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Dunkin' Brands
The man behind the brands
The man behind the brands

The gig: After cheeseburgers and doughnuts, it was time for coffee and tea. Stints at McDonald's and Dunkin' Brands led John Dawson to his first chief executive position in January 2014. Dawson, 51, runs one of the nation's oldest and biggest privately held specialty coffee chains — Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. Mentors: First was his father, George, who worked in the personnel department at Ralph Parsons in Pasadena. "I learned a lot from him about how to approach people," Dawson said. "He talked in a nice, friendly, non-coercive way." Later, it was self-improvement guru Dale Carnegie. "I have read Dale Carnegie's 'How to Win Friends...

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