06/13/2013 03:44 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

A Lesson From My Father

Ellen Dolgen


There's no relationship quite like the one between a father and a daughter. This was certainly the case for my dad's and my bond, which was forged in the hustle and bustle of the hotel business.

My father, a hotel developer/owner, businessman, and most importantly, family man, worked long hours building his booming Arizona properties and businesses. Eager to be around my father and idol, so did I. Starting at eight years young, I tidied hotel rooms, answered the switchboard, and, when I was especially lucky, I had the treat of paging hotel guests. My father invested himself in the development of his daughter's business savvy during a period when most girls were confined to the kitchen with their mothers.

During my college years at the University of Arizona, I worked 40+ hours a week at one of my dad's hotels, taking night classes just so that by day I was able to work as his director of public relations. It was not until he died at 58-years-old from heart disease that I learned just how precious our time working together at the hotel really was. I'm so thankful that we were able to spend so much quality time together when I was young -- looking back I realize that every precious moment with my dad shaped my character and my life's choices.

My dad taught me everything he knew about business, but his most important lesson was this: Always take time for others.


Working with my dad provided my first glimpse of him outside of our home, and I found he was just as warm with his guests. He strived to make everyone in his hotel feel like family. People from all over the world walked into those hotels and were treated as if they were all my father's long-lost brothers and sisters. He genuinely cared about others, and I learned just how wonderful it was to be around people of different backgrounds and cultures. Nearby college students would often come into the hotel to ask my father for advice on their education, business skills, and future. He always had time to offer some carefully chosen words of support.

Often when people become successful in business, their egos grow right along with their résumé. For my dad, success made him only more accessible and humble. He was eager to help others. It brought him joy. It brought everyone around him joy.

Now, in my encore career as a menopause and wellness advocate, I often think of my father. No, not because he suffered through hot flashes, but because he always took the time to help others. So as my schedule brims with books, blogs, interviews, and speaking engagements, it's important for me to remember that taking time for every woman needing my help gives me joy and purpose.

Just a few days ago, a woman direct messaged me on Facebook about her menopausal woes. I responded back with my phone number and before I knew it we had chatted for almost an hour about her health history, sourcing of menopause doctors, and hormone happiness. This was all within her reach, but until we spoke, she was suffering in silence, feeling alone, abandoned without the power to change her condition. Now that she reached out, she can get the tools she needs to turn her life around.

It is those conversations that I most enjoy. They bring me back to the memories of my dad, his love of life, and his deep commitment to others. He has been gone for 33 years, but there isn't a day that goes by that I don't find myself turning to him for counsel. I often find myself asking, "What would dad do?"

Happy Father's Day, dad!

Reaching out is IN! Suffering in silence is OUT!

Let's hang out! Join Ellen the first Monday of every month for her Menopause Mondays Google Hangouts: Where the Sisterhood helps the Sisterhood. You can ask Ellen your menopause questions at this free online event! Details here ­­-->

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Ellen Dolgen is an outspoken women's health and wellness advocate, menopause awareness expert, author, and speaker.

After struggling through the silence that surrounds menopause, Ellen resolved to help women reach out and end the confusion, embarrassment, and less-than-lovely symptoms that come with "the change." Her passion to be a "sister" to all women fueled Ellen's book, Shmirshky: the pursuit of hormone happiness. As a result of her women's wellness journey, and in response to the overwhelming thirst of her ever-expanding audience for empowering information, Ellen's weekly blog, Menopause MondaysTM was born.

Menopause MondaysTM allows Ellen an expansive platform from which she broadens her discussion of menopause, women's health, and life as a menopausal (and fabulous!) woman. Her weekly Menopause News Flash provides a one-stop shop for the latest menopause and women's health news and research, allowing women the access and know-how needed to take charge of their health and happiness. In addition to Ellen's ever-growing social media presence, has fast become "the place" on the web for informative and entertaining women's menopause and wellness engagement. In 2012 was named first on the list of the "Best Menopause Blogs" by Healthline. Ellen is also a regular contributor to over a dozen leading women's health blogs. Her motto is: Reaching out is IN! Suffering in silence is OUT!

Ellen has appeared on the "TODAY Show," the "Rachael Ray Show," "The Doctors," Oprah Radio, Playboy Radio, NPR's "Tell Me More," Doctor Radio, and dozens of regional and national media outlets. Ellen is also one of the first regular contributors to debut on The Huffington Post's recently added site, Huff/Post50, which targets 116 million Americans over the age of 50.

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