Work & Career
11 Stories That Prove the Life-Changing Impact of Take Your Daughter to Work Day
Visiting a parent at work can open up all sorts of career possibilities. To find out just how powerful this experience could be, we asked women of all ages for their best Take Your Daughter to Work Day memories. Here’s how that holiday inspired their goals for the future.
Welcome a world where women are the bossCourtesy Kaitlin McCready
One afternoon when I was 12, I found my mom and Aunt Cassie whispering. My aunt then asked me, “Kaitlin, what would you think if you took off school one day and came to work with me instead?” My eyes darted to my mom. She wasn’t one to let me off of school for any reason, but she was giving me an encouraging nod. That was all I needed to say yes—although I wasn’t even sure I knew what I was saying “yes” to. My aunt worked in downtown Cleveland, so all I cared about was taking the train and getting my favorite orange chicken in the Tower City food court. My mom was a stay-at-home mom, so working women seemed like an anomaly to me (this was in the ’90s). It wasn’t until that day that I even realized working was an option for me. Aunt Cassie’s Take Your Daughter to Work Day had introduced me to a hidden world where women were the boss at home and at work (my aunt’s boss was a woman). I needed to be a part of it. After leaving my Midwest roots to find new opportunities in New York City, I’m now ten years into my career as a communications strategist in the tech industry.—Kaitlin McCready
By the way, here’s why women make the best bosses, according to science.
A legacy of compassion and careCourtesy Beatrice Tauber Prior
My mother was a nurse and often took me along to visit the families she was caring for, including one woman who had a series of strokes and was bedridden. One afternoon, my mom told me that we needed to visit the woman at her home to help with medications, and we would stop at a store on the way. I thought we would stop at a pharmacy, but we pulled up to a Macy’s. My mom headed to the Estée Lauder counter and bought the most expensive bottle of perfume they offered. She also bought a beautiful nightgown. When I asked my mom who the items were for, she said they were for her client. My mom further explained that although this woman was older and bedridden, she was still a lady, and she deserved to be treated with dignity and grace. She explained to me that when we care for someone, we look past the disability or the illness and we look into the soul of the human so we can connect with them with compassion. I soon realized that my mother’s greatest strengths were caring for the very young and the very old, those who can not advocate for themselves and need trustworthy care providers. I knew in 9th grade I would become a doctor. Today, I work as a clinical psychologist, and I’m not surprised that I find my practice filled with clients who are very young and very old.—Beatrice Tauber Prior
Want to hear more about the inspiring work done by medical professionals? Check out these heartwarming stories of nurses who went above and beyond the call of duty.
A mantra to remember: Start in the kitchenCourtesy Jen Salamandick
My dad ran a business called Something Special Deli Foods that made antipasto and pepper jellies. On Take Your Daughter to Work Day in 1999, I was pretty sure I was going to hang out in his office with him, listen to phone calls, and go out for a long lunch. In reality, I ended up spending the day in the kitchen, literally getting my hands dirty. When we talked about it after, he explained that for years, the now automated processes was done by hand. He was in the kitchen with just a handful of people prepping, cooking, jarring, and labeling. He wanted me to learn the basics, to “start in the kitchen.” He also said that in order to be able to sell the product or manage the people who make the product, a person needed to understand how the product was made. That statement stuck with me. I’m a partner/founder of a marketing agency, and while we don’t have food to prep or anything to put in jars, I’ve carried the concept of “starting in the kitchen” with me. If you don’t know about all of the little things that go into building a website, a brand, or a marketing strategy for a client, how can you sell one?—Jen Salamandick
The creative path to insuranceCourtesy Hannah Sullivan
My dad owns a few insurance agencies, so basically, any day was Take Your Daughter to Work Day. On the way to work, I would pretend I was making important calls on the car phone, and when I got there, I loved running through the halls. While at work, my favorite thing to do was scan things (especially my hands with all of my rings, while making peace signs or thumbs up). I’ve always known I wanted to work in a creative field. Scanning felt like the only creative thing to do at an insurance agency. That, and draw pictures for my dad to hang in his office. People asked if I was going to work at the office when I got out of college, and I thought the answer was a hard no. I went to grad school to get my Master’s in Business and Art Direction. I moved to New York to work as an art director for a bit. Surprisingly, a few years later, I am back in Virginia where I grew up and have just launched my very own insurance platform with my wife, Jade and, of course, with Dad’s help. We offer business insurance to the self-employed. My dad is the most positive person I’ve ever met—it doesn’t matter if it’s 6 a.m. or 10 p.m., he’s always available and gives great advice.—Hannah Sullivan
Learning to be a leaderCourtesy MMJ Labs
