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Mark Weinberger Is Still Obsessed With His Speech No One Remembered

When you die, no one is going to come to your funeral and declare "wow, that guy could tie out like no one's business!" But your kids will certainly remember whether or not you showed up to 12 of their 55 soccer games.

EY Global Chairman and CEO Mark Weinberger is all about the work-life. As self-reported in TIME:

“At any moment you are going to feel guilty about what you’re not doing, like today I’m missing the World Economic Forum in Europe to move my daughter into her dorm in USC,” EY CEO Mark Weinberger says in between Bed Bath & Beyond runs. “If I can’t be here today, then I won’t get permission and understanding tomorrow when I won’t be here — like when I miss her Parents Weekend for our Entrepreneur of the Year program.”

Well gee, where would you rather be: the World Economic Forum or on campus? I mean that's a no brainer.

We previously heard the story of how, just after he became CEO, Weinberger gave a speech — a fantastic one, no doubt — and then had to ditch the event to head home and take his daughter on her driving test. He told a panel at the White House Summit on Working Families over the summer how no one remembered that speech but everyone remembered that he went home to be with his needy daughter who must not like her mom much. And now he's telling the story again in TIME:

When Weinberger asked for his children’s permission to take the role of CEO, the condition was that he maintain family commitments. His first test came the day after his first speech as CEO in China. When asked onstage if he would be taking selfies on the Great Wall with the thousands of employees in attendance, Weinberger said he couldn’t — he had to jump on a flight back to Washington D.C. for his daughter’s driver’s test the next morning.

“Afterwards I got hundreds of emails: Not a single person remembered the terrific speech I gave, but everybody remembered I went home for my daughter,” he says. “It brought home to me how powerful leading by example is. You can have all the initiatives you want saying you can have flexibility, but until some of the real leaders make the choice to choose family, I don’t think people feel like they have real permission to do it.”

He's not bitter at all that no one remembered that speech. If anything, the whole thing gave him a reason to talk about how important work/life balance is. Over and over and over again.