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Communicator Learns from Career Moves

The Detroit News, April 10, 2007

By Karen Dybis

Anne Doyle’s path has taken her from television sportscaster to corporate offices to entrepreneur

Anne Doyle has empathy for Michigan workers living through one of the state’s toughest economies to date.  That’s because Doyle has been there, wondering how to take life’s punishments and turn them into possibilities. 

Doyle has gone from the locker room to the boardroom and beyond during her 30-year career as a sportscaster, communications specialist and entrepreneur.  She has seen it all – brute competition, bare ambition, even bare-naked professional athletes.     Doyle’s willingness to take risks, embrace life’s defining moments and not take anything personally has guided her through it all.

Today, she uses those lessons to help others through her consulting and speaking business, Anne Doyle Strategies.

“I’ve gone through lots of transitions.  I think of it as exercising,” Doyle said.  “The more you work those muscles, the more you get out of them.”

Doyle’s lessons began in 1978 when she was hired to become a sports anchor and reporter for CBS-TV in Detroit.

The former newscaster wanted to try sports in part because of her father’s influence and because others told her she couldn’t do it.

Her father, veteran sportscaster Vince Doyle, was a long-time sports director for local radio station WWJ.  His advice would carry her through the next six years.  “My dad’s line was this:  Never eliminate yourself,” Doyle said.  “If you’re not good enough, or you’re not ready, others will eliminate you.  But if you never try, you’ve eliminated yourself.”

Inside the locker room, Doyle said she was seen as an interloper.  And interlopers are always challenged.  There, Doyle faced larger-than-life personalities including Kirk Gibson, Isaiah Thomas and Bo Schembechler.

“It taught me to stand my ground,” Doyle said.  “I had to cultivate good working relationships with players and teams to get stories.  I expected it, so I didn’t take it personally.  I had to show I belonged there.”

“You have to learn not to be angry about that.  When those tests come, you need to recognize them and realize it’s a defining moment.  If you rise up to the test, you’ll get stronger,” Doyle added.

She left television to move to Atlanta, where she served as president of Doyle-Farrell Business Communications for three years.  It was there that Doyle met a Detroiter, whom she married and followed back to Michigan.

When Doyle returned to the state in 1987, she joined Ford Motor Company, where she rose to director of Ford North American Communications.

She served on Ford’s executive team that handled the Firestone and Ford Explorer crisis. 

When she left, Doyle took time to decide what she wanted to do next.

The greatest lessons she learned then were how to value the transitions between her careers and understand that time is a gift.  For example, her time in Atlanta served her well, Doyle said.

“It gave me an opportunity to see how the corporate world worked and to see how to apply my communications skills.  When I got to Ford, I had a good sense of what I would be doing there.

“Some people get scared (during a career transition). But you need to overcome those voices in your head,” Doyle said.  “You never really walk away from anything.  You’re always building on those skills and experiencing and applying them in a new way.”

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