,” Austin tells Business Insider. “Though we lost him three years ago, my father left an incredible mark on my life, and those of others.”
Austin is the founder of Tequila Avión — one of the most popular tequila brands in the world. It recently won the “World’s Best Tasting Tequila” award and “World’s Best White Spirit” title at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
In 2011, Avión sold a minority stake to Pernod Ricard, and in 2014, it sold a majority stake to Pernod Ricard, with reports of the sale price being north of $US100 million.
Avión sold a minority stake to Pernod Ricard in 2011, then a majority stake in 2014, with reports of the sale price being north of $US100 million.
Austin, who now serves as Avión’s chairman, attributes much of his personal and professional success to the lessons he learned from his father, Alvin Austin, who died in October 2012.
“The one that stands out to me the most has to do with the level of integrity and humility he tried to instill in me: He told me to never cut corners in life, as there is no easy route to truly winning.”
Austin says his father also taught him that “keeping up with the Joneses is something we should frown upon.”
“While I have led a much more public and fancier lifestyle than we did growing up, I strive to always be the person I was raised to be, never breathing my own vapors or trying to be something I am not,” he explains.
These two powerful lessons, he says, have led him to where he is today.
“Humility is critical,” Austin says. “Being approachable and true to yourself not only makes you a better person, but also an even better entrepreneur,” he says.
“I find it to be beneficial when people are able to relate to you and can accept some of your crazier antics. And trust me, as an entrepreneur, you will suggest some crazy and impossible tasks — but when you are at least humble and approachable, people are more apt to join your team and run with it.”
Austin, a dad to three himself — two sons and a daughter — has his own fatherly advice.
“I tell my kids: Brush your teeth, look people in the eye, and give a firm handshake. Always be good to others and be humble. Always say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ no matter who you are talking to. After that, you are on your own.”
He says his father had pretty big shoes to fill — “but I hope that I am giving my three children a lot of the same values that he instilled in me and when they grow up they will do the same with their children.”
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