We Couldnt Have Done It Without You Mom

We Couldn't Have Done It Without You, Mom

9 minute read
Dom Nicastro avatar

Summer of 1986. T-Ball city championship. Twins versus Astros. Gloucester, Mass. The Twins make the final out of the inning. Their players begin to scurry off the field to prepare for their final at-bat.

One of those players, the center fielder, stopped for a bathroom break. Right there. On the baseball field. In his pants. In front of everyone.

About 15 minutes later, that player, with a fresh pair of shorts, would hit a towering, game-winning home run. And the Twins were champions.

Turns out, Mommy of course had an extra pair of shorts just for cases like this. Mom bolted out of the stands, shorts in hand, and took that center-fielder into the woods for a quick change.

29 years later, on this Mother’s Day weekend, that center fielder says, “Thank You.” Maybe he should have said it 29 years ago on that T-ball baseball field. But, hey, 29 years later in one of his tech articles -- that’s not so bad, right?

So ... Thank You, Ma Cathy, the Best Mother in the World, Love Your Son, Dom.

Our Biggest Fans

It’s a great time, of course, to be thankful for moms. So on this Mother's Day, we decided to ask a few people in the tech world to tell us a little about their own moms — and why they're thankful, too.

Miguel Valdes Faura, CEO and Co-Founder, Bonitasoft

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What values did your mom teach you that you carried into the tech world? Be humble and honest, and strive for excellence in everything you do.

What makes your mom the best?My mom is not a computer-friendly person, but since I left my home country (Spain) and since the creation of Bonitasoft, she has made a huge effort to understand our domain.

She is our No. 1 fan, learning how to follow BPM activity on Twitter, searching for related company/product articles, watching interviews and ... learning English! She is sometimes aware that I’m speaking at conferences before I am!

Brendan Morrissey, CEO, Netsertive

 What values did your mom teach you that you carried into in the tech world? In addition to integrity and generosity, my mother Nancy instilled the idea of hard work without complaining. It wasn’t until later in life when you understand life’s responsibilities that it becomes important to focus energy on priorities, without wasting time looking back or complaining. This is a critical capability when building a tech startup. It’s all about hard work and focus when faced with endless volleys of new opportunities and challenges.

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Another important value my mother instilled in me that I’ve used in building teams and relationships today is humility. Overly inflated egos or lack of integrity may drive a short-term gain, but it will eventually come full circle and work against you. In my opinion, it’s better to have some humility in business and life.

What makes your mom the best? I think one of the best things about her is that she knew how to discipline.

In spite of the questionable choices I’ve made — particularly as a teenager — she left room for me to experience things for myself so that I could learn, rather than trying to protect me from life’s natural occurrences.Her guidance has helped me become a better tech leader today.

Dan Pickett, CEO, nfrastructure

What values did your mom teach you that you carried into the tech world? My mom Roe was fiercely loyal, highly assertive and extremely generous. I’ve embraced those same values when evangelizing our culture and building our team. Our people and the culture they’ve created are the No. 1 reason we’ve achieved such tremendous success. I’m very grateful for that.

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What makes your mom the best? My mom was the best at singing along with a song on the radio even though she didn’t know any of the words.

She just made up her own and was off way more than she was on. All that mattered was it made her happy and was probably a way to decompress and relieve stress. I do the same thing and it works for me the same way. It also makes the kids laugh a lot.

Nadya Kohl, SVP, PlaceIQ 

What values did your mom teach you that you carried into the tech world? I feel I’ve enjoyed really good luck in my life in the technology industry -- an industry I love. However, I think I have my mother to thank for that in a lot of ways. If you believe the maxim that good luck is the result of hard work and preparation, it was she that instilled that quality in me.

What makes your mom the best? My mom was very clever about instilling in me high expectations of myself. Now that I’m a parent, I think of an anecdote that makes me chuckle to this day: my mother would never harangue me about academics.

She expected me to study and bring home good grades. When I arrived home with anything lower than an “A”, she (possessing a fiery nature) would quietly wrinkle her nose and say, “Well, this is disappointing. I could understand this if you weren’t a smart child … .”

The message was clear -- I hadn’t delivered what I was capable of, and we both knew. I’ve always held myself to a high standard ever since -- at least one that honestly says I gave things my all and never “phone it in”. Thanks to my mother, I try to nurture these in the teams I lead or those that I mentor. That’s quite a legacy to pass on from a great mom.

Tom Craig, CIO, MediaMath

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Learning Opportunities

What values did your mom teach you that you carried into the tech world? My approach to the technology is colored by the lessons Mom taught me about the forced interaction of structure or aesthetics.

Together they provide the expanding framework and dynamic user experience that drives adoption of technology in all forms. In her case, having nine children under the age of 12, it created a world where controlling chaos combined with a militant commitment to manners meant sanity, fewer trips to the emergency room and a pile of polite kids.

What makes your mom the best? My mom is the best because her relentless commitment to her children making each of us feel as if we had her full attention and love all of the time.An amazing feat! After her career raising kids and a career as a college guidance counselor, she can be found on the every soccer game, play, concert and dance for her 36 grandchildren doing it all again!

Chris Wareham, Senior Director, Adobe Analytics

What values did your mom teach you that you carried into the tech world? For product management people, the hardest thing to train is an empathy for their customers’ problems. It’s easy to collect feedback and respond to what people are asking for, but the intuition required to improve someone’s day-to-day work life through nuanced changes in their experience is what separates a good product person from a great product person.

We get those skills from our upbringing, and in my experience, it’s a person’s mom that influences it the most. Mine certainly did for me!

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What makes your mom the best? When I was a kid, my family moved around a lot, and we experienced significant shifts in cultures as we moved from place to place. Most times, those transitions were difficult for me, but my mom provided a consistent set of values and cultural touchstones that I could count on no matter what little battles I was having to fight in a new school.

Sometimes it was cooking that reminded me of home (southern) or sometimes it was stories from challenges from her upbringing that lent context to what I was facing. That made a big difference to me, and allowed me to grow more empathetic and outgoing from those experiences rather than withdrawing as a result of them. That makes my mom Darlene the best.

Marc Theermann, EVP, Millennial Media

What values did your mom teach you that you carried into the tech world? My mom Ulla and dad taught me how to be a good listener, which is a critical skill for any sales person. Mobile platform sales has dominated my life for more than a decade.

I like to connect with clients and partners and I have found that this works particularly well over a good dinner. For as long as I can remember, long dinners have been a part of my life, my mom loves to entertain friends and make strangers feel welcome. Connecting with clients, partners and strangers is easiest when you listen to their stories, concerns and feedback. It creates a relationship of trust and comfort and usually makes the time fly by.

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What makes your mom the best? Growing up in the heart of Europe, my family instilled the travel bug early on. So I ended up going to school in Switzerland, Singapore and the US.

I often brought friends home with me, to my hometown in Germany that had 2,000 inhabitants. Our house always had an open-door policy, and my mother was able to whip up dinner for 15 friends in no time.

I still chuckle when I recall a dinner that had visitors from Japan, the US, France, all mixed in with my local friends and family.

My mother was able to feed everyone, talk to each and every person, and make everyone feel right at home.

I strive to accomplish this type of atmosphere at business dinners to this day, and perhaps some of my best business deals have blossomed at dinners like this.

'You Should Hear About My Mom'

Yes, we should. Did your mom set the stage for the great career you have today? What set her apart? Share your story — and say thank you to your own mom — in the comment section below.