Cindy Novotny

I Broke the Rules to Show My Daughter the World!


We have all heard this on the news this week – New Zealand’s PM Jacinda Ardern made history bringing her baby daughter to the UN Assembly.  I love that this is going mainstream because at 3 months old my daughter Jessica began her world tours.  Yes, 30 years ago I broke the rules and took my daughter to work and never looked back.

I will never forget the first corporate meeting I took Jessica to.  She was 3 months old and I was a Director of Marketing for Westin Hotels and I was attending a SITE Meeting at The Arizona Biltmore.  We boarded the plane with all the baby stuff you need and the nanny and headed to the meeting.  I received a few glances from other Directors, but no one said a word.  She didn’t attend the meetings but every lunch and at the end of the day I would go play with her at the pool or in the room.  It was the beginning of ‘living with no balance and loving it.’

Then there was the big corporate meeting that Lefty (my husband) had to attend at Disney World in Orlando.  Disney -how great.  Jessica was about 4 years old and a perfect age to go to Disney.  As we began to plan how we would go and then see Lefty after his meetings, we got the memo that no children could GO, only spouses.  I was so mad.  I immediately did what I do best and started planning my way around this.   Yes, we would go, and I would book a separate hotel where Jessica and the nanny would stay and then I would attend a few ‘spouse programs’, duck out and hit the parks with my daughter. 

Jessica would continue to travel one week a month all over the world with me.  She would visit Europe, Asia, the Middle East and more.  When she applied to colleges the paper she wrote was ‘My Ticket to The World.’  Her global experience was priceless and is to this day. 

I love that both women and men can involve their children in their work and their travel.  Don’t limit their education with books only.  Every ticket to a new destination is worth thousands of pages from a book. 

So, I broke the rules 30 years ago but since I was just ‘Cindy’ it never really hit the news.  I am happy to see a Prime Minister making headlines by doing it her way.  But this is not just a story for moms, it is a story for dads as well.  Get out of your box and realize that letting your children see the world and appreciate your work will help give them a better foundation for their future.  After all, there is just so much you can learn in school or at home, you need to learn by living!