Protecting Your Seat at the Family Dinner Table


Today, The Huffington Post published a “Talk to Me” video of my daughter interviewing me. Here’s a brief synopsis of what it’s about. I hope you enjoy watching.

When it comes to balancing work and family, Mark Weinberger puts it simply: “You’ve got to protect your seat at the dining room table while you have you strive for your seat at the conference room table.”

Weinberger elaborated on how to do that with his daughter Rachel, as a part of The Huffington Post’s parent-child interview series Talk To Me, in an open conversation that offers advice on the challenges of balancing risk-taking, big life decisions, and family time over the course of a career.

Mark Weinberger is the Chairman and CEO of. EY, a professional services organization with more than 230,000 employees working in over 150 countries around the world. But to his four children and wife, he’s also a basketball coach, a driving instructor, a fan in the stands, and above all, someone to count on and look up to.

Weinberger learned the value of family from his own parents. His father, who grew up in Scranton, Pennsylvania, was the best man at his wedding, and his best friend. He taught him to make family his top priority. Mark’s mother primarily raised him and his three sisters.

“Every time I got a new role, or a new job, I’d be so excited I’d call my dad. Whether I became the Assistant U.S. Treasury Secretary, started my own business or I got a new role at work, he’d say ‘That’s wonderful. But remember I love you no matter what your title is.'”

According to Weinberger, it was lessons like that gave him the confidence to take risks and made him who he is today. In fact, Weinberger says his father gave him the best advice he’s ever gotten from anyone: “Never forget who you are, or where you came from.” He says, “It’s a great perspective, a north star.”

Now, Weinberger is passing on those same lessons to his children–along with a few new ones of his own.
For example, he wants Rachel to know that a degree “enables you, it doesn’t define you.” Mark believes there is great opportunity for the next generation no matter what their background or training.

“I’m running a big accounting firm, and I don’t have an accounting degree. When I had my law firm, I’d never practiced law before. I worked in the government, for two different presidents, and I didn’t have a political science degree.”

He also thinks learning how to learn is more important than what you learn–particularly as the world becomes more and more connected, and new kinds of challenges emerge. He argues that globalization has helped the newest generations make progress, especially on issues like diversity and gender. And while Weinberger acknowledges we still have a ways to go, he tells Rachel, “you should have every single opportunity your three brothers have, and I’m confident you’re going to take them.”

Watch the full video above to hear more of Mark Weinberger’s thoughts on the global economy, as well as what kind of legacy he wants to leave, and the result of the best decision he ever made.

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