When I was younger, one of my favorite things to do was to visit my dad at his office and play in the office supply cabinet. My sisters and I would pull out sticky notes, folders and pens and have a field day doing who knows what. My mom would give us Lipton tea from the break room and I'd pour in bags and bags of sugar. It was great.
I loved sitting at the big conference room table, my toes barely scraping the floor. I'd still feel big and important. We'd draw silly pictures on the white board. Sometimes we'd come back and the pictures would still be there. My dad is a hoarder of memories, so I wouldn't be surprised if that white board was buried somewhere in my parents' garage with a picture of a cat I'd drawn still on it.
It's pretty amazing, now that I think about it, that I was able to go to my dad's office. His very own office, where he was the boss.
It's not surprising at all though. My dad taught, and more importantly, showed me early on that I could do anything I wanted. Why not, he did. When he was younger he worked hard and earned an ROTC scholarship to Rice University where he received a degree in electrical engineering and went on to become a pilot in the Navy. In his free time he performed magic shows. Hey, we all need a creative outlet, right?
After retiring from the Navy, he worked his way up in the commercial airline industry and eventually went on to found, with six other partners, a new airline called Jet America. After they sold the airline, he was able to finally pursue a lifelong dream of having his own company. Somewhere along the way he got his MBA and is set to complete his third Masters degree in a few weeks, at age 70.
Ever since I sat at that conference table as a kid I knew I wanted my own company, just like my dad. More than that though, I wanted a life where I was intentional about what I wanted, and how I got there. My dad has always been my hero and my role model. He is ambitious; he is level-headed; he is loving and loyal to his family, and he is kind and generous with others.
Dad, thank you for being a great example of what it means to be a human. Thank you for supporting me in every success and failure it took to finally start my own company. You have patiently taken every phone call to listen to me whine and panic, and have celebrated with me during every mini-victory. You consistently remind me that "If it was easy, anyone could do it." I could not have done this without your example, and without your love and patience. Thank you for helping me realize my dreams. This one's for you.