Today my daughter leaves for Bangalore, India to begin her senior year of college. She is returning to Bangalore a place she fell in love with in her sophomore year. Then she was studying at a Center with other students in her class. She returns alone for an independent study semester. My 21-year old daughter will be essentially alone in India in a few hours. This has caused me to reflect – a lot.
I might never have found my way to Insurance regulation and compliance had it not been for her. I was fairly new out of law school when she was born and my career choices were impacted to a very great degree by how I wanted to parent. By the time she was a toddler, I decided I needed the stability of a state job. The New York State Insurance Department was the first interview I got. I was really impressed with the knowledge and longevity of the three attorneys who interviewed me and when offered, I decided to take the job. As I had hoped, it was a fantastic job for a parent of a young child and the five plus years I spent there were positive, both personally and professionally. I found I really enjoyed insurance law and product review in a way I, quite frankly, did not expect to. I also loved being at the Department at a time when technology was being deployed and speed-to-market was becoming a priority. Both of those initiatives fit well with my personality and work style.
As my daughter grew, I made a series of career decisions that were efforts to balance my own professional goals with being an active parent. Some were more successful on one or the other side of the teeter-totter, but none really landed me where I wanted to be. I know I am not alone in that. I did succeed in being happy as a parent and a professional. I think I was a good role model in that for my daughter. She saw there were compromises that I had to make, some harder than others, but overall, I have no major regrets, just the minor ones that I think all parents have, whether they have paid employment or not.
It was this effort to balance the teeter-totter that led me, ultimately, to start my own business. Selection of the office location was a part of that choice. Another part was the desire to have more control over my schedule. I, pretty naively, thought that with my own firm I could more easily come and go. The growth of my company made that fairly easy to do. We were small when my daughter was in high school and so it was not too hard to leave for appointments or to attend school functions. My father was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in March of her senior year. I was very glad for every minute of flexibility I had while I (poorly) balanced this additional stressor on my time and emotional resources. In an extreme example, I was attending my daughter’s presentation of her senior project at school when my father had an allergic reaction to one of his chemo drugs and almost died. Flexibility was extremely important to me that year. My father is now in remission.
My daughter is headed rapidly toward college graduation. Her undergraduate studies have taken her through Costa Rica, India, Turkey, South Africa and now back to India. She has what is called a “Capstone Semester” in Brooklyn next semester. I am starting to hear rumblings of grad school at NYU. I am wondering about her future.
I often think about her childhood together with my career. They are connected because I connected them. I actively made decisions about both with the other in mind.
I am proud of my daughter and I am proud of the company I have built while also parenting. It has all worked for me and for my life in positive ways. As my daughter is now approaching a much more independent stage of life (dare I say fully independent?) I turn more and more attention to my work, as well as outside interests.
Just as her future is in front of her, I also feel that the future of CCS is in front of us. We continue to grow and do interesting and important work. I am privileged to work with great people who are committed to quality work product. I am excited about my daughter’s future. I am excited about CCS’ future and I am excited about my own future.
Thanks to all who have contributed along the way. I feel very lucky.