Imagine what makes someone a top entrepreneur in their 30’s? You may think of someone who is a quasi mad scientist who locks himself in the basement of a business lab in search of new ideas on how to make another buck. That may be part of the story but what I’ve come to learn in my interview with Dr. Douk is that it requires much more than ideas to build extraordinary companies. Building requires selfless leadership, fearless innovation and a relentless pursuit for continuous learning to transform concepts into reality. In fact, aside from his academic and business endeavors, he is now learning how to fly a plane! That was one of the lessons I took away from Dr. Douk’s story, a clinician turned serial entrepreneur.
While we were speaking about what he’s been up to, I paused and asked myself, how does this man find the time to juggle all of these large ‘bucket list’ type of items and accomplish them in a relatively short amount of time? He shares that “it becomes easier when your priorities are in the right order.” With his personal priority established, he married his college sweetheart of 20 years and has three beautiful children. He credits his wife for being the one who gave him the wisdom on how to maintain a healthy work-life balance. She did this by challenging him to work all that he wanted to, but to be home by dinner time. This much-needed standard for the ambitious doctor allowed him to begin his career as a Licensed Educational Psychologist and Board Certified Behavior Analyst. He then founded Behavioral Health Works, one of the premier Autism treatment providers in the nation. To take the work he did locally and make a global impact, Dr. Douk launched Hope Out Loud Foundation, a global nonprofit. To answer the current manual, paper-based challenges that hinder companies from optimal productivity, he launched ClinicSoft, a software organization to complement his portfolio of companies. And now, Douk & Company, a boutique investment firm, is the most recent addition to his suite of services. Their focus is to help CEOs and Entrepreneurs unlock their full potential. He’s been called the “business fixer upper” and the “socialpreneur guy” who enjoys getting into the details with organizations to solve some of society’s most pressing issues.
A cohort of women from Hope Out Loud’s knot of this world program
Let us chat with the exemplar: Dr. Rob Douk
Principles - “What is Socialpreneurship?”
The 5 Ps and 5 Fs - The Socialpreneur is the “Social Entrepreneur” who launches innovative & revolutionary business initiatives that achieve not only financial returns but also measurable social benefits. He applies two principles that he shares is the framework on how he runs his businesses and how he lives out his life. He evaluates all businesses based on the 5 Ps Principles which include: Passion, Purpose, Plan (People, Process, and Product), Prime, and Paying it Forward. He goes on to share the ingredients to what makes him whole as a person through finding a balance with the 5 Fs Principle. The 5 Fs include: Faith, Family, finance, Fitness and Fellowship. Both principles make up his “10 Principles of Socialpreneurship” in his upcoming book with ForbesBooks.
Passion - “How do you define passion?”
The Refugee Underdog - I think “we all have a unique story to share” says Dr. Douk. He goes on to say that our passion can be discovered through each of our unique stories. His story starts as the refugee underdog. His parents smuggled him out of Cambodia during the Pol Pot regime to save his life and seek refuge which ultimately brought the family to the United States. As a young immigrant with humble beginnings, he didn’t have much so he quickly realized that his most valuable asset was and still is his circle of relationships. Family, friends and the community he surrounds himself with have helped him become who he is today. Dr. Douk comments, “I guess you can say it’s easy for an underdog because when you start from nothing, the only way you can go from there is up.” For example, he observed his parents come to this country with nothing and then utilize equity from an auto refinance to build a respectable real estate portfolio.
From childhood, Dr. Douk had the luxury of having loving parents that taught him valuable life lessons on how to be an effective entrepreneur which he now calls the 3 A’s. It focuses first on understanding yourself before understanding your passion. The 3 A’s are:
- Ability: Is what you’re capable of doing.
- Ambition: Determines what you do.
- Attitude: Determines how well you do it.
To discover his passion, he had to first unearth who he is by fully understanding himself. He summarized it by stating that he had to first fully accept the fact that he has the ability to help others, the ambition to open new avenues of access to treatment for people in need, and the attitude to provide world-class quality care to individuals globally. He concluded that as long as he has a good attitude about helping others, it has a higher likelihood to result in yielding positive life-impacting results. If we were to sum up his passion in one sentence, it would be that “[he is] obsessed with journeying alongside people and seeing them make progress.”
Purpose - “How to turn Passion into Purpose?”
Faith Over Fear - He shares that we are all created for a purpose and the only person that can stand in our way is ourselves. Dr. Douk goes on to say that when our purpose is focused on “pursuing endeavors that matter, then it will likely be something greater than ourselves.” By doing so, we all carry the potential to spark a movement far greater than any one man or woman can achieve alone. Whether you're a teacher, an engineer, a gardener, or an astronaut, we all serve a unique purpose. This is why he believes that Socialpreneurship is the key to solving some of the world's most dire concerns. He shares, “how cool would it be that when you do well in your business, you also do good for the community?” While passion was how your story was created, purpose will be your vocation to express this passion.
