Every year I’ve celebrated Father’s Day in the same fashion. I’ll make my dad a card listing off adjectives that I feel best describe him, and maybe buy him a toy for the backyard or cottage. But this year, the 18th time around, I’ve been inspired to do something different.
In advance of this Father’s Day, G(irls)20 has launched their Fathers Empowering Daughters campaign in celebration of dads around the world. The campaign is designed to raise awareness about the leadership role a father plays in his daughter’s development by showcasing amazing dads and daughters everywhere.
I have really lucked out with my dad. To cite the many Father’s Day cards I’ve written, I would describe him as “funny, smart, and kind,” but I’m not going to focus on that today. Instead, I would rather talk about what an inspiring role model he has been to me over the past 18 years and how he has empowered and supported me throughout them.
His trust in all my choices, whether he agrees with them or not, has given me confidence in my potential and myself. His dedication to being my personal cheerleader and coach, despite being busy with many meetings, a lot of travel, and long work hours, has been the wind beneath my wings in each endeavor I pursue. And above all, his unconditional love and encouragement has been a constant in my life, and without it I do not know what I would do or who I would be today.
In that sense, he is similar to the countless number of other fathers who have taken part in Fathers Empowering Daughters, including the likes of Richard Branson (founder, Virgin Group), Quincy Jones (producer) and Ziauddin Yousafzai (activist, Malala’s father). He understands the kinds of results that can be achieved when you decide to invest in your daughter.
We see the result of such investments every day, as they are reflected in the increasing number of women leading businesses, organizations and communities. What these women share in common is that many of them have one very special person to credit much of their success to– Dad.
I am not alone in believing that my dad has and will continue to be an important driving force in my life. Chelsea Clinton, Shakira, Petra Nemcova and Sarah McLachlan are only a few women who have joined G(irls)20’s campaign. While each of these women may be powerful in their own way, what they share in common is a father figure that has guided them through their journey to success, leading the way with his love and support.
To sum it all up– thank you for everything, Dad. You are so much more than just “funny, smart, and nice,” but also an encouraging, strong-willed and inspiring leader who will continue to motivate me for the rest of my life. And most importantly, you are someone who I am proud to call my father.