John House, a BETF Person of Courage



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John House grew up with 6 brothers and sisters in the Oak Cliff neighborhood of Dallas. His family was typical of most families at the time living month-to-month to make ends meet. They alternated between months where all the bills could be paid and months where they needed help from food stamps.

As a kid, John stood out as a straight A student in school. His parents stressed that education was the key to getting out of poverty. John was also a good athlete playing baseball, basketball and soccer. He always dreamed of going to college on a sports scholarship.

However things change around the time he turned 13. John moved in with his older brother a few miles away because his parents house was full. His sisters had become teenage moms and were now living at home with their new families.

A short while later his parents got divorced and John moved back in with his father to take care of his younger brother while their dad went to work. Their neighborhood was a tough one with regular gang violence and shootings. On multiple occasions as a teenager John had been shot at and personally witnessed friends and strangers getting shot.

Once in high school things got progressively worse. John faced pressure from various gangs and individuals to sell drugs, steal cars for cash and commit violent crimes. He had stopped going to school and gave up on any hope of going to college. It was at this point when he witnessed a fatal shooting from 2 feet away that John knew he had to do something different.

Fortunately John’s dad decided he couldn’t afford to keep the house they grew up in anymore and moved to a cheaper suburb of Dallas. John quickly got a job at an office supply store. About 6 months later John’s dad decided to kick him out of their apartment. So at 17, John was now out on his own and working full time.

This adversity actually gave him more encouragement to succeed. He vowed to himself to show his family and the world that he could get the college degree he dreamed of as a kid. So John took his high school equivalency test and then enrolled in the local community college. He worked full-time during the day and went to classes from 5-10 p.m. every night.

After 2 years John had enough credits and a high enough GPA to transfer to the University of Texas at Austin to study civil engineering. From there he went on to join the Air Force and served 8 years in the public affairs and marketing career fields. After leaving the Air Force, John used his GI Bill benefits to get a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Maryland University College and a Masters in Business Administration from the McCombs School of Business, University of Texas at Austin.

John continued his career outside of the military working as a manager and director at various companies and government agencies. In 2013 he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and required major surgery to remove the tumor. The recovery process was going to take 6-12 months. During this time he was let go by his employer. So at this point John had a wife and 3 children to support and no job. He also didn’t know if his cancer had already spread to other internal organs or exactly what his future held if he had to receive more treatment.

So John’s family sold their house and everything they owned and moved to England, where his wife was originally from. Less than a year later another tumor was found in his lymph nodes, but luckily it was away from any vital organs and easily removed with surgery.

John continued his recovery in England and almost by necessity started his own business because of the need to have job flexibility. This ended up being a blessing in disguise. John discovered that he could actually make money at doing the things he really enjoyed and was naturally good at.

He started his marketing agency with one client and built up new clients 1-at-a-time through referrals. He quickly leveraged his initial business relationships to take on more work and expanded from marketing consulting to market research and social media marketing. His company now does work for small and medium sized businesses, as well as performing marketing campaigns for bigger brands like KFC and Starbucks.

Today, John House is the Owner and Managing Director of Pintrical, a marketing agency based in England. On his way to becoming an entrepreneur, John has overcome poverty, surviving gang related violence, being a high-school dropout and most recently pancreatic cancer.


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