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Actress Mae Whitman credits being able to navigate childhood stardom to her 'gentle dad'

“If everyone had a gentle dad, the world would be a better place,” one commenter wrote.

gentle parenting
@dearmedia/TikTok

Mae Whitman credits her healthy childhood to her "gentle dad."

Hollywood stardom is all too often a dangerous landscape for child actors. Many celebrities who got famous early have come out with their own personal accounts of being exploited and abused by the industry or by their own parents.

Mae Whitman, however, is not one of those actors.

At the age of 6, Whitman starred as Meg Ryan’s daughter in “When a Man Loves a Woman,” and since then has gone on to roles in notable shows like “Arrested Development,” "Parenthood" and “Good Girls.” Now, at age 34, she is starring in a musical comedy on Hulu called “Up Here.”

During a podcast interview with “Dear Media,” Whitman was asked how she managed to navigate early success while dodging those all-too-common pitfalls that many young stars fall victim to.

“I hate to give them all the credit, but it’s my parents,” she quipped. “They ruled. They were so cautious and they were so meticulous about prioritizing and walking me through what was important in life. What not to take personally. Our family was so communication-based.”

She then praised her dad in particular for being a healthy male presence.

@dearmedia #maewhitman is the way she is all thanks to her parents. Shoutout to the #gentledads 🥹 #notskinnybutnotfat #familygoals #podcastclips ♬ Storytelling - Adriel

“I grew up with a gentle dad—it’s a term I’ve coined with people,” she said. “A gentle dad is like a sensitive dad. There was no teasing in my house. There was no meanness. There was no ‘You need to make us proud.’ It was an open source of communication and sensitivity and consideration.”

She then gave a sweet story as an example, explaining that as a kid, she could never get into sleepovers and always wanted to go home (relatable for any introvert, to be sure). In order to avoid any embarrassment, Whitman and her father developed a code phrase that signaled it was time to pick her up.

@dearmedia Calling your parents to pick you up at sleepovers > Yes or no? ⬇️ #sleepovers #sleepoverstory #parentpickup #maewhitman #notskinnybutnotfat #podcastclips ♬ Graduate - BLVKSHP

“I would call my dad, completely casual,” she recalled, “and be like, ‘It’s awesome I’m having the best time I’ve ever had. But quick question: Did you feed the turtle?’”

Without fail, Whitman’s dad would come and get her. That is Gentle Dad-ing 101.

The interview struck a chord with viewers, many of whom had their own gentle dad to give credit to.

“My dad was a gentle dad and I miss him everyday,” one person wrote.

Another added, “I grew up with a gentle dad, and married a man who is a gentle dad. It’s the biggest flex a man can have.”

And those who didn’t grow up with that kind of support shared how much they yearned for it.

“Ooof to not have Dad issues would absolutely rule,” commented one person.

“Where was the signup sheet? Cuz I missed it,” another echoed.

Regardless, people were unanimously on board with the idea. As one person put it, “If everyone had a gentle dad, the world would be a better place.”

Just another example of how gentle parenting can work wonders for developing some high-functioning, healthy kids, whether they’re thrust into stardom or not.

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From political science to joining the fight against cancer: How one woman found her passion

An unexpected pivot to project management expanded Krystal Brady's idea of what it means to make a positive impact.

Krystal Brady/PMI

Krystal Brady utilizes her project management skills to help advance cancer research and advocacy.

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Cancer impacts nearly everyone’s life in one way or another, and thankfully, we’re learning more about treatment and prevention every day. Individuals and organizations dedicated to fighting cancer and promising research from scientists are often front and center, but we don’t always see the people working behind the scenes to make the fight possible.

People like Krystal Brady.

While studying political science in college, Brady envisioned her future self in public office. She never dreamed she’d build a successful career in the world of oncology, helping cancer researchers, doctors and advocates continue battling cancer, but more efficiently.

Brady’s journey to oncology began with a seasonal job at a small publishing company, which helped pay for college and awakened her love for managing projects. Now, 15 years later, she’s serving as director of digital experience and strategy at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), which she describes as “the perfect place to pair my love of project management and desire to make positive change in the world.”

As a project manager, Brady helps make big ideas for the improvement of diagnosing and treating cancer a reality. She is responsible for driving the critical projects that impact the lives of cancer researchers, doctors, and patients.

“I tell people that my job is part toolbox, part glue,” says Brady. “Being a project manager means being responsible for understanding the details of a project, knowing what tools or resources you need to execute the project, and facilitating the flow of that work to the best outcome possible. That means promoting communication, partnership, and ownership among the team for the project.”

At its heart, Brady’s project management work is about helping people. One of the big projects Brady is currently working on is ASCO’s digital transformation, which includes upgrading systems and applications to help streamline and personalize oncologists’ online experience so they can access the right resources more quickly. Whether you are managing humans or machines, there’s an extraordinary need for workers with the skillset to harness new technology and solve problems.

The digital transformation project also includes preparing for the use of emerging technologies such as generative AI to help them in their research and practices.

“Most importantly, it lays the groundwork for us to make a meaningful impact at the point of care, giving the oncologist and patient the absolute latest recommendations or guidelines for care for that specific patient or case, allowing the doctor to spend more time with their patients and less time on paperwork,” Brady says.

In today’s fast-changing, quickly advancing world, project management is perhaps more valuable than ever. After discovering her love for it, Brady earned her Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification through Project Management Institute (PMI)—the premier professional organization for project managers with chapters all over the world—which she says gave her an edge over other candidates when she applied for her job at ASCO.

“The knowledge I gained in preparing for the PMP exam serves me every day in my role,” Brady says. “What I did not expect and have truly come to value is the PMI network as well – finding like-minded individuals, opportunities for continuous learning, and the ability to volunteer and give back.”

PMI’s growing community – including more than 300 chapters globally – serves as a place for project managers and individuals who use project management skills to learn and grow through events, online resources, and certification programs.

While people often think of project management in the context of corporate careers, all industries and organizations need project managers, making it a great career for those who want to elevate our world through non-profits or other service-oriented fields.

“Project management makes a difference by focusing on efficiency and outcomes, making us all a little better at what we do,” says Brady. “In almost every industry, understanding how to do our work more effectively and efficiently means more value to our customers, and the world at large, at an increased pace.”

Project management is also a stable career path in high demand as shown by PMI research, which found that the global economy will need 25 million more project managers by 2030 and that the median salary for project managers in the US has grown to $120K.

If you’d like to learn more about careers in project management, PMI has resources to help you get started or prove your proficiency, including its entry-level Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification program. For those interested in pursuing a project management career to make a difference, it could be your first step.

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