I’m so pleased share the meaningful impact my parents have had on me . My parents have had enormous influence on me and my life. They’ve been married for 47 years, and are two of my best friends. Their view of service was the genesis of UniversalGiving. Giving in their lives was a natural part of their day. So helping others has become part of my life, too.
My dad taught me about value and doing the right thing at all points. He encouraged me to excellence and to be my best, and that he would love whatever that was. It wasn't about the A. It was about Excellence. That has stayed with me today, and I use it at UniversalGiving. It's now one of our values. Dad also taught me so many values about business, and, values in how you treat people. He would talk a lot about ethics, doing the right thing, how you care for people, organizations, companies. We also talked about how you overcome challenges. One very hard period of my life when I faced a difficulty, he said, " I don't want you to stress about this. Let me walk with you. Let me be by your side. Let me be your partner. We will solve this." His investment of intellect, love, care are endless and make me the social entrepreneur I am today.
My mom is my day-to-day friend and mentor. She is so present. When I call, she's there. It's that simple. She's always told me and our entire family that family is first. And she has a very accomplished "outside" life too! She is a professional concert flutist of the highest caliber. She started and leads the popular Avedis Chamber Series at the Legion of Honor.
When I was growing up, I was lucky that Mom's 'work' as a flutist was mostly at home. She practiced right next door to my bedroom. Sometimes as a teenager, I just wasn't sure if my chocolate chip cookies were done. I needed a mom's advice, that gentle encouragement that "One to two minutes more would make them just right." So I would interrupt her to see if she would come check on my cookies. Knowing Mom would drop her flute playing so she could help me always filled with my heart. I will always remember her stopping what she was doing to be there for me, and never once did she criticize me for interrupting her important flute practice.
Here's what my mom has meant to me, and her legacy in my life: I will always remember I came first with my mom.
I will always know my mom loved me and her family above everything else. I will always remember how available she was -- and is to me. She was made to love her family. It's her highest joy and calling, and she does it 100%, 100% of the time. I have tears coming down my face right now because her life has been a devotion to me, my sister, my father, her mother, her grandchildren. She simply lives to love others.
There are so many other stories...what my father taught me in my first entrepreneurial venture...and my mother’s wise words about every individual’s contribution. I hope you’ll visit my blog for more stories to see the people and ideas who are honored there!