About me

Here is my official bio:

David Caren is a 18-year veteran of the information technology industry. He has spent the last 11 years at Cisco Systems educating customers and partners around the country on the business value of Cisco’s technology solutions. Drawing on his experience working with a broad array of public and private sector clients, David currently serves at Cisco as a Technical Business Advisor to executives at the “Big 4″ consulting firms, working on defining a joint vision for the future of information technology and how it will impact business strategy. David holds a Bachelor of Sciences degree in Management from Pepperdine University is currently pursuing his MBA degree at Pepperdine’s Graziadio School of Business and Management.

Well, now that we have that out of the way, you can tell bv the photos that I am a family man. I live in L.A. with my lovely wife and adorable daughter. While I am often very busy with my job at Cisco and working on my MBA at Pepperdine, these two ladies come first in my life. I love photography. Please feel free to click on the “photos” link above to go to my Flickr page. If, for some strange reason, you want to know more about me, I wrote an essay entitled “This is me.” Scroll down this page if you would like to read it.

“This is Me”

by David Caren

People rarely ask, “Who are you?” Usually the question is “What do you do?” This is usually an easy question as people often define themselves by their careers (at least in the U.S.). The answer to “Who are you?” requires much thought and introspection. Who I am is a product of my environment, heredity and the people/events that change your life.

Heredity: Parents and personality

My personality truly is a conglomeration of the personality traits my parents posses. In this section I share a little background on my mother, paternal grandfather and father and discuss the personality traits I inherited from them.

My mother was a beautiful, caring, loving person, always putting other’s needs before her own; truly a selfless human being. She came from humble beginnings; the daughter of and iron miner from a very small town in Michigan. She spoiled my sister and I with love and material possessions. She was that understanding person and that shoulder I could cry on when all those kids made fun of me. She relegated all of the discipline to my father. I don’t think she could bear to hand out punishment to us. She loved and cared for my father, sister and I so much. We were everything to her.

I need to talk about my paternal Grandfather because I see a lot of myself in him. He too had a thirst for knowledge and a desire to help. He was a physician who spent half his time doing research and pursuing NIH grants and spent the other half of his time practicing internal medicine and endocrinology. He published many papers and likely saved countless lives through his discoveries in the treatment of diabetes.

In contrast to my mother, my father grew up in Beverly Hills and while not rich, he was very comfortable. He did not exhibit the thirst for knowledge that his father had. While his brother and sister went off to Berkeley, my dad barely got in to San Jose State on an athletic scholarship.

What my father lacked in scholastics, he made up for in entrepreneurship. He dropped out of school and began and started a business. He has since turned that business into a global corporation with over $60mln/year in revenue. The only loan he has ever taken in his life was for an electric sign for his first store.

He enjoys spending time alone analyzing business issues and solving problems. He is tough to get to know but once you are in his inner circle, he will do anything for you. The majority of his employees that work directly for him have been working for him for 30+ years. He worries excessively and is a control freak. Traits that have served him well in business but are detrimental to his family and health.

I believe that I inherited some of the best traits from my parents and grandparents.: My grandfather’s brains and desire to understand. Caring, compassion and selflessness from my mother, my father’s introversion, loyalty, willingness to do anything to help those he cares about and, on the downside, his tendency to worry excessively

People and events re-shaping my values in adulthood

My father always instilled in me the value of a dollar and the hard work it takes to earn one. My dad was a very hard worker and expected the same from me. While my high school classmates were driving BMW’s their millionaire parents bought them, my millionaire father had me unloading trucks at his loading dock all summer. While I wish he had more time for me growing up, he is someone I admire and look up to more than anyone else in the world.. He instilled in me the values of hard work and frugality.

My father and I had our ups and downs. I didn’t speak to him for a year because I didn’t agree with how he handled my mother’s estate after she died. I look back on it all and realize what a horrible time it was. I wished I would have forgave him sooner. The quarrel with my father taught me that you must accept your loved one’s flaws and that forgiveness is one of the highest virtues on can possess. I practice forgiveness on a daily basis.

I mentioned my mother was selfless. Unfortunately she was selfless to a fault in that she derived all of her self worth from the relationships from my father, sister and I. This would eventually lead to her demise. The divorce from my father coupled with my sister and I growing up and out of the house drove her to quietly drown her sorrows in alcohol. She did an amazing job hiding it; we had no idea she was drinking. Her alcoholism did not manifest itself until it was too late. Irreparable damage to her liver caused her to pass away at the age of 50. I learned never to define myself and derive all my self worth through others.

If there is one person that changed me for the better, it was my wife, Allison. We met when I was 19. We both came from divorced homes, we waited 11 years to get married and another 4 years to have a child. She was there for me through the darkest times of my life: the passing of my mother and the subsequent fights with my father. She and I are opposites. She is extroverted, is very social, bubbly and energetic. She grew up in Oregon poor and living on food stamps, I grew up in a huge house in Beverly Hills.

The fact that we came from such different backgrounds and exhibit vastly different personality traits has allowed me to learn so much about myself. The opportunity to contrast her personality with mine coupled with her unconditional love has helped me transform into a more generous, loving human being. I will admit she is very much like my mother. Given that I am so much like my father, It makes sense that am attracted to her. The difference it that I learned from mistakes my parents made and am happy to say Allison and I have been together longer than my parents were.

I never really saw being a parent as something I wanted to do. I felt I was too selfish. I didn’t want to repeat the mistakes of my parents. We did not plan to have a child, but it happened. Just a little over a year ago, Allison gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Sydney.

To say this event changed my life would be an understatement. I fell in love from the first second I saw her. She is everything to me and she made me re-define all of my priorities. Work was no longer the #1 priority in my life. The past year has been tough (and it is getting harder), but it is so rewarding. When I come home and Sydney’s face lights up with that beautiful smile of hers, it melts my heart; it is almost indescribable on my 35th birthday, I wrote the following pledge in a journal I have been keeping for her:

My Dearest Sydney,

I promise to teach you the lessons of life. To let you experience the ups and downs, triumphs and tragedies of life. I will protect you but I will not shield you from the realities of life. I will encourage you to think for yourself, be independent and understand the consequences of your actions. I will always be there for you if you need me but I don’t want you to depend on me for everything. I want to give you all the tools and materials you will need, but you have to do all the building yourself. I can’t do it for you as that would rob you of you of your ability to reach your full potential and independence. I love you and want nothing more to for you to be the happiest girl on the planet!

All of these events have shaped my life but it took me until my 35th birthday to really reflect on life. This reflection caused me to take charge of my destiny.

It was through this introspection that I decided to go back to school. It was not to make more money. I am going back to school to feed my thirst for knowledge, to meet new people, to open new doors to new possibilities.

I will close with something else I wrote in my journal on my 35th birthday. It is a pledge I made to myself and it has become my personal mission statement:

I pledge to myself today to be who I truly am. To put my family and myself first and to reach my true potential. When I die, I want to be remembered as a good father and husband; someone who was kind and generous to others; someone with character and integrity; someone who put his family and himself first but was always empathetic and sensitive to the needs of others. My only hope is that I have the support of my family and friends just as I would support them. Without them none of this is possible or even worth it.

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