40 Under 40 2016: Charlie Dougiello

CEO and cofounder, The Door, 38

From TV chefs to pop icons, Charlie Dougiello has helped grow and expand brands into new markets. He began at The Lippin Group and later made the leap to DKC, where he rose to VP handling accounts for top artists like Alicia Keys and media brands such as Esquire and the New York Daily News.

After working on the launch of the magazine Every Day With Rachael Ray, he was offered an in-house position by the Food Network star herself and was named director of PR for the Rachael Ray brand, which includes several product lines, websites, her magazine, and Ray’s successful daytime show.

That close work with TV chef Ray, who has her hand in many pies, led Dougiello to cofound his own full-service branding and marketing firm, reuniting with a mentor from DKC. Their timing was far from ideal, opening The Door in 2008 on the eve of the recession, but Ray put her trust in him, as did music legend Michael Jackson, as the firm’s first clients.

But they persevered, and as CEO Dougiello now oversees about 40 people across five markets, with two new divisions, and nearly 70 accounts. By 2015, the midsize firm’s annual billing had increased 40% year to year, while opening offices in Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Austin. This year, The Door will open its fifth satellite office in New Orleans. Clients of the firm include PepsiCo, Wyndham Worldwide, Sony Music, and Virgin Hotels.

Staying true to his foodie roots, Dougiello continues to represent top chefs and food brands, including Ray, Spike Mendelsohn, John Besh, Marc Forgione, and Stephen Starr Restaurants.

Years ago, he was inspired to develop a food and music event for Ray at the SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas, which was a massive PR and marketing achievement for the celebrity chef, and led several other music festivals to develop similar food events. Today, The Door is working on The New York City Wine and Food Festival and the South Beach Wine and Food Festival.

- Dougiello is the food and beverage partner of The Hall, a boutique hotel in South Beach, Florida, where he and his client chef Spike Mendelsohn are in the process of expanding the hotel’s food and beverage offerings.

- He’s an avid skateboarder and surfer.

- Dougiello is a legit gourmand, his first cookbook, Born and Braised, is due in November.

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