//

“Ultimately, good parenting is about raising happy, healthy individuals”, with Kim Perell and Dr. Ely Weinschneider

A “good parent” does not look the same to everyone — it’s important to be the best parent you can be and define what works for you and your family. You can be a good parent who travels all the time, has a demanding career, one who bakes all the time or one who never bakes at […]



A “good parent” does not look the same to everyone — it’s important to be the best parent you can be and define what works for you and your family. You can be a good parent who travels all the time, has a demanding career, one who bakes all the time or one who never bakes at all, or a good parent who is able to be home all the time. One isn’t better than the other; it’s all about being the best parent you can be and doing what works for your family and situation. Ultimately, good parenting is about raising happy, healthy individuals. For me, good parenting has meant raising kids who believe in themselves, while also preparing them for some of the realities of life, even when you aren’t aware of it at the time. Hard work, grit, finding what you are good at and what makes you special and unique, being kind to others, the importance of family and relationships, and making a difference in the world — these are the values that I want to impart on my children.


As a part of my series about “How extremely busy executives make time to be great parents” I had the pleasure to interview Kim Perell, an award-winning entrepreneur, bestselling author, and angel investor with nearly two decades of experience serving as a CEO the marketing technology sector. Kim is the mother of four-year-old twins, Elle and John, and is the CEO of leading marketing technology company Amobee, overseeing over 900 employees across 25 global offices. Kim’s first book, The Execution Factor, The One Skill That Drives Success is a national bestseller, designed to help others achieve success in business and life by mastering execution.


Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us your “childhood backstory”?

Both of my parents are entrepreneurs, and they raised me and my brother and my twin sister in Portland, Oregon. Growing up, if we didn’t have and couldn’t earn what we needed, we looked for other ways to solve problems. While other families talked about sports, school or politics at the dinner table, our conversations revolved around the ups and downs of business. Today, I can see the value of having two parents who are entrepreneurs, especially in the way they raised me. Even at their lowest points, they believed in themselves. Tenacity was a tenet I was brought up on.

When I was 11, I fell in love with horseback riding. But horseback riding lessons were expensive, and I had two siblings competing for their own activity funds. My parents said we could only afford two lessons a month at most, or it wouldn’t be fair to my brother or sister. I thought about begging, but I knew that wasn’t going to work with two entrepreneur parents who expected us to earn everything we wanted.

After my mother talked to the owner, we worked out a deal where each day before I rode I would clean out the horses’ stalls. Seven hours of cleaning equaled one hour of lessons — I thought that was fair. Looking back, I think the stable owner got the better deal on that one, but I learned a valuable lesson: If you have passion for something, you go out and make it happen — even if it involves a lot of horse manure.

Can you share the story about what brought you to this specific point in your career?

Right out of college, I landed my dream job working for a booming internet startup. The company raised over $120 million in funding, then the market took a sharp turn, the company went bankrupt and I was laid off. I suddenly found myself laid off, broke and devastated. It was the hardest time of my life. It was like someone pushed delete on my career.

From there, I decided to make a bet on myself. I called my 80-year-old grandmother for a $10,000 loan and I started my own company from my kitchen table. I was certainly scared and had doubts. What I learned is you have to feel the fear and do it anyway. My belief in myself had to be greater than anyone’s doubt. The company grew the company to over $100 million in annual revenue and I sold it. I went from being broke at 23, I was a multimillionaire by the time I was 30. My last company sold for $235 million in 2014.

Can you tell us a bit more about what your day to day schedule looks like?

No day is ever the same, but travel is a consistent part of my routine. I just flew to fly to Singapore on a Saturday so I can be there and prepared for a meeting Monday morning. Last week, I was in San Francisco and a few weeks before that I was in London.

When I am home, I typically start my day riding my Peloton bike around 6am. I am huge fan and since I don’t need to leave my house, I can be there when my 4 year old twins wake up around 7am. After my twins go to preschool, I head to the office for the day. I try to take a break around lunch time to have lunch with people who have reached out to me for help or advice, whether it’s someone from my team or an aspiring entrepreneur. At night, I always make a point to put work away when I first get home in the evening so that I can be with the family for dinner and spend time with them. After the twins go to bed, I’ll typically go back to work for a couple hours because evening in California is morning in Singapore, where my parent company is located.

Let’s jump to the core of our discussion. This is probably intuitive to many, but it would be beneficial to spell it out. Based on your experience or research, can you flesh out why not spending time with your children can be detrimental to their development?

Families are busier than ever these days, with parents juggling jobs and homemaking and even kids being exposed to an array of extracurricular activities. It can be really easy for quality family time to get lost in the shuffle — but it’s crucial that families make time to spend quality time together and make the time that they have with their children count. When I’m home, I make sure we spend quality time together and I’m fully present.

