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A Father's Love

Monday 04, Feb 2019

Author – Michelle Weatherhead

I wrote this in memory of my loving father who I suddenly lost 16 years ago.  His death has changed me forever, but his love, encouragement and belief in my career success continues on.  
“connect, support, collaborate and inspire”
This is what it’s all about. 

A few weeks ago one of my colleagues came into work excitedly telling me how his 8-year-old daughter had just been on an app coding course.
In his words…My daughter had an absolute ball and was very excited to show me the game she made and is planning her next games. More than that she was able to bring home a good understanding of what she’d learnt and actually completed the whole course again when she got home… It’s brought out her experimental side which I love, trying new things just to see what happens.

How wonderful to see this father supporting and encouraging his daughter to programme.

This got me thinking about my career and what forces were at play around my decisions to pursue and maintain a career in “IT”.  There are many factors at play – I have worked hard, been in the right place at the right time and had wonderful managers and mentors.  But without question I point my career success to my parent influence.  My mother was a microbiologist and father an IT strategist for New Zealand Government.Without question I was guided, and expected to study STEM at high school and university.

Laying the foundations in pointing me towards STEM studies was key, but I think more importantly my father lay the social foundations for entering a world of business in the IT sector.  Once I entered university my father encouraged me to meet with him and his work colleagues for a monthly after work “networking session”… code: “beer” at the local Wellington institution “Backbencher pub”.  It was here I learnt to interact with senior exec’s and the importance of connections and networking.  Learning to build and maintain win-win business relationships is critical to career success.

Quick detour to a diversity panel recently held by AISA and CBA in Sydney.  The inspirational key note panellist from CBA shared her story and perspectives.  In particular, a study about the impact of gender bias, marketing and in my mind – the impact parental choice has on children’s subsequent careers.  There are some fascinating statistics that demonstrate a correlation between children computer game marketing and female participation in the computer science domain.  To hear more about this please access the recording available from this link.

The impact of parental influence is something that I think about and action daily with my two beautiful children Olivia and Charlie.

Best wishes, Michelle