Life Lessons from Dad

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Posted on June 20, 2021 by Kara Demirjian Huss

As kids in the Demirjian family, we had home cooked meals on the table every night at 6:30 sharp. You ate what was prepared, no complaints. We took family road trips in our wood-paneled wagon; I sat in the rear-facing trunk seat, of course, because I was the youngest of five. Chores weren’t paid. They were simply expected, and our curfew was strict. My mom would even wave a wooden spoon at us if we misbehaved. She never used it, but we still ran. Education was always a priority for my family—put the time in, do your best, always keep learning, and help others with what comes easily to you. So much of the business that I have built and who I am today started with my childhood, made wonderful in part by my amazing father Jerry Demirjian.

My dad always made it a priority to foster our unique passions and guide our career paths. He preached confidence and independence while building up our individual skills. He brought us up as a close-knit family that supported, cheered, and helped one another—which was truly an accomplishment with five, highly competitive children. Everything my dad does (still today at 88) comes with an important lesson—even his grandkids lean on every word. My dad’s story is an inspiring one that we recently captured in our succession planning efforts.

As I look back, I am so proud and extremely grateful for my dad and late mom. In fact, I can honestly say everything I do today for my family and our businesses is born from their influence.

At the ripe young age of 50 (my age now), he risked it all to buy a business and put everything on personal guarantee with four of the five of us in college. He worked for years, sharpening his skills to be able to take on this new level of responsibility. He believed that without risk, there is no reward. He believed in building teams, filling gaps in his weaknesses, and being hyper aware of company culture. He built a supportive work environment not just for his employees but, also, their families. My dad believed in rolling up his sleeves and working hard. He would always say, “No matter your position—you must always be personally accountable.”

You rarely see him stress (unless it’s tax season), but I now know why he always preaches to save wisely, never live beyond your means, and keep debts low. My dad has always given back to the community and the faith that has supported him. My father taught us all the importance of generosity, kindness, and integrity. He has spent his life leading by example, and now, I spend mine leading by his.

Happy Father’s Day, dad. Thank you for giving me the tools, love, and guidance to build my own business, launch and lead a real estate investments portfolio, and stand by my brothers Richard and Charles to help grow their businesses, T/CCI and Tillotson. You risked everything for us 35 years ago!

Kara Demirjian Huss

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