I grew up observing his triumphs and setbacks, through economic expansions and recessions. I didn’t fully understand what he was building, but I knew that he was working hard to do it, putting two kids through college and supporting his family while pursuing the dream of being an independent entrepreneur.
As I grew older, he always told me that the door would be open should I ever want to learn the business and join him. It was never really a thought for me, and much of that was due to my parents encouraging me to pursue my own passions and follow my own path. I was also stubbornly independent, wanting to prove to myself that I could succeed on my own in professional endeavors – also very much encouraged by my parents.
My early path was set during my first trip abroad in 1992 when I was 13. My parents took me to England during a school break and a curiosity for international travels and affairs was born. I began reading The Economist at my dad’s suggestion and consulted maps frequently to figure out where countries were located. I was fortunate to travel abroad with my parents many more times, including a trip to Tunisia and Italy to visit my brother, who was serving in the Peace Corps. One summer my dad and I worked out a deal for me to travel to France to attend French Scout Camp and stay with a host family, contingent upon me earning enough money through babysitting jobs to pay for half of my airfare. I proved so successful that my lobbying for future such deals was denied.