Kenneth J. Parker
SVP of Government Affairs & Corporate Citizenship, Pepco Holdings, Inc.
MY GREATEST STRENGTH
I understand the impact mentorship has on others. I don’t believe you walk up the ladder and throw it down when you reach the top. I always try to take the time to give back to people. Providing counsel is important.
My wife, my children, and my sister Patricia.
My sister Patricia has provided encouragement and motivation, and has been my role model. I view my sister as an angel that was put upon our family. She’s my sister, but in a way, she’s like my mother.
I found a person in my wife Sheri who had everything that I didn’t have when it came to family and values. We met when I was a building attendant and had nothing. She’s the most loving and caring person—all the years we have been married, she has never said a disparaging word about a person. Along this journey she’s been by my side, still the same—a champion and my support.
You must have something you can hold onto and believe in. Faith means different things to different people, and I believe that there’s something greater than each of us that holds us up. My belief is that if I give into negative thinking, it will overcome me, so what’s my alternative?
You have to do every job well. When I worked as a landscaper, I never thought, “I’m just a landscaper.” When I worked as a janitor, I cleaned the floors so you could eat off of them. People knew who worked that shift. I master every job, because my work is a reflection of me. You can’t just do your job halfway.
It just takes faith, family, and staying humble.
“Don’t down the one that is down today. Help them in their sorrow. This ole world is a funny ole world and you might be down tomorrow.” That’s a quote from my mother that the family still recites today.
I believe we can be whatever we want but it starts with the image that you can. You must believe in yourself. When people come in my office to pick up trash, many come in and put their head down. I say hi to them because they’re human beings. The sky is the limit if you have a positive self-image.”
I wake up each day knowing that today is a blessing—a precious kind of moment. I look back at this journey and think, “Who I have helped along the way?” I think harder about things like… Is the house in order? Is my family secure? If today were my end, did I try to make a difference? What would people say? Those questions drive my day.