To My Dad
written by Wendy Zarzaur
Dad. This is a powerful word for me with so many emotions attached to it. Where do I begin? For me, dad stands for intelligence, strength, reliability, compassion, humbleness and love.
I am not much of a writer, but agreed to write the father’s day blog this year because my dad passed away last December. If there is one thing he taught me, it was to always step outside of your comfort zone because you never know what you might discover about yourself. So here I am putting myself out there to all of you in his honor, ( I think he would be proud).
After the passing of my dad, I had the opportunity to think about all that I learned from him as well as understand the impact he had on so many people throughout his life. During this reflection I realized how his dedication, strength and compassion helped form the person I am today and guide me in life now that he is gone.
My father was dedicated. He was dedicated both to his work and to his family, especially his children. I had the pleasure of not only being his daughter but to work with him for 14 years as a lawyer in his firm. During that time, I witnessed my dad’s dedication to his business, his employees and his clients. There were many times that he scarified a paycheck so that his employees would be able to put food on the table for their families.
My father was strong. He was tough but fair. He always got his point across in a direct manner without being rude or unkind. In fact two of his favorite words were “Be kind.” He told anyone and everyone to always “Be kind” followed by “It’s not hard.” He was one of the best negotiators I know and he never had to raise his voice to win an argument. Of course, I never won an argument with him but I did leave feeling empowered and stronger than when we started a disagreement.
By far the greatest trait my father harbored was compassion. Compassion is more than being empathetic or sympathetic. Sympathy is understanding how a person can feel a certain way. Empathy is sharing a feeling with someone. But, compassion is not only feeling the emotions of someone else but doing something to help that person. That is the epitome of how my dad lived his life. His compassion showed through in everything he did.
At this point, you may be asking yourself how this tribute to my dad relates to Stick & Ball. My journey at Stick & Ball actually began back at Spring Hill College, when I met my lifelong best friend, Elizabeth Welborn. Although the company was not formed at that time, it was our love of life, our strongly held values, mutual kindness, respect and compassion for others that initially brought us together, all of the many things I learned from my father.
Building a company is no easy feat, and a fashion brand, perhaps is one of the hardest. I watched from afar in Texas as Elizabeth, in California, began to build her business from scratch as a single mom. I couldn’t help but to have a lot of compassion for her knowing how hard she was working while juggling motherhood. I began joining her at events to lend a hand. This has grown into my full time role, directing operations among many other duties, enabling me to be in touch with my best friend on a daily basis and to grow a brand that reflects our strongly held values.
When my dad was still alive, I would call him for advice about the business but now that he is gone, I find myself reaching deep down inside and asking myself, what would my dad do?