The Eyres’ Backstory
Whenever we are contemplating any kind of partnership or joint venture, we find it helpful to know each other’s “backstory” which always seems to be useful in the development of synergy.
Before we met, Linda was a Music Major and violinist, and Richard was a budding politician, working in the Presidential campaigns of George Romney and Nelson Rockefeller in 1968.
Our honeymoon was the four-day drive to Boston where Richard did his MBA at Harvard and Linda taught music at a local Junior High. We wanted the business degree not so much for business but for politics, and Richard and his HBS friend from France started a new course called “Power.” Our first daughter was born during our second year at Harvard.
After school, we founded, with two partners, the political consulting firm Bailey, Deardourff and Eyre in Washington DC which planned and managed numerous successful Gubernatorial and US Senate campaigns in the 70s, mostly for Moderate Republicans. Needing a break, we took a leave of absence to manage Jake Garn’s first Senate Campaign in Utah, thinking that it could lead up to Richard’s personal run for the US Congress. Jake came from 30 percentage points down to win the race and the stage was set for Richard to run against the incumbent Democrat in the second district. Just before our candidacy announcement, we were called to preside over the Church’s London Mission, and the political plans went on hold.
We moved with our four kids to London where we worked with more than 600 missionaries over three years. The experience changed our perspective and our paradigm, as well as our priorities. It seemed that all of the problems and all of the strengths of each of our missionaries could be traced back to their homes and their parents and we began to wonder if our contribution (and our career) should center on family rather than on politics.
We came back to Salt Lake City and wrote a parenting book, essentially based on management principles and “Parenting by Objective.” The book was called Teaching Children Joy, and it became a best seller and spawned a curriculum for “Joy Schools,” an innovative, do it yourself preschool that caught on and grew rapidly across the country and the world.
Our publisher by then, Simon and Schuster, asked us to write a book called Teaching Your Children Values which hit a nerve and became a New York Times #1 Bestseller. Donahue and the Today Show and lots of other national media interviews helped, most notably Oprah, whose hour-long show on the book catapulted it to the top of the lists.
A long period of book contracts, book tours, speaking tours, and writing took us around the world five times and became our full-time career. The timing was perfect, and each additional book led to more media and more speaking.
Through our books and media and speaking, we reached two generations of parents. But we did not, and have not reached this current generation of Millennial parents, because they do not read books, and we have not become anywhere near as good at social media as we are at speaking and media and writing and publishing books. This is a concern to us because our 4 decades of family and parenting and “marriaging” content is as current and relevant as it has ever been, but we are not delivering it as well. What we have done, or are in the process of doing, is to break up that content into bite-size chunks that work on websites and blogs and in social media, so the next chapter in our lives will be all about “reach” and “delivery.”
Books and speaking have been good to us, and at this point in our lives, our whole goal is “reach” and to give parents what we have. To that end, we have set up a non-profit entity that is ready to accomplish that goal.