Merrie Spaeth, the multi-talented, nationally renowned communications guru, is hardly the only business owner around here to be victimized by an embezzling employee (see Collin Street Bakery; heck, even Stanley Marcus). But Spaeth’s case is especially interesting, because she’s in the business of advising businesspeople and others how to manage perceptions about their competence.
In the new issue of D CEO, Spaeth opens up to writer Mike Mooney about “her embezzler”—Marci Johnson, the longtime chief administrative officer for Spaeth Communications Inc.—and the “very painful violation” that Johnson inflicted on Spaeth and her Dallas-based firm. (Over the years, the CAO probably spent more than $1 million of company dough on stuff like limousines, groceries, concert tickets, and a fancy outdoor deck for her house in Kaufman County.)
Spaeth also talks in the article about her acclaimed role at age 14 in the 1964 Peter Sellers movie, The World of Henry Orient; what it was like working in the Reagan White House; and why her involvement with the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth campaign against John Kerry remains her “biggest regret.”