The McNerney/Henry family has perhaps one of the most fascinating, delightfully unusual stories of love, family and business. John and Tracy went to high school together, but never dated. They did, however, take a class called “Family Living” together during this time in 1984 where they had a staged wedding (Tracy even wore John’s mother’s wedding gown!). After graduation, they went their separate ways, marrying other people and starting their own families. After John was divorced and Tracy widowed, they connected over Facebook after 30 years apart. Their second (and real) wedding took place in June 2014, surrounded by their shared household of 7 children.
They live and run their business in Austin, Texas. John and Tracy McNerney have been with American for over five years and brought Carley Henry aboard a year ago. Together, they create a dynamic team that relies on their shared respect, ambition and trust to succeed.
Why you love working with your family:
John – You have more invested when you teaching family how to sell, service and take over the business one day.
Tracy – We are a family-strong team, and I truly believe we feed off each other to make all things possible. There’s not a day that goes by that we are not discussing how to improve processes or brainstorming how to grow our business. Supporting each other’s individual skills is also very important, which contributes to everyone succeeding. Young thoughts and old thoughts seem to be the perfect balance for our business moving forward.
Carley – I love working with my family because it challenges us to work harder. We succeed as a whole and help out wherever is needed. Working on projects together really helps us seal the deal with some customers because we all have different creative ideas. I also believe that I am learning from the best. John has been in this industry for a while now and is a great mentor.
What are some challenges (and how have you overcome them)?
John – Working in the same room together! Hey, be honest, nobody can be around each other morning, noon and night. We have moved away from each other in the office, so we keep from killing each other.
Tracy – Figuring out who fits certain roles and responsibilities best within our team. It takes a while to put the puzzle together because you can’t do everything and grow the business due to the number of accounts. We have it all down pat now as far as who cold calls, lands new customers, services accounts, order entry, follow-up and dealing with difficult customers.
Carley – I think the hardest thing is being so close in the office and outside of work. Another struggle is learning all the different ways to do things. John does things his way, my mom her way, and now after a year, there are certain ways I like to do things. The bright side is that we get to discover the most efficient way forward.
What is the fondest memory working with your family?
John – Watching Carley learn the ropes so quickly.
Tracy – I have two favorites that standout the most. One is when John asked me to work with him as a husband/wife sales team. Not every husband and wife can work together, but I love it. The other is when Carley did her internship with us and said she loves the job. I knew right then and there, she would be a great asset to our family team.
Carley – Traveling is by far the greatest thing while working with family. We have been to numerous places that I’ve never been. If it wasn’t for them bring me aboard, I would miss out on a lot of these opportunities. Attending big meetings and shows with them are one of the main reasons I love working in this industry. My first experience was ASI Orlando. John said, “If you can make it through this tradeshow without getting bored, then you can do this for a living.” My instant thought was that of course I could go shopping every day for fun things!
Why should others consider working with their family?
John – The main reason is that you’re investing in their future.
Tracy – We want to be able to retire someday, but still oversee the business. This way, we get to keep the business we’ve worked so hard for by handing it down to the next generation. We want our family to live the American Dream and love what they do.
Carley – Some would think that working with your family isn’t the best idea. Working with your family actually makes you work harder because of the level of accountability. You learn things from each other, excel together, and face challenges as a team.
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