Photo Credit: Pablo Gonzales
For Genevieve Peel, every day is the same because every day is different. As managing director at Hole in the Roof Marketing, she is involved in every aspect of the company and goes wherever she is needed. This could include pitching ideas, designing graphics, troubleshooting production processes, organizing or researching new products.
“It’s a little bit of everything,” Peel said. “Since I have been here for almost 14 years, I have had my hand in literally every step of the way.”
Originally from San Antonio, she never left Waco after graduating Baylor, even though she would have liked to. She completed a business degree to make her dad proud, but was constantly trying to take art, photography and journalism classes.
After graduation, she had no idea what she wanted to do. At the suggestion of a friend who would later become her husband, she started working for his brother Joel Peel, whose independent T-shirt business was barely 2-years-old and was mainly distributing to campus Greek life. Starting with just the two of them, the business took off and now has a 19-person staff that works with clients as far away as Alaska and has relocated to a two-story facility in downtown Waco.
Peel’s office is filled with sunlight and boxes of t-shirts with the words “work hard and be nice to people” printed across the front. Her freshman Baylor ID is displayed in a clear bin mounted near the door frame.
“Bless you!” Peel yells out her door after someone sneezes on the other side of the offices. Even when she is not on the clock, Peel remains thoroughly engaged with her surroundings and her people.
Lesli Hill, who works in graphic design, worked with Peel in the office for three out of the six years that she has been with the company.
“Genevieve is what you call a renaissance woman,” said Hill. “She has her hands in just about every aspect of Hole in the Roof. She is a manager, but she does so much more than just manage.”
Peel’s job is to be involved with everything and everyone all the time, but she does not see it as obligation. While that is no simple job, she is passionate about the range of diverse people and projects she works with and loves building those relationships.
“Having good and wise perspectives on things is helpful when managing people because you have different personalities and different goals and different motivations, so that’s been the most challenging and also the most rewarding part of the last 14 years.”
Peel’s attitude and energy sets the precedent for the teams under her. Conversation and laughter carry among open offices and the open floor. The atmosphere of Hole in the Roof is that of a close-knit community that focuses on relationships and quality work.
“[Joel] named it “Hole in the Roof” after a story in the Gospel of Luke, and so it is basically about friends helping friends,” Peel said. “And that’s what we try and do… that out of service and honor to God and honor to each other.”
Peel, who can combine a business mind, a creative mind and a relationship-oriented mind, makes this kind of a business thrive. Employees talk about each other like they are family.
“Genevieve is straight shooter, direct, and doesn’t beat around the bush,” said Lesli Hill. “But, she is also very kind and compassionate.”
“Genevieve is no-nonsense, but always wants to be your advocate when she can,” said Travis Young, who works sales and has been around the longest with Peel under the owner.
“She went to bat for me from day one, but what I also love is that at the same time when I’m wrong, she has no problem putting me in my place.” When a past employee was unsure about Young during his application process, Peel elected to take him in and argued that he’d be a good fit.
Young remembered that a few years ago, Peel had put a sticky note on his desktop that read “leverage your strengths” and it remains today.
In addition to being an advocate for her clients and employees, Peel is a strong advocate of the Waco community and the “Waco Suck” theory that she picked up from a friend’s blog.
“It was that theory of at first you think Waco sucks…,” she said. “And then something happens and it just sucks you in, and you can’t get away from it, and you love it.”
Local businesses like Hole in the Roof Marketing and people like Genevieve Peel are what is making Waco’s charm and allure more distinct and observable.