SM: When you were going through the financially stressful period, what happened with your family? One of your children would have been entering the teenage years at that point.
TT: I have the best kids in the whole world. My son goes to UCLA and works at the company during the summer. I was single when I was starting the company, and he went to a middle school that was thirty minutes away from home. Every morning I would talk about the company as we drove to school. My son has grown up on business. He knows this company as well as me because it is all he has heard about for the past nine years. My daughter has no interest in anything I do. She is a musician, although I am sure she will be an entrepreneur. She has those genes.
It comes down to balance. As much as I love my little company, I know that if I don’t put my relationships first I will lose them. The wonderful thing about being CEO is if my kid calls from school then I could leave and help them.
SM: What about the soccer games and school plays?
TT: I went to those. I probably did not make every single one, but I made just about every one.
SM: I don’t know about southern California but around here there is enormous peer pressure to be at every single game, especially from the stay-at-home moms.
TT: Those parents are awful, especially the ones who spend ten hours a week getting their nails done. I love my kids to a distraction and they know that. I would make every game I could even if it meant working until 2 a.m. after they went to sleep. They mean a world more than any company and they both know it. They are amazing, smart, well adjusted, very different and incredibly interesting. I guess we were blessed by genetics because we were blessed with incredible kids.
SM: It depends on the values you impart on them. Some people are not available, so they shower their kids with stuff.
TT: My kids always went to Catholic schools because [these schools] do well at education. They would go with a lot of other wealthy kids. Two years ago my son thanked me for never giving them money as presents because his friends who got money for their birthdays only valued money. Their parents taught them that a worthy present was a $100 bill.
SM: Clearly, the family experience was your backbone as you went through the ups and downs of building your company.
TT: Definitely. We have a lot of fun as a family. We enjoy talking over the table about world affairs and politics. They both have clear viewpoints and they are willing to argue them. Some of the best conversations we have had were held at that table. I am so incredibly grateful for the second chance with my husband. It is such a blessing.
SM: How long were the two of you apart?
TT: For five years. We were divorced in 2000 and remarried in 2005. I am so glad he did not remarry someone else! He is a great guy.
SM: You balance a lot with kids, husband, starting a company, running a company, and all the expectations that go with it. Do you think you can do it all? Have you done it all?
TT: Absolutely not. If you think you can do it all, then you will not set your priorities and you will not do the things that matter. I do not get my nails done. I usually don’t wear makeup. That saves me time every morning. I know women who spend forty-five minutes a day putting on makeup. I could spend that time with my kids or at work. There is always too much to do, so you have to know when to go home. If you don’t go home now and have dinner with your kids, you will not see them. There are stretches where I have to live at the office. My family understands those times. You have to constantly evaluate your priorities.
SM: It seems like you are saying that you must set expectations with children so they do not resent that.
TT: They know we love them. They know if they need anything we would be there in a heartbeat. We joke about some of the stay-at-home moms who bake cakes for the school and stay with the teachers. My kids are glad I am not that type of mom, that I have my own life and do not try and live theirs. They want to grow into people themselves.