David Huntley shares thoughts on balancing career and raising strong young men
By serving as SEVP and Chief Compliance Officer of AT&T, David Huntley understand what it takes to achieve success. Huntley, a native of Texas and graduate of Benjamin Cardozo School of Law, also knows that career success must be balanced with family life and fatherhood.
In honor of Father’s Day, Huntley gives advice on career success and shares what he has learned most about being a father.
What do you pride yourself on most when it comes to fatherhood?
I would say that the first thing I pride myself on is being the kind of father that my dad was to me. He was a great example of what I would say fatherhood is all about. Very interesting story he grew up in the depression and was born in 1912. He did not have a high school diploma, but he was a self-made man and taught himself all the basics. More importantly, he took care of his family, worked for a wealthy oil family for over 50 years and did so with dignity. And in the course of all of that, he instilled values and he modeled the behavior that I try to emulate.
When it comes to fatherhood, every kid doesn’t necessarily have a biological father. How important are those surrogate fathers such as teachers, coaches, and counselors in the community?
I think that they are very important to all of us. I had a great father, but it was always good to have what he was instilling in me being reinforced by others such as coaches, teachers, and people in the business community. It really helped me and I think it should help any kid, boy or girl, when it comes to looking up to people who have great character and who have a great reputation that they can use for their foundation.
How do you balance work and fatherhood?
That’s a great question. I think that I tell most people it’s not always a balance. One may require more work than others. I think that it’s just hard sometimes. And you try to do both, but I’ve always felt that family is very important and family is what comes first. You need to make sure that you make time for your family. I made it a point to coach my son’s soccer teams and basketball teams for a short period of time. I thought it was important for them to see me in that capacity and that wasn’t always easy. That meant sometimes I had to leave the office, go coach, take a shower, and go back to the office. But if you do it for the right reasons, it always tends to work out and let that be your guide.
What are other moments that you can think about that helped you grow as a father and family man?
I remember one time when I was in Boston and it was bring your child to work day. I was the lead attorney and they had about 15 kids in my office because they were getting exposed to various parts of the business and my son was in that group. He was in the first grade, and they were asking me various questions. My son raised his hand and asked, ‘daddy, do you ever make mistakes?’ And there’s that moment when you’re looking at all these kids and your son, and I said, ‘yes, I do and I try not to, but when I do I try to learn from those mistakes and I try not to repeat them.’ It was a pivotal moment for me as a father to admit that to a son and it spoke to me and my character and it was also something for him to take note of, figure out, and put into perspective.