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Recently I started thinking about the most important thing anybody ever said to me.
It was my dad. I was in fifth grade and had just gotten my first pair of glasses; they were Coke-bottle thick and tinted yellow (hey, it was the ’70s). I had fought getting them, moving to the first row in class to better see the blackboard and making my sister take the eye exam before me, so I could try to memorize the letters.
I remember my father asking me why I was upset. After I told him that I wanted to be pretty, I remember his response even better: “Sallie, you are pretty. And look at Gloria Steinem. She wears glasses, she’s a knock-out, and she’s changing the world.”
Here’s what I took away:
My father gave me his approval in a way I could understand.
He thought a woman could make a difference. (Worth noting, in the ’70s, in South Carolina.)
This woman who was changing the world, and shaking things up, had his approval.
In doing this, he pointed me toward a role model.
Here’s the important point. There is research showing that the most important relationship in determining a woman’s success in the workplace is the one with her father.
Over to you, Dads…
Sallie Krawcheck is the Chair of Ellevate Network and Ellevate Asset Management. Ellevate Network is a professional woman’s network, operating across industries and around the world. Both businesses are committed to the full economic and financial engagement of women.