Mark Bennett: Diminutive Myra Janco Daniels stood tall in enterprise world | Information Columns

Think about a 24-year-old lady launching an promoting company in downtown Terre Haute that shortly…

Mark Bennett: Diminutive Myra Janco Daniels stood tall in enterprise world | Information Columns

Think about a 24-year-old lady launching an promoting company in downtown Terre Haute that shortly turned a $1-million-a-year enterprise.

Now, think about that taking place in 1949.

Myra Janco Daniels did that. And he or she did it whereas nonetheless finding out at Indiana State Academics School and dealing nights at Meis Division Retailer.

These years marked the primary steps in a profession that noticed Daniels turn into a nationwide drive in promoting; remodel Naples, Fla., right into a thriving and elite arts group; and lift vital funds for philanthropic initiatives. In 1967, she married an equally influential promoting government — Draper Daniels.

He created the long-lasting Marlboro Man, Jolly Inexperienced Large and All-State’s “You’re in Good Fingers” advert campaigns and partially impressed the main Don Draper character within the Nineteen Fifties-based TV collection “Mad Males,” which aired on AMC from 2007 to 2015.

Draper Daniels met Myra at Chicago in 1965, purchased the advert company for which she was serving as government vice chairman, and requested her to remain on as its president, impressed by her type. Myra turned the one lady to carry such a place with a significant nationwide advert company, in response to her private web site. Draper served because the company’s inventive director. Myra dealt with its advertising and marketing. Their firm thrived, dealing with accounts for Colgate-Palmolive, Maytag and different widespread manufacturers.

Her accomplishments continued, although, nicely after his loss of life from most cancers in 1983 following their transfer to Florida.


“She was fairly outstanding,” mentioned Bernie Carney, a retired, 92-year-old businessman who was a scholar in faculty courses Daniels taught at Indiana State.

Different pals mentioned the identical about Daniels, who died June 22, simply 4 days in need of her 97th birthday.

“She was a really small, diminutive woman — below 5 foot — however her stature was so huge,” longtime buddy and businesswoman Ursula Pfahl mentioned Tuesday by telephone from Naples. “There was this very small one who completed huge issues.”

Daniels began humbly however impressively. She was born and raised in Gary in the course of the Nice Despair. As a 4-year-old, Myra was requested by her grandmother, “What do you wish to be while you develop up?”

“In cost,” the little lady responded, in response to Pfahl, who’d heard Daniels inform that story.

Terre Haute was the primary place to see her notice that objective.

She selected to attend Indiana State, fairly than the College of Chicago and Northwestern, after Indiana State president Ralph Tirey met her on the native bus station for a campus go to and took her to lunch, hoping Daniels would be a part of the Sycamores’ debate group. Daniels did greater than that.

Needing a spot to remain, Daniels accepted a proposal to dwell with a retired New Goshen college instructor, Goldie Hiatt, agreeing to do home tasks and typing in trade for hire. “The one downside was, Myra had by no means finished laundry,” Pfahl defined.

So she took Hiatt’s laundry to an area laundromat and introduced it again to the home. Impressed by the end result, Hiatt requested to additionally do laundry for a buddy. “Myra realized she needed to fess up,” Pfahl mentioned.

The 2 girls turned pals, and Daniels wound up caring for Hiatt in Chicago by means of the girl’s remaining years.

Whereas only a freshman at Indiana State, Daniels served as editor of The Statesman, the campus newspaper. She quickly sought a job on the Terre Haute Tribune newspaper, however its editor refused to rent a younger feminine faculty scholar, whom he labeled “a paper doll.” So, Daniels walked down Wabash Avenue to Meis Division Retailer and instantly landed an promoting job.

A number of years later, she took $200 from her financial savings account and began her personal advert company, Wabash Promoting at 522 Ohio St. Throughout the first yr, she had 10 workers and $1 million value of invoices. Daniels was nonetheless attending Indiana State.

“I imply, she was busy,” Bernie Carney recalled. Daniels additionally taught advertising and marketing courses at Indiana State and Indiana College, including a grasp’s diploma.

Daniels usually spoke of her Terre Haute years, mentioned buddy Laney Meis, whose late husband Lucien served as Meis shops president and was a younger retailer worker when Daniels labored there.

Daniels might be demanding, Laney Meis mentioned, however solely as a result of “she needed every little thing to be prime drawer.”

Her passing, Meis added, “is like the top of an period.”

As soon as Daniels and her late husband moved to Florida following his retirement, she directed her energies towards growing the humanities and philanthropic initiatives. She helped convey “prime drawer” group belongings to Naples on southern Florida’s Gulf Coast. Her most notable creation was the Philharmonic Middle for the Arts — now often called Artis-Naples — in that prosperous metropolis of 21,750 residents. Greater than a music heart, “the Phil” can be a hub of cultural studying experiences for youths and adults. Daniels additionally led a fundraising effort to develop a symphony orchestra on Marco Island, Daniels’ preliminary Florida residence, which later turned the Naples Philharmonic.

These belongings helped Naples get named “Greatest Small Artwork City in America” within the 2005 guide “The 100 Greatest Artwork Cities in America” by John Villani.

“She put this city on the map,” Naples resident and ISU graduate Norm Winski mentioned by telephone Tuesday.

Clearly, Daniels disproved the “paper doll” label positioned on her many years in the past again in Terre Haute, many occasions over. Her contrasting first encounters with the Indiana State faculty president, Draper Daniels and Goldie Hiatt additionally replicate Myra Janco Daniels’ legacy.

“None of us ought to underestimate the influence we have now on individuals, particularly younger individuals,” Pfahl mentioned. “As a result of these impressions we have now can final a lifetime. And people have been clearly her Terre Haute impressions, and he or she spoke of them usually.”

Mark Bennett could be reached at 812-231-4377 or [email protected].