When I was five years old, my father took me to a meeting with Mayor Dianne Feinstein, the first female Mayor of San Francisco. My father, a real estate developer, was negotiating a deal to build a hotel. I sat quietly with my crayons and coloring book, observing as the two negotiated their agreement.
My father taught me a great deal after that meeting with Mayor Feinstein. I’ve applied these lessons many times, including when I fought for equal pay twice (and won).
At the start of my career, every time I spoke with my father, he’d ask me, “Are you the CEO yet?” As a petulant 21-year-old striving to find my footing in the world, I’d roll my eyes and brush him off. Becoming the CEO of a company was never something we had agreed to or negotiated. In retrospect, it’s almost humorous that we hadn’t.
Growing up, he engaged with me in negotiations on things such as payment for chores, like collecting snails out of his garden or cleaning the cupboards. He also made me sign a contract for college negotiating living arrangements, grades, and tuition payments.
Over the years, my father taught me three principles: