Douglas Kirby Johnson was raised in Hyde Park on the south side of Chicago, graduating from Kenwood High School in 1975. He attended college at Harvard, graduating with BA with honors in Economics in 1979. Beginning his sophomore year, Kirby co-founded a concert promotions company with a partner that exists as a major player in the industry to this day. Upon graduation, he worked as a Production Supervisor at Polaroid Corporation before returning to Harvard to receive an MBA in 1983, with a concentration in Finance.
Kirby returned to Chicago after business school, taking a job with The First National Bank of Chicago. He held a number of positions, including helping to found the Neighborhood Lending Department, which originated low interest mortgage and small business loans in targeted low income Chicago communities. Kirby went on to hold investment banking positions at Citibank in New York, back at First Chicago in Chicago and First Union Capital Markets in Charlotte, North Carolina.
In 1995 Kirby founded AMACAR Group, a company specializing in providing financial services to large companies. AMACAR Group, although limited in size, has remained profitable for over 20 years. He volunteered as a mentor with SCORE Chicago for three years, providing free mentoring to Chicago area small businesses on the south side, and is seeking other ways to give back to the community where he was raised. Kirby is married with two adult children.