Lessons from Our Fathers

Lessons from Our Fathers

Jun 18, 2021

By: The People of Integrated Work

For those of us fortunate enough to have them in our lives, there was a point in our growth as individuals when we told our fathers (or father figures):

“Dad, let go of my hand… I got this.”

“Dad, let go of my hand… but stay close.”

“Dad, let go of my hand… it hurts.”

Whether our request was made during our adolescence or more recently in our adulthood, we were expressing our desire to fashion our own futures — shaping our own movements, mistakes, meanings, and monuments. And while letting go of our father’s hand was a destiny-driving moment in our lives and in our relationships with them, we mustn’t take for granted that we had a hand to hold on to for at least a little while – a hand to hold us up, maybe hold us back at times, but ultimately to hold us, and them together.

Through this article, the people of Integrated Work honor our father’s hands, recognizing the role each of our fathers had in helping us become the leaders we are today. We reflect on the lessons we gathered from our fathers and make sense of them through the lens of the ideals that ground Integrated Work today: Human First, Heart of Service, Integrity Always, Grow Together, Integrated Work, and Impact Amplified.

Human First

My dad constantly models the way human connection and laughter are the basis from which good work emerges, and he challenges the idea that you have to choose between being a “numbers person” and a “people person.”  -Mikayla Branz, Consultant

The importance of connection and community has been ever-present in my life, inspired by my dad. -Nadia Ali, Senior Consultant and DEI Lead

My dad’s guidance to “always leave them laughing” speaks to the non-judgment, the joy, the magic of mirth, and the uniquely human attribute of laughter. It also taught me that by connecting with people we can mitigate conflict. It was in his desire to delight, whether one person or an audience of one hundred, that I believe he directed compassion through comedy. –Tim O’Shea, Strategic Partnership Lead

My dad taught me to live your life as best as you can, but not to do it in isolation. Share your gifts, talent, and time with everyone you encounter. And most importantly, do it with a sense of humor.  –BB Pearson, Finance Lead

Heart of Service

Some quotes from my dad that are always on my mind at work are, “If you are going to do any job, then you may as well do it right.” and “Do your job and try to understand everything – like it will be your company someday.” With this mindset, I have always had great respect for the workplace and my co-workers. –Nick Delgado, Digital Design Specialist

Inspired by his faith as a Christian, to my dad, service is love in action – humbling oneself to uplift others through the tailored investment of our time, resources, and whatever else we treasure. –Darrie Matthew Burrage, Consultant

Integrity Always

My dad was and is a hard worker, putting in long hours at the office. His influence taught me to put forth my best effort, always, and to lean into personal ethics in all decision-making. –Anna King, Senior Consultant & Coach

I never saw my dad, John Patrick O’Malley, be anybody but himself, no matter the situation. He loved his family with a ferocity! He had a great bear hug and he taught me how to whistle. I miss him every day. –Mary Rianoshek, Community Curator

My dad was an avid golfer and one of the many things he loved about it is the honor system of scoring. He used it as a way to teach my brother and me the importance of telling the truth and being honorable in all choices, even when people can’t see you; maybe even more so then. –Dianne Dickerson, Vice President

You could always count on my dad, Jim, to show up with integrity and an eye for leaving things better than he found them. He is a firm believer that pretense is just a waste of time that slows down progress. To this day, he will say, “You don’t have to remember truth…” –Sean Dunn, Business Operations Lead

To have integrity means that a person is “self-aware, accountable, responsible, and truthful and that their actions are internally consistent.” This description represents my dad as a father, husband, brother, son, co-worker, manager, friend, uncle, and grandfather. He is a man of a few words but overflowing in honorable actions. He has always expressed to us that title and pay are not important if you are not happy and not doing good work. –Roma Velasco, Brand and Product Lead

Grow Together

My dad’s willingness to always sit down and have a conversation with me, rather than just telling me I was wrong, is something that showed up throughout my childhood. Whether it was math, blues music, how to build furniture, how to approach big plans about my future, how to cook, how to assert myself in a lab, how to set up a tent, or the joy (and the how-to) of having a long-term partnership and marriage. He made it feel like we were always in it together.  –Kate Shervais, Consultant and Strategy Integration Lead

My dad, Dave, has been by my side throughout each of the stages and seasons of my life. Through the ups, downs, good times, and bad, or as he likes to put it, “happy or sad,” we continue to connect on a level which only a father-daughter can; so together, we become the best version of ourselves. –Joli Sakamoto, Team Success Specialist

Integrated Work

I would say my dad was a big catalyst for my leadership philosophy and taught me a lot about the value of “Integrated Work”—he often found ways for us to weave our lives in and around his work and always taught me not to expect anyone to do a job you weren’t willing to do yourself. I’ve always taken that to heart and worked to “learn the ropes” in any role well enough to understand and be able to support anything I ask of others. –Jennifer Simpson, CEO


An emerging theme across each lesson gathered from our fathers is actually our final Integrated Work ideal: Impact Amplified. In ways spoken, modeled, welcomed, and sometimes unsettling, our fathers shaped us to become the best version of ourselves, with the subtle expectation that we would be our very best for those who surround us; which may, in turn, inspire them to be the best version of themselves. In tribute to our fathers, we now use our hands to applaud their work in helping shape us into the people we are today — for our families, our clients, and for one another as an Integrated Work team. Happy Father’s Day to you, dads; and to all dads reading this piece.