Five Lessons I Hope Mark Zuckerberg Teaches His Daughter

December 21, 2015The media, companies, and employees across the nation have applauded Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement that he will take two months of paternity leave following the birth of his daughter. Greater involvement of fathers is imperative for the growth of children and families. His public decision reinforces the importance of work-life effectiveness and flex options for all employees. And I am confident that Mark Zuckerberg’s commitment to his family won't stop here.

I am incredibly grateful to have had the good luck to have an involved and engaged father. The lessons my dad imparted are ones that all men should consider when raising their daughters (and sons). His teachings have helped me succeed through my adolescence, through college, and now early into my career.  

1. How to coach

In elementary school, my dad was my soccer coach. He taught me first-hand how to make the game fun, how to be competitive, and how to never give up. He taught me to win with grace and lose with even more.

Mentoring & Sponsoring—These coaching behaviors provided me with the foundation to mentor and sponsor others in my adult life. I know I am stronger when I surround myself with other great people, whether campus recruits or new hires. Pick an incredible team, inspire and take care of them—and win with them.

2. How to make friends

My dad is the friendliest person I know. I vividly remember standing in the living room with my dad when I was eight years old, practicing handshakes over and over again. He’d talk about when to make eye contact, how firm to hold your partner’s hand, how much to actually shake. “A handshake is a first impression someone will have of you, Tory—you want them to trust you.”

Networking—Now in a consulting career, I emulate his actions, whether introducing myself (always with a strong handshake) to those I don't know at my own firm, or "walking the halls" at my client site. Making friends—true, trusting relationships—in the business world is what drives your career forward. Cultivate your connections and network, as they are invaluable.

3. How to live the success triangle

My dad began to discuss his work with me around the time I started middle school. That meant that I actually understood what he did, and could explain it when friends asked.  When we talked about his work, he told me about his success triangle:  Attitude—Behavior—Technique. In order to be successful, we must strive to improve each component of the triangle. He taught me how this applies to my schoolwork and my athletics, and now I apply it to my work.

Career Development –My dad trained me on the groundwork for owning my career and my personal development. Attitude is how you show up. Are you positive? Do people feed off your energy? If you think you can do something, you will. Behavior is the work you put in to succeed. Are you practicing and preparing for what needs to get done? If you put in the time, you will succeed. Technique is the refinement of your skills and abilities. Are you attempting to continuously improve? If you do, you will become one of the best. Remember: Attitude—Behavior—Technique.

4. How to take risks

Throughout my childhood, my family moved around the country as my dad pursued his career. He told our family that each move was another adventure, and we were excited about it. He is truly comfortable in the uncomfortable and thrives off of calculated risk-taking. In sixth grade, he loaned me $1000 to invest in the stock market for a month. Each day we reviewed and analyzed the activity of the stock I’d bought (which at the time was Abercrombie & Fitch and Caribou Coffee). At the end of the month, I made $11, which I could keep.  

Risk TakingMy dad taught me the importance of overcoming what you are afraid of. Plunge into the unknown. What is your dream career? Are you building it within your current organization? Are you inspiring others around you to do the same? Create your own adventure—now.

5. How to do work you are proud of

When we were younger, my dad would pay us a few dollars to shine his shoes for him. He would analyze the work we did, give us feedback, and have us re-do the shoes to perfection. “Do work you are proud of, Tory.” My dad pursued a career of passion. He has continuously chosen to do work that he loves, that motivates him, and most importantly, that he is proud of.

Leadership—My dad showed me that we are at our best when we are doing work we are proud to be doing. Are you satisfied and fulfilled by what you do? Are you grateful for experiences you have had and for the people around you? Are you motivated each day to show up? Lead by example, and do what you care about.

Through his parenting, my dad instilled in me lessons that have ensured I will be successful in my career. His positive encouragement of me and my aspirations are what have motivated me to pursue my goals. His unwavering support is what every father should learn and convey to his own children.  

Let’s hope that Mark Zuckerberg will also be a father like this.  



The views expressed herein are solely those of the guest blogger and do not necessarily reflect those of Catalyst. Catalyst does not endorse any political candidates. The post and the comments are presented only for the purpose of informing the public.