My father, Bob Parks, sold bonds for virtually his entire professional career. He started at Cantor Fitzgerald in the summer of 2001, having been out of the business for several years. The hiatus wasn’t by choice, but frankly it was probably for the best, especially since he spent much of it teaching, one of his greatest passions.
I’ve inherited more than a few character traits from my father. People who knew him the best remind me of that often. Depending on the circumstance, I generally take it as a compliment. Lately, however, I’ve reflected on the fact that it’s strange to think so many people knew my father better or at least longer than I did.
I was fourteen years old on September 11th, 2001. At that point in my life, my greatest concern was fitting in as a freshman at the high school my father strong-sold to me. It was one of his greatest triumphs to have me enroll at Red Bank Catholic high school. It was a big change from the public schools I was used to, but my four years there turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life.
Change is scary. My dad was no stranger to it, particularly in 2001 when he persistently fought to attain a job. Then again, what choice did he have? In his day job, he dealt with rejection on a daily basis; not everyone wanted the product he was selling.
I started my own business last year and deal with that same challenge, but rejection has only strengthened my resolve. After all, what choice do I have? I followed my father’s footsteps into the financial industry. So, I’m used to making pitches, cold calls and hearing “no.”.
The easiest sales pitch I’ll ever make is on behalf of Tuesday’s Children. I’m a board member, fundraiser, and whatever else the charity needs me to be. My main association, however, to Tuesday’s Children is as a beneficiary; it was founded in the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks and, today, it remains one of the few existing organizations whose core mission is to provide programs and services to all the families and individuals those events affected.