Hi Mark -
Congratulations on the birth of your baby! You are building your family and that's a great thing to witness.
I feel the need to be honest right up front and say that I'm not sure I really ever "liked" you, Mark. I never disliked you, because the emotion was never that active. But I've never viewed you as someone that I'd be "friends" with or thought of you as someone I could trust on a personal level.
I honestly don't know why I have had that feeling all of these years; sometimes our feelings can't be tracked or explained.
I am also a dad, and your behavior around the birth of your daughter has made me take notice, and I think I owe you an apology. I didn't read you correctly.
Sure, others have criticized your highly publicized parental leave and your Foundation as being very calculated moves.
I am also a marketer, so I understand branding, positioning, and messaging. As long as everything you're doing is legal and ethical, it's not any of my business. It's your business, and it's smart if you ask me professionally.
But I'm not writing to you as a businessperson. I am writing to you as a dad.
You see when I was raising my now adult children, there weren't many of us active and vocal fathers around. Throw in the fact that I was divorced and gay... I was considered an anomaly at best. Not really ever discussed or readily accepted.
While managing my career as best I could, I put my children first and made decisions based on trying to keep us all happy. I put my efforts towards their physical safety, emotional well being, and future potential.
Your actions tell me that you are doing the same, while your circumstances are very different.
I applaud you for setting an example for your child, and for wanting to create the right kind of future for her. It doesn't matter to me that it may or may not be financially advantageous to do so, or that it helps build your brand reputation.
Honestly there's no reason why it shouldn't do those things.
Truthfully, there's nothing that'll build a person's reputation more than being a really good dad, or rather a good parent. And I'm glad that we now live in a society that recognizes that fathers can be just as active caregivers as their female counterparts and I'm glad we live in a country where guys like you can speak out about the love of their children.
Back in my day that didn't happen much, so I'm hoping that your actions will spark even more positive behavior. You're setting an example for other fathers as well as for your daughter.
As someone who chartered a very unique journey as a father, I applaud you and thank you as you do your own.