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What are you proud of in your kids’ lives?

Maddi (left) and Ellie (right)

I’m the proud father of twin daughters, Ellie and Maddi, and last month I was so proud to celebrate the two-year anniversary of Ellie graduating from my alma mater, the United States Naval Academy. Ellie, along with her classmates, swore an oath to protect and defend our Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic and be commissioned as an Ensign in the US Navy. I’m so proud that she chose to follow a similar path as I did. She’s one of the bravest people I know and has a tremendously caring heart. She is tenacious and a natural born leader.

My earliest memory of Ellie was when she was about six weeks old. It was my turn to get up and feed her and Maddi during the overnight shift. I guess I was exhausted, and by the time I heard her screams of hunger, Ellie had almost worn herself out. I couldn’t get the bottle to her fast enough and I felt horrible that I wasn’t there sooner. I saw then and there that she was a fighter and would be a voice for others and for what is right.

Shortly after graduation, Ellie learned that she was no longer medically qualified to serve in the Navy. While painful news at first, she quickly rebounded. It was then that Ellie decided she would put her leadership, listening and people skills to work in the business world. A few months later, Ellie got engaged. While elated, it was a hectic time for Ellie as she began processing herself out of the military and planning a wedding. In December 2023, Ellie got married to Jacob and she moved to Atlanta in March 2024. After three months of interviewing, I am excited to share that Ellie joined the PulteGroup as a Market Intelligence Analyst on June 17. I am so proud of Ellie for dealing with the adversity of leaving the Navy, shifting careers and finding a job in this difficult environment. I can’t wait to see where her new role will take her.

I have many reasons to be proud of Maddi, too! One of my fondest memories of Maddi is when she dressed up as a nurse for Halloween. She must have been around seven at the time. She knew at this early age that she wanted to serve others and help them get well.

Maddi graduated in 2021 as a registered nurse with a BS from Saint Anselm College, a four-year program. It is one of the most selective and respected programs in New England and is one of only three nursing programs in which the Boston Hospitals actively recruit. Maddi realized while at Saint Anselm that she wanted to serve children. After graduation, she studied hard for the NCLEX-RN® and passed it on her first try. Shortly after, she landed a role as a pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) nurse at UNC Children’s. Maddi is selfless and tenacious when it comes to giving care to her patients, who range from infants to 21 year olds. Many are very sick. Some, sadly, don’t make it.

Four months after working for Children’s, Maddi was asked to precept [mentor] a new nurse who joined the PICU. Normally, this role requires a minimum of one year experience. In Maddi’s two and half years she has precepted dozens of other nurses, was designated to represent her floor during a hospital audit, is attending to patients on ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation), a form of life support for the most threatening illnesses, and, most recently is caring for postoperative heart surgery patients.

To say I am proud of my daughters would be a gross understatement. I hope they will continue to keep an attitude of service and leadership as they pursue their uniquely different careers.

What are you proud of in your kids’ lives? How have you watched them grow and develop as leaders through the careers they have chosen? Often, on LinkedIn, we only focus on our own careers or the careers of our peers. But I think taking a moment to recognize the fact that through our own careers, our children have watched us. Hopefully, we have instilled in them integrity, courage and a strong work ethic, so that when they go out into the world, they can help make it better simply by being true to themselves. That’s something to be proud of!