March 26, 2008

Leon Henry ’55

Leon Henry ’55 and his wife started their business by placing ads on paper bags used by supermarket and drug store chains.

Leon Henry '55 takes the idea of the mom-and-pop operation to a new level. The chairman and CEO of marketing firm Leon Henry, Inc., Henry works with his wife, Thelma, who serves as president and treasurer, and their three daughters, Lynn, Gail and Barbara, who hold corporate positions within the company alongside 30 other staff members.

After graduation, Henry discovered that Manhattan ad agencies didn't pay him enough to support his growing family. He and his wife ultimately developed their own business at the kitchen table, starting out by placing ads on paper bags used by supermarket and drug store chains. Today they specialize in insert media marketing — a concept Henry pioneered — which places ads from one company into the packaging or materials of another. Over the past 52 years, the firm has exceeded $350 million in sales.

In 2006, Henry received the Corporate Silver Apple Award from the Direct Marketing Club of New York. "I couldn't have done what I've done without my wife," Henry said in his remarks at the award ceremony. "Her job as president and treasurer is what has kept us in the profit column for the past 50 years. It pays to be married to the boss."

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