Plan - “How do you turn your Purpose into a Plan?”
Don’t Leave it to Chance - Dr. Douk leaves nothing to chance. He says that he is a planner. Others will say that not only is he a planner, but he’s a long-term realistic planner. By long-term, he recently presented his 50 year plan to his board with a detailed layout for what each year needs to accomplish. As a dedicated entrepreneur creating award-winning businesses, Dr. Douk discusses the importance of understanding yourself and the organizations you lead. He shares how to provide an assessment of the organization’s vision and mission as well as how to explore the business’ ecosystem. For example, when he founded
Behavioral Health Works (BHW) in 2009, he understood that he was called to do more than just provide therapy; BHW was created to provide hope. BHW has been recognized by Inc. Magazine for numerous consecutive years on being one of America’s Fastest Growing Privately Held Companies. He shares the importance on pairing your product or service to a purpose especially when you have a workforce filled with millennials. Millennials want to stand behind companies that have a strong purpose and that their work makes a positive impact in this world.
Dr. Douk discusses the six business stages along with a strategic model based on the 3 Ss (Senior Leadership, Strategy, & Success) and the 3Cs (Customers, Competitors, & Competence). He talks about how every company should strive to become what he calls a “PRIME” stage company. A PRIME company displays the following characteristics: Predictable Profits, Recognized & Respected, Integrated Infrastructure, Mature Management, and an Enterprising Energetic Environment. Additionally, he spoke at-length about how to stay ahead of the competition. Specifically, he discussed how an organization should create value for their clients and to understand their internal brand alignment so folks on their team can execute their visions and missions. Lastly, he discusses that a company without a solid quality management system that provides visibility of its operations is doomed for monumental problems. He credits his company's Total Quality Management environment which includes an integrated Standard Operating Procedure that incorporates scorecards, metrics and dashboards as a critical component to all of his companies.
Pay It Forward - “Is there a fourth P?”
Give Generously - Dr. Douk shares that “Giving is Good Business”. He and his wife Ami cofounded the Hope Out Loud Foundation, a nonprofit 501 c 3 organization that gives back to communities where resources are not plentiful. He insists that every organization, no matter how large or small, needs to have a Corporate Social Responsibility program. Such a program is not only good for business because it builds positive staff morale but it also empowers the communities you serve. While we’re on the topic of giving, Dr. Douk was asked about what he thought was the greatest gift anyone can give and he quickly replied, “Time!” He explains that time is the most valuable asset because we have all been allotted the same 24 hours a day. Now the question is before us. How will we choose to spend this time? Because in the end, where we’ve invested our time will ultimately determine our legacy.
We introduce you to the Chieftain
Dr. Douk is a Clinician turned Social Entrepreneur, Executive Coach, and ForbesBooks Author who is regarded as a thought leader in the behavioral health sector. He has dedicated his life to not only build award-winning businesses, but transforming organizations whose mission is for measurable social benefits. He’s been named a Top 30 Entrepreneur in his 30s by the Silicon Review, a UCLA Wooden Global Leadership Fellow, and has received awards related to entrepreneurship including the Orange County Business Journal’s Excellence in Entrepreneurship and Cadillac’s Dare Greatly Award. Dr. Douk is an inspirational speaker who is known to speak from the heart as displayed at the 2016 UCLA Global Executive MBA Program’s Commencement Ceremony.
He is a Licensed Educational Psychologist and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Dr. Douk has a Master degree in Counseling and a Doctorate in Psychology. In addition to his extensive clinical training, Dr. Douk received real-world business training from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management in their Management Development for Entrepreneurs Program. This experience led him to develop his global business strategy with the UCLA Anderson School and the National University of Singapore in their Global Executive Dual-MBA program.
Presently, Dr. Douk is a ForbesBooks author and central figure in the Social Entrepreneurship arena. He is currently pursuing these endeavors as Founder and Chief Social Entrepreneur of Douk & Company (douk.co), a boutique investment firm that partners with other social entrepreneurs and CEOs. Dr. Douk’s focus with BHW as Founder and Chairman (bhwcares.com) is to ensure the clinical integrity of all behavioral programming and to promote its innovative treatment programs to regions lacking high quality services. He has co-founded global organizations and serves on several advisory boards including Hope Out Loud Foundation’s (holproject.com) Health Initiative where he serves as Co-Founder and Board Member. In addition, he is the Co-Founder and Board Member with ClinicSoft (clinicsoft.com), a software company that enhances clinical service delivery.