y the time that her divorce from Ed Sims was finalized, Gladys had found the love of her life. Frank Hamer already was famous as a Texas Ranger and deadly gunman, and he would prove a formidable ally for the Johnson family.
Francis Augustus Hamer was born on March 17, 1884. He was the second of eight children born to Frank and Lou Emma Francis Hamer.
A former cavalryman, the senior Hamer had served in Texas as a farrier with Col. Ranald Mackenzie and his crack Fourth Cavalry Regiment. Following his discharge, the young veteran married a Texas girl, and they raised their family in adjoining San Saba and Llano counties.
Young Francis—also called Frank or Pancho—learned his way around his father’s blacksmith shop. He grew up riding and roping, fishing and hunting, and he became an excellent shot. While reveling in the outdoor life of the Texas Hill Country, he was a bright student in the rural school at his home village of Oxford, about eight miles south of
Interview with Liz Smith, Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO of Bloomin’ Brands
How would you characterize or describe your most important mentor?
My most important professional mentor is Irene Rosenfeld, chairman and CEO of Kraft Foods. I worked with her at Kraft over the course of my fourteen years there. With Irene, what you see is what you get. She never has a personal agenda. She’s smart, objective, and fair-dealing. She is also a very courageous leader. She’s not afraid to put any truth on the table, no matter what it looks like. She always operates with transparency.
What were the traits you found most instrumental in your mentor’s work with you?
When I first worked with Irene, I was a brand manager, and she came into the Desserts Division as the division president. There were many levels between us. At the time, the Desserts Division was struggling, and she was brought in to turn it around. Irene values a flat organization. By that, I mean she makes herself accessible and wants to hear from everyone in the organization to better understand what is going on. Although I was still just a brand manager, I spent a lot of time with her discussing the business and what I thought the issues were. This was the first time I’d seen a division manager at that level work so far down in the organization to make sure she had a read on the business, that she knew the people, that she was current. She is what I call a “level-less” leader. She doesn’t communicate through hierarchy or bureaucracy. I felt like (1) I could tell her the truth about what was happening. I didn’t have to spin anything. And (2) I knew she would listen. This made a big impression on me, and has always stayed with me. In every job I’ve had, I’ve made sure that I had a strong connection at every level in the organization.