See that beautiful young woman at the right? That’s my daughter. I usually say our daughter, since my wife had a significant role in the process, but on that day, at that moment, she was my daughter. She’s about to call a bunch of geeks and business people to attention and kick-off the 9th Annual WorkSmart Summit. I’ve been in the audience for all nine but this was the best one yet.
WorkSmart is a one-day technology conference produced by ADNET Technologies. I’ve written about ADNET before but I’m not going to talk about them today. If you’re in New England (or not) and you have an interest in technology, please take a look at this organization.
The story about how a BFA Photography major ended up managing marketing for a technology services firm is a strange mix of personalities and capabilities coming together at the right point. I think of it the way I think it must have been when wild yeast blew into what would become the first good batch of beer. OK, maybe it wasn’t quite that dramatic an encounter, but it is in my mind.
It’s easy to be proud of your daughter. As parents, we find our lives chockablock full of moments where we are proud of our children.
“Chockablock full” by the way is how the Dean of the Hartford Art School described what we were to expect from the Freshmen Art Show during new-parent orientation. I’ve always liked that expression.
We were proud of our daughter’s artwork in that show. We were proud of her artwork when a piece of sculpture was picked for a special show during her undergraduate years. We were proud of the paintings she had in a show after spending time in Sicily with a professor and a small group of students and we were very proud of her senior show. We were even proud of the artwork she hated. Those were all different. Those were all times when we could be expected to be proud, where we could stand back and be proud as we watched her work to form her vision in wood, in steel and on canvas and film. Those were times where being proud was easy. It wasn’t complicated and it wasn’t weird.
Seeing her at the podium of an event when I was in the audience was weird.
I never expected our daughter to enter my world. I never encouraged her to enter my world. When she first took this job, I thought she was nuts – I told her that – OK, I asked her that, as in: “are you nuts?” She wasn’t nuts. As a customer of the company she works for, I receive the product of her work in my inbox, in my mailbox and in my browser. It’s good work. When I react to all the bad marketing in my inbox, mailbox and browser, I find myself comparing it to the good work that she produces. I send her examples of bad marketing all the time. But. It’s. Weird. Seeing her at that podium.
I don’t know how to describe the weirdness. I’ve asked myself if it’s a jealous kind of weird and it’s not. I tried to figure out if it’s a student-exceeding-the-teacher kind of weird and it’s not. I didn’t teach her most of the technology she knows and I didn’t teach her much at all about art. I think it’s just weird because most parents don’t get to interact with their children at work. Then again, as the title says, it’s also a happy and proud kind of thing.
I do get to interact with my daughter at work. How cool is that? I’ll tell you, it’s totally cool. We know a lot of the same people, we don’t do the same thing, but we use some of the same tools and that’s cool. She is part of two amazing events (there’s also a Chili Cook-off) each year and I get to see her during those events. I get to see how amazing those events are, and I get to see how she works to help make them amazing. I know the fantastic people that she works with and knowing them also makes me happy.
Every parent wants their child to be happy, to be safe, to learn, to grow, to be challenged and to be able to respond to the challenges they encounter in life. ADNET is the kind of company that provides the environment necessary to meet those goals. The president & CEO of ADNET is focused on quality and on value. The other people that I know at ADNET are people I absolutely trust to help with all of those desires we have for our daughter. Her boss is one of the most passionate mentors on the planet and her coworkers are the kind of people who would help you hide the bodies. That’s just an expression; I’m not saying that bodies have been hidden.
Faith reminded me that I taught her to “be open to opportunities that you don’t expect to find.” That sounds like something I might say. It sounds like something my father might have said to me. It sounds like good advice.