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Top business leaders share advice for their daughters

Ned Ehrbar

For the leaders of tomorrow to be successful, they need the right advice and encouragement today. That’s why executive search firm Egon Zehnder started its Leaders and Daughters initiative and the letter-writing campaign called To My Daughter.

The campaign enlists top business leaders to pen open letters to their daughters -- some still children, some already grown and in the working world -- to commit to paper the aspirations and guidance they want to offer the young women to better equip them for the world. Now in its third year, To My Daughter has already sourced more than 160 letters from executives at companies like Disney, Apple, JP Morgan and more.

“When today's leaders see the world through the eyes of the people in their lives that are most important to them, it provides new inspiration and new energy and impetus to create a better world for those young women who are coming up,” says Cynthia Soledad, Egon Zehnder’s co-leader of Global Diversity & Inclusion.

Among this year’s crop of letter writers is Alexandra Trower, executive vice president of global communications for the Estée Lauder Companies. Trower wrote her letter to her adult daughter, Grace, who is 25 years old and a sixth-grade teacher.

“I love to think about my daughter and her amazing progression and in life,” Trower says. “I am really, really proud most of all of the person that she's become. She cares about the world around her, she's super curious about the world around her, and she's always thinking about how to make the world a better place.”

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Curtis Butler, a managing director at JP Morgan, focused his letter on broader life advice for his daughters.

“The first thing that I think we as parents have to do for our children -- and I think for me it's probably the easiest job -- is to make them feel loved,” Butlers says. “They look to their parents for guidance. They want to be like those people who treat them so well. So that's how I started my letter talking about how much I love you that's the most important thing you need to know.”

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