In 2004, when my daughter, Jill, was two, I invented a device to block needle pain. When I launched the device formally in 2009, Jill began going to trade shows with me. Since then, she has become the best booth buddy, and even as a teenager, she explains to doctors how the physiology works, how to use the device, and makes sales and marketing strategy decisions. She frequently says that her work in the booth makes giving school presentations no problem. From my perspective, Jill began actively discussing developing her own leadership after hearing me talk about running my team. She now leads design and scouting for her robotics team. She wants to be the CEO of a company and now, at 15, she’s already a tough salary negotiator.—Amy and Jill Baxter
Taking a career in music seriouslyCourtesy Adam Cole
When I was in my early 30s, I went back to college to earn my degree in music education. My daughter, Cecilia, named after the patron saint of music, was 5 years old when I took her to school with me. She attended my piano lab, where students play piano for one another for feedback. My daughter charmed everyone by taking careful “notes” on the performances. Cecilia says, “Seeing my dad taking music so seriously, and seeing music in an academic context, made me realize that I could take it seriously and that it was a real academic option.” At 18, she is currently auditioning at top music schools in New York and Boston as a voice major after years of lessons and participation in school choruses.—Adam and Cecilia Cole
Radio runs in the familyCourtesy Samantha Wenig
My mom, Jody Berger Wenig, has always worked in the radio business, so being able to join her for a day “in the city” was so memorable. At the time, she was working for WOR 710AM. During Take Your Daughter to Work Day, I was able to be on the radio with legendary radio personality Joan Hamburg, meet the entire production team, learn about all of the radio personalities’ backgrounds, and see first-hand the ins and outs of what it takes to run a successful radio station. In my senior year of high school, I decided to intern at (what was) New York’s MIX 102.7FM. I am currently the Vice President of London Misher Public Relations, a New York City-based public relations agency. Radio has changed over the years but is still a key player for a lot of my clients who range in fields from fashion to real estate. Public relations and radio have many overlaps, so I think I fell into the perfect career.—Samantha B. Wenig
A burgeoning businesswoman, all thanks to DadCourtesy Samantha Zucker
I remember going to Take Your Daughter to Work Day when I was 8 years old with my dad at the operations center where he worked as a project manager. At that point, I had no idea what he did, but I knew that I liked where he worked. I continued to visit over the years, sometimes sitting in meetings with him and watching how he managed his team, but mostly spinning around in his desk chair and leaving drawings on his whiteboard. When I was looking at colleges, I knew I wanted to do business, but it was my dad who convinced me to do the Business IT program at Virginia Tech. In my second year, I started taking project management and technology courses. When I came home at the end of the second semester, my father asked me to give input on a training deck he was working on. I was able to point out a mistake he made on one of the slides. He thought it was great that I learned the material that well.—Samantha and Alan Zucker
All the fashion possibilitiesCourtesy Amanda Basse
I took my 11-year-old daughter, Inés, with me to work for the day at my job designing menswear. Inés has always been a little artist and has started to venture into sewing and design. I was sure she’d reach boredom by lunch, as her designs tend to be brightly colored and less structured. But Inés was engaged the entire day; she explored fabric textures, colors, patterns, and buttons with delight in her eyes. On the ride home, she looked at me and said, “I had no idea a men’s suit could have so many intricacies. Some of those fabrics are luxurious.” To hear her call suit fabric “luxurious” made my day. In her mind, she equated menswear to black and blue suits. She was surprised to learn all the fabric possibilities for menswear. I am not sure she will pursue fashion design, but at least she knows it is an option.—Amanda Basse
An extraordinary career is an optionCourtesy Kelley Buttrick
Watching my mom turn her passion into a career inspired me to do the same thing, and I hope I can be an example for my two daughters as my mom is for me. I am an award-winning professional voice-over talent running a successful business in the gig economy, and my daughter Cameron wants to be a Broadway star. When my client needed a child’s voice for a Chevrolet commercial he was producing, he called and asked if Cameron, 8, might consider it. She had never done voice-over before but was having a blast acting with a local children’s theater group. She jumped at the chance. I’d been hired to voice the mom in the commercial, so her first time doing voice-over was also our first voice acting job together. She says, “Working with mom showed me that I don’t have to go into a typical career field—I can do something out of the ordinary. Mom did it, and I can too.” I have a newfound respect for my daughter watching her professionalism and commitment to this career path.—Kelley and Cameron Buttrick
Don’t miss these empowering stories of women you didn’t learn about in history class.
A father-daughter performanceCourtesy Alissa Musto
At four years old, I used to sit by the door with a guitar my mom bought me at a garage sale and beg my musician father to take me to work with him. He told me that if I learned to play an instrument, that someday I could. I started playing the piano that year. Since my dad worked at night, there were many days where I would accompany him to sound checks or rehearsals. I was always in awe when I saw him perform live. Today, in addition to having our own solo acts, we often perform together as dueling piano partners for corporate events and weddings.—Alissa Musto
Read on for more stories of inspiring women changing lives around the world.