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  • Writer's pictureAlison Conigliaro-Hubbard

A Little Story About Success...

I spent too many decades buying into the storyline that the more grandiose the title, the bigger the number in a paycheck, the more stuff I could afford to do… that was the meaning of success.


Then my dad, with whom I was very close, passed away suddenly almost 9 years ago. After what I observed at his service, this clumsy definition was almost immediately redefined.


I come from humble roots.  Yes, some who know a bit about my mom’s career believe we never struggled. Let me be clear: she worked her butt off and sacrificed so much to get where she went in her chosen career. She was/is a pioneer as a woman in leadership in a male-dominated field. And, when I was born, my mom had not yet gone back to business school or risen in the ranks where Wall Street met technology.


My Dad was coming out of the US Air Force Security Service (USAFSS), and we lived in humble apartments or 2 family homes in Brooklyn (pre-gentrification). My dad made $100/week to support our family, and worked in the city until midnight every night, building a small data processing business using mainframes. 


We had a happy life.  As a family we made Christmas ornaments out of canned-food tops, painted with rims of red electrical tape. We went to the park & Coney Island.  We were lucky to take a couple of short (yet memorable for a lifetime) trips to #DisneyWorld with hard-earned savings – my memory is dad only came for a couple of days because he was working to take care of us. He was a great man who lived his life through the values of the Air Force: Integrity, Service Before Self, Excellence in all we do – characteristics I learned from his example.


While my mom climbed to the top of the Institutional Investor (II) lists, my dad was her biggest cheerleader, and continued to work the same way he always had, with his only focus on being a responsible contribution to our family – my brother Andy now also in the picture. Mom worked hard and achieved the culturally accepted version of success. Dad worked hard, and also made close friends wherever he went.


At his service after he passed away, what I observed was something quite awakening.  People came from every walk of life and every layer of life (even my life) to pay their respects to a man who left an impression. Doormen, his trainer, old military brothers, friends from my high school class, distant relatives, my sister-in-law’s daughter, mom’s colleagues, the man from Shop Rite in New Jersey, our long-time housekeeper from when we were growing up, people from the pizza place in Jersey City, friends of my closest aunt…so many people from different places in life.


It was that day when I learned that REAL success comes in so many forms.


It doesn’t have to be about what we have, nor about a paycheck. It can be about the connections we make along the way and the company we keep for the long haul.


My dad was a greatly successful man.


How do you define success?

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