Chas Withers, '87: President and CEO, Dix & Eaton | Kent State University
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Chas Withers, '87: President and CEO, Dix & Eaton

"Great leadership often is rooted in selflessness. It's about being connected to something bigger than yourself."

Dix & Eaton has been around for nearly 70 years, and JMC alumnus Chas Withers, ’87, became only the third president in 2008.

 

His journey to leading the integrated communications and public relations firm began as a journalism student at Kent State, searching for an internship – preferably one in sportswriting, he thought. Withers ended up finding an internship he loved, but it was in public relations. After interning at Akron Children’s Hospital, Withers decided to dive into a new career choice.

 

“I really just got into it and loved it,” Withers said.

 

At the ripe age of 22, Withers was asked to run a marketing office in Columbus, Ohio.

 

From there he moved on to Case Western Reserve University and was eventually recruit- ed by Dix & Eaton in 1997.

 

“Sometimes you just have to go get experiences to get experience,” Withers said.

“The key is finding the environment that challenges (you) and the support of the people that allow you to do your best work.”

 

Dix & Eaton has provided that for him for 20 years and counting.

 

“If you find a place where you can excel, don’t let that go,” Withers said.

 

Withers became a leader at Dix & Eaton as the agency was navigating the transition into digital communications. It was able to survive the shift due to continuity and the importance of its work.

 

“We’re involved in major transactions,” Withers said. “We work exclusively with CEOs, and we do the work that matters most for them.”

 

In order to do this work successfully, employees need the baseline skills, he said, specifically, being a good writer and synthesizer of information.

 

“Part of leadership is being able to be articulate in a variety of forms,” Withers said. “You have to paint the picture, connect the dots.”

 

JMC students often intern at Dix & Eaton, and many go on to work there full time. Withers praised JMC students, saying, “They’re well-trained. They’re well-educated. They each bring something different.”

 

While Withers continues to see great skills coming out of JMC, he also hopes to continue seeing leaders grow as he did.

 

“If you’re the leader of the organization, you have to be thinking about everyone else’s well-being and the organization,” he said.

 

You have to take a step back and be balanced and reasoned.”

 

As featured in Jargon, 2017 | Learn more about JMC alumni leaders. 

POSTED: Tuesday, September 26, 2017 - 11:54am
UPDATED: Tuesday, December 5, 2017 - 4:59pm
WRITTEN BY:
Arkayla Tenney-Howard, '19