Monthly Archives: April 2017

Life Lessons from Doug Daniel: Volume I

When did it ever get so crazy?! Hundreds of emails a day, text messages, some people still using a telephone, plus trying to stay up on social media… Hell, I wouldn’t know what my kids and wife are up to all day if I didn’t check their Snap Stories constantly.

I talked to my friend, Mike, the other day who caught me up on an amazing new podcast he’s listening to. When am I supposed to fit a podcast in?! Don’t get me wrong. It sounded amazing. But, am I really going to drop something like having dinner with my family just to find out what happened to Richard Simmons?

All to say, thank you for reading and making it this far. I know how limited your time is and I feel the pressure to not let you down. My name is Doug. I’ve got a lot of titles these days: CEO, President, Executive Managing Director, plus a few that don’t get said to my face. It’s okay, though. We’ve been changing stuff around here lately. If a few people didn’t get sideways, then I’m not making it happen. My job here at ECE is to steer the ship. It’s a big ship. It doesn’t turn as quick as a little boat, but that’s okay, too. It turns.

I’d like you to join me here on the blog a few times a year. I think it would be fun to talk to you on stuff that feels important, and even some stuff that probably isn’t. After all, if I’m going to hold true to my promise, I’ve gotta make it interesting.

I’m proud to be the CEO and a partner at ECE. I’ve been in this role since 2011. Since then, we have doubled in size, doubled in company value, expanded to 14 offices and tripled our exclusive artist family. The majority of the credit goes to my tremendous corporate staff, our incredible sales agents and my passionate business partners. However, I did add a little along the way.

Most days are a combination of excitement, change, and inspiration that is mixed in with a huge amount of pride in the people I am surrounded by. Sometimes this is topped off with a little bit of being lonely and some push-and-pull. I think that’s just the way it’s supposed to go. You’re supposed to arrive at a place every day that is challenging and rewarding. But, as I alluded to earlier, somedays you’re going to break some eggs and, many days, you will feel alone in your convictions.

That’s me. To tell you all the lessons I have learned along the way would be more novel than blog post. But there are some that stand out more than others. This feels like a good place to kick off this journey that we’re going to go on together. This journey where I give you a little insight as to what it feels like to be me… and you stay in touch. It’s only fun if I hear from you to see if I put you to sleep or struck a chord!

So, here we go.

Life Lessons from Doug Daniel: Volume I.

  1. Show up.
    Show up for your friends and show up when it counts for work. The showing up part is way harder than what will follow.
  2. Don’t be late.
    It says all the wrong things about how you view the person you are meeting.
  3. Be friendly and kind.
    No one wants to work or do business with anyone that isn’t nice
  4. Use proper English and pay attention to grammar. 
    This applies even in email. It says a lot about how seriously you take yourself.
  5. Say thank you.
  6. Listen more. Talk less.
  7. Don’t drop names or be a know-it-all.
    The richest and smartest never have to tell you that they are.
  8. Be open to change.
  9. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. 
  10. Surround yourself with incredibly talented people. 
    Then get out of their way. I know about 40% of everything I need to know in accounting, marketing, technology, etc. I know just enough to steer the ship, then I trust an expert.
  11. Don’t lie or BS.
    Your word and your reputation are like luggage you carry around for life.
  12. Stay focused.
    There are many people with well-intentions who can knock you off track and don’t even realize it.
  13. Never say no to an opportunity to go places. 
    In the end, your experiences and your stories are what matters.
  14. Take time to understand how others look at life. 
    Going places and meeting new people open you up and give you insight to how others wake up every day and take on the journey that they are on.

Ok! That’s a wrap. Until we reconnect next time in this space, go tackle new things and create new experiences. In the meantime, reach out to me and say hi.

Doug Daniel
As President & CEO, Doug is an expert on all things ECE --- as he should be since he's worked here twice! His daily duties include: fire fighting, juggling, peacemaking and dreaming up ways to make ECE the best company it can be.

Real Wedding: MC + David | Virginia Museum of Fine Arts | Richmond, VA

Art aficionados rejoice!  Today’s Real Wedding is nothing short of a masterpiece. Held in the Marble Hall at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, MC and David’s reception was full of color, class and fun. Named after its signature Italian pink marble walls, the Marble Hall is located in the heart of the museum where guests enjoyed stunning architecture along with private access to some of the museum’s most impressive galleries.

MC and David chose Black & Blue Experience to bring a party atmosphere to their reception. With over 100 songs in their repertoire, this 12-piece group had guests from old to young firing up the dance floor.

We are grateful to Imani Fine Art Photography for sharing the incredible images from the day.

Band: Black & Blue Experience | ECE Agent: Brad Strouse | Photography: Imani Fine Art Photography | Reception Venue : Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (Marble Hall) | Event Planner: Colleen Cook with CCS Events | Cupcakes: Pearl’s | Hair: Circle Square | Florals: Petals & Twigs | Make-Up: Richmond MakeUp Artist

Published: Helen + Marvin’s Presidential Wedding Party | Brides

She is a former senior policy advisor for the U.S. Department of Education. He is the former trip director, special assistant, and personal aide to past POTUS, Barack Obama. After almost a decade of courtship and a lightning quick engagement of eight weeks, Helen and Marvin tied the knot at her parents’ home in Jacksonville, FL this past January.

With then-Secretary of State, John Kerry, officiating and President Obama serving as a groomsman, this wedding party was nothing short of presidential.  Nods to the couple’s shared life in DC were sprinkled throughout the event from the guest list to ginger vases full of cherry blossoms to a red, white and blue-filled wedding cake. Big Swing and the Ballroom Blasters had guests dancing until midnight.

You can read more about Helen and Marvin’s love story and how they succeeded in planning a wedding in less than eight weeks on  We are incredibly grateful to the team at 6 of Four Photography (Chris Torres, Rachel Niesen, and Emilie Sommer) for sharing the magnificent images from Helen and Marvin’s big day.

Band: Big Swing and the Ballroom Blasters | ECE Agent: Doug Baker | Photography: Chris Torres, Rachel Niesen, and Emilie Sommer with 6 of Four Photography | Venue : Family Residence | Event Planner: Lorna Meehan with Amelia Weddings and Events | Catering: Catering by Liz Grenameyer | Cake: Classic Cakes | Florals: Brent Tuten and Glenn Certain of Glenn Certain Floral + Event Design | Makeup: Kimtasha | Hair: Saskia Penland | Gown: Linda Cunningham Couturier | Rentals + Tent: Beachview Event Rentals | Invitations + Escort Cards: The Write Touch