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We need to celebrate co-workers' milestones – both big and small

To strengthen relationships in the workplace and build trust, we have to foster a sense of community.
The Know Your Value crew at brand and event manager Emily Cassidy's surprise bridal shower on Thursday.
The Know Your Value crew at brand and event manager Emily Cassidy's surprise bridal shower on Thursday.

I’m passionate about investing in women; it’s a key tenet of the Know Your Value mission. But investing in a woman doesn’t just mean mentoring and championing her successes at work — it’s also celebrating those big life events outside of the office.

This week I hosted a surprise bridal shower for Know Your Value events and brand manager Emily Cassidy, 30, who’s getting married next month. I couldn’t be happier for Emily, whom I’ve known and mentored for years.

When Emily started her professional career as my assistant almost eight years ago, I was immediately impressed by her diligent work, scrappy attitude and creative spirit. I invested in her growth at NBCUniversal and Comcast, too: I mentored her, provided professional advice, and supported her on the path to her current role as our events and brand manager. She has since been an integral part of creating this site,, has managed our national events across the country, and helped me write the 2018 re-release of my book “Know Your Value.”

