When I was young, I wanted to be an ice skater. But that didn't stop my dad from bringing me to his office on the many Saturdays he spent working hard to nurture and grow the company my grandfather founded, and our family still owns. It wasn't long before I learned the value of hard work and what it takes to run a successful family business. I listened as he had difficult conversations. And I watched him smile as he saw members of his team succeeding and, as a result, achieving personal growth and advancing the company's success.
I heard stories about the business, as well as the personal challenges his team would present to him. I observed his steady hand — balancing the business responsibilities and the personal priorities of his staff. And I saw the camaraderie and common purpose he shared with his core team — some of whom started out like aunts and uncles to me and would wind up as my mentors. You see, I remember when the company was small enough that my parents could host holiday parties at our home, and my sisters and I would eagerly mingle with the guests and offer them hors d'oeuvres.
While I knew my dad undoubtedly loved me, my sisters and my mom, on one of those Saturdays it hit me that he also loved his job — loved the business, the company and the people he worked with. And over time, I grew to love it too.
I was so inspired by the experience of tagging along to the office with my dad that, as soon as I graduated from college, I wanted in. I started out the way most Enterprise employees do, taking care of customers in a neighborhood branch office while learning the ins and outs of the business and moving up step by step. And now, here I am. I'm honored to play a key leadership role in a $24 billion global industry leader.
Now, with two young girls of my own, I am bringing them along to work with me. Not every day, of course. But on the right days. I'm showing them the world of business. I'm exposing them to hard work. I'm explaining and demonstrating how it feels for me to make tough, sometimes unpopular decisions, and the joy I experience when we win.
I want them to understand that when I'm video chatting with them at bedtime and kissing screens instead of foreheads because I'm on the road, that's me doing my best to be two places at once. It's not easy sharing responsibility for both a family and a company, but it's possible, especially since I have such a supportive husband. So someday, when they're across a desk from someone who asks them how they envision their future, they know there are no limits.
It comes naturally to us as parents to share the things we love with our kids, whether it's music, literature, sports or the great outdoors. We do it because we know how much these things can enrich their lives. We should just as naturally share a career we love, because it just might become their life's work, too.
So, to all the other hardworking moms pursuing their passions, I encourage all of you not just to bring your kids — girls and boys — to work. Bring them into your work. Whether you work from home or bring them to the office as I do, show them how hard and fulfilling and fun it can be, all at the same time. And help them understand how and why it fuels you personally and professionally to make an impact on the lives outside the four walls of your home.