Mark Osbun, Emily’s dad, was a 3rd shift factory worker at GE. It was a pretty miserable job—both economically unstable and physically demanding.
“This inspired me to go into consulting—to help make work environments less dysfunctional, more humane for their people; to inspire companies to build cultures where people feel safe, valued and respected,” Emily said. “He moved on to better jobs as I grew older and ended up teaching at the University as he neared retirement. The man can reinvent himself. We all can.”
Explain how your dad influenced your life.
He always let me think for myself. He never indoctrinated me with anything. He let me choose my path and supported even my worst decisions, because he knew I would learn. And I did. He never judged me; never belittled me, even when I was in real trouble or pain. He never preached and always listened. He would ask questions that would make me think…. That was just his way of teaching. He always believed in me when no one else did. You only really need one cheerleader in life, and that would definitely be my dad.
What kind of dad was he?
He wasn’t a perfect dad, but he was exceptional in so many ways. He was the dad on the field trips and sewing my ballet shoes and costumes. We did community theater together. He was always the first to rush to my room if I was sick, and he sang me to sleep every night with his guitar. He let me shoot a bb gun in the basement. He was the provider and the caretaker when I was young. He was everything. Every time he came home, we would scream, “daddy’s home!!!!” and run into his arms and he would just laugh and laugh. If I were upset, he would rock me in his big wooden rocking chair until I was okay again. He was a phenomenal nurturer.
When I was older and had moved to CA and needed to move back, I mailed him a plane ticket so that I could drive home with him. We drove my two cats and everything I owned back to Fort Wayne in an old station wagon- straight through because I had no money for a hotel. The clutch went out in Vegas. We drove it back, without a clutch by push starting it whenever we stopped. It was really stressful… but we sang songs and laughed most of the way. He was just always the guy you could count on when the chips were down. My mom taught me to never borrow money, and I never did. But if I had to, he would be the one to hit up first. He’s a total softie.
What is your favorite memory of your dad from when you were younger?
When I came home with a black eye from a neighbor boy, and he taught me how to fight. I was probably 7. “Don’t put your thumb inside your fist, keep your wrist straight, put all of your weight into it. Punch that little*&%$ like you mean it, and don’t you ever let a boy lay a finger on you again.” I still have a wicked cross-punch, and yes, I have used it. Thanks Dad.
How did your relationship with your dad change over your lifetime?
Levels of maturity level out as you age. He’s in his 70’s; I’m in my 40’s. He doesn’t need any advice anymore. Ha ha. And I don’t really either. We are just friends. My adult son ended up a lot like my dad, they look exactly alike and are very similar. It has been wild to raise someone so much like him. My dad and I were always very close. My son and I have the same relationship. It’s kind of a trip. They adore each other, and that’s been wonderful.
How did your dad influence your life?
He always let me think for myself. He never indoctrinated me with anything. He let me choose my path and supported even my worst decisions, because he knew I would learn. And I did. He never judged me and never belittled me, even when I was in real trouble or pain. He never preached and always listened. He would ask questions that would make me think…. That was just his way of teaching. He always believed in me when no one else did. You only really need one cheerleader in life and for me, that is my dad.
What qualities do you share with your dad?
We both cry at the drop of a hat, and we both have hot tempers; though we never lose our tempers with each other.
Does your dad have a favorite quote or mantra?
“It is what it is.” Like before it was a thing everyone said. This was the 70’s. I think he means, accept things that you can’t change. Deal with it and move on. I move on from most things fairly easily. I can let things go. I don’t worry or dwell on most things. He taught me that. Resilience: he models that every day.