On the flip side, can you give a few reasons or examples about why it is important to make time to spend with your children?

I think it’s important for the health and happiness of both the children and the parents to spend time together. For children, quality bonding time with parents helps mold them into happy and well-adjusted young adults. Kids look up to their parents; it’s how they absorb many of their social cues and habits. Setting a good example while you are spending time with your kids will benefit them in more ways than you know.

On the flip side, there’s also a lot of benefits for parents when they spend time with their kids. For one, their kids are far more likely to be well-behaved and apply themselves in an academic setting. It also puts me and my husband in a great mood when we get to spend quality time with our kids. It helps me see the joy in the small things in life and look at the world through a different perspective — the eyes of a child!

If you are married or in a relationship, I think it’s also important to prioritize spending quality time with your spouse in the same way you prioritize spending quality time with your children. My grandmother (who was happily married for over 50 years and had 5 sons) always told me to take care of my husband first before my kids because if my husband was happy, then my kids would be happy. I make spending time with my husband a priority. You also need to remember to take care of YOU — yourself. It’s really about you being good to you first. If I’m good at home, I can be good to others, my family is good, and my work is good, too.

According to this study cited in the Washington Post, the quality of time spent with children is more important than the quantity of time. Can you give a 3–5 stories or examples from your own life about what you do to spend quality time with your children?

Due to the busy and international nature of my job, I travel often for work. So when I am home, I focus on spending quality time with my kids. I am always home by sunset on Friday, that way they always know when they can expect me. Friday nights we do a family dinner and then we all make s’mores together — it’s a fun treat that we all look forward to. Afterwards, I’ll tuck them in for bed and read them their favorite stories.

Saturdays, I regularly work early in the morning, and set up the day for fun. We focus on family time — we have family pass to LegoLand, so we often spend the day exploring and playing there. My kids are obsessed with Legos! We also spend a lot of time with our extended family — we are often at my husband’s parent’s house, where the kids play in their pool. On Sunday, we do an extended family dinner. I think it’s really important for my kids to have a healthy relationship with their extended family, so it’s something that I always make time for. My parents both come to visit from Oregon every few months, and the kids love spending time with their grandparents, and also my sister, who is in LA with twins of her own!

Travel is also a great way that we spend quality time together. My husband and I love to travel (we’ve been to 63 countries together!), so we make it a point to travel often with our kids. I want to share our passion for travel with our kids, and they seem to love it as much as we do!

We all live in a world with many deadlines and incessant demands for our time and attention. That inevitably makes us feel rushed and we may feel that we can’t spare the time to be “fully present” with our children. Can you share with our readers 5 strategies about how we can create more space in our lives in order to give our children more quality attention?

1. Strive to achieve a healthy work/life integration. As much as I love technology, it has really blurred the lines between work and home life. Instead of trying to keep them separate, I’ve learned to integrate them in a healthy way. I work to integrate my work and life together, as opposed to separating the two. For example, I often have to make calls late at night after the kids are in bed or work on vacation early in the morning before the family is up.

2. Ruthless Prioritization. My number one piece of advice would be prioritization of what’s most important. I schedule time with my family the same way I schedule a business meeting. You can’t do it all, so focus on what you can do and let the other stuff go — you can only do the best you can. Saying no is never easy, which is why prioritizing and quality time are so difficult to deliver on.

3. Remove distractions. In order to have great quality time to spend with my kids, I make sure that I remove any distractions so that I am fully present when we are spending time together. I put my phone away, and we typically don’t watch TV. This ensures that the time that we spend together is meaningful, and it makes everyone feel fulfilled and happy.

4. Build routines into your schedule. Routines are so important for kids, as it helps them understand what they can expect. It sets guidelines. Quality time with my kids is built into my routine the same way that work is.

5. Change your perception of work and change your kids perception of work and school. Words are powerful and how you talk about being a working mom with your children is powerful. When I leave for work or a business trip, I tell my kids, “Mommy is going out to change the world”. I want them to have an appreciation that mom works hard and loves her job.

How do you define a “good parent”? Can you give an example or story?

A “good parent” does not look the same to everyone — it’s important to be the best parent you can be and define what works for you and your family. You can be a good parent who travels all the time, has a demanding career, one who bakes all the time or one who never bakes at all, or a good parent who is able to be home all the time. One isn’t better than the other; it’s all about being the best parent you can be and doing what works for your family and situation. Ultimately, good parenting is about raising happy, healthy individuals. For me, good parenting has meant raising kids who believe in themselves, while also preparing them for some of the realities of life, even when you aren’t aware of it at the time. Hard work, grit, finding what you are good at and what makes you special and unique, being kind to others, the importance of family and relationships, and making a difference in the world — these are the values that I want to impart on my children.

I’ve worked since I was a very young child, and if I was telling my dad about a long day at school, he’d say: “Eight hours? That’s a half-day. Go back to work.” It wasn’t a negative; it was motivating. A 40-hour workweek isn’t going to get you very far. So it was very much a hard-work mentality — what you put in is what you’re going to get out and nothing’s going to come easy.

My dad loves to ask me, “Kimmy, what’s the worst thing that happened to you today?” He’s done this through my whole life and still does! I’ll tell him my latest humiliating failure, and he’ll tell me his.

“Mine’s so much worse than yours,” we’ll tell each other. “Wait till you hear what happened to me today.” Many of his failures were about roadblocks he faced in his business. What I learned from my Dad: Failure hurts. Badly. But it is something we all inevitably face in life and love on the quest for success and happiness.

How do you inspire your child to “dream big”? Can you give an example or story?

I try to live by example. I dream big and I encourage them to dream big as well. I want my kids to believe they can do anything. On the other hand, I want them to know that it will take hard work to get there. I explain to them the challenges that I have as well as the successes, and all the hard work that it has taken for me to achieve my dreams.

There’s a lot of hard-work DNA in our family, and I learned a ton from my Dad: Failure hurts. Badly. But everyone will inevitably face failure on the quest for success. All that should extend to your personal life too. My grandma always told me, “Those who have the least give the most.” Even if you don’t have the least, operate from that principle. My parents did, and I learned from their example. They worked hard to raise three kids while running their own businesses, and while we never had a lot, they were committed to sharing what they had. They were always looking for ways to help.

No one was turned away from my house. My parents even invited a refugee couple from Cambodia to live in our family room on a pullout couch for six weeks. They didn’t speak English, so we all communicated using body language, miming, and sound effects. Approaching 40 years later, this couple is still a part of my family’s life and community. The couple now has kids and grandkids. My parents’ generosity taught me by example how we all have the power to change someone’s life for the better.

My parents showed me your career alone cannot be your measure of success, but to measure success in the kindness and generosity you show toward others and the hope you have for them.

How do you, a person who masterfully straddles the worlds of career and family, define “success”?

The measure of success isn’t about money, it’s about the quality of relationships in your life and the kindness and generosity you show toward others and the hope you have for them. I define “success” as the number of people that I am able to support and positively influence — which extends to work, philanthropy, mentorships or my kids.

What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to be a better parent? Can you explain why you like them?

I love learning and read constantly. It keeps me learning and inspired, which makes me a better parent and a better version of myself, when you are the best you, you are the best parent, spouse, and leader.

I love reading to my kids, and my favorite books to read them are The Giving Tree and Dr Suess books, which I used to love when I was growing up, and Together is Better, which is a great children’s book published recently by Simon Sinek.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Comparison is thief of joy” — Theodore Roosevelt. I remember being tested along with my two siblings for a new program called the Talented & Gifted (TAG) Program in school. Twice a week they would get bused to another school for “smart kids” to improve their gifts. I was devastated. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t go with them. I remember asking my mother if they were smarter and better than me.

My mother told me we all have unique talents and abilities — and many of them can’t be measured on a test. She said comparing myself to anyone else (especially my twin sister) would not make me happy and then she shared Theodore Roosevelt’s famous quote, “Comparison is the Thief of Joy”.

My mother encouraged me to focus on being my best and embrace what makes me different and unique. If you are always comparing yourself to someone else, you are competing with someone who has different capabilities and talents than yourself. So I learned very early on to try to be the best me that I can be — rather than comparing or competing with someone else. Everyone is unique and has special talents — the key is to find yours and execute on what you are good at. This has made a significant impact on the way I live my life.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Anyone can go from ordinary to extraordinary. Success is within the reach of everyone, it just takes execution. I believe that execution is a skill that can be learned. To start mastering the skill of execution, take the first step towards your goal today. Just dive in and move forward. It doesn’t have to be 100% right. Know that every time you act, no matter how small, you get one step closer to making your vision a reality. This could be reaching out to a colleague or mentor for coffee or advice, finally putting your plan into action, or starting that project that you’ve been delaying. No matter how small, just start.

Thank you so much for these insights! This was so inspiring!

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Well-Being//

Avoiding This One Flaw Will Make You a Much Better Parent

by Dr. Kent Hoffman
Time Well Spent//

Parenting in the Digital Age

by Susan Stiffelman
Well-Being//

Being a Highly Sensitive Parent

by Karin Monster-Peters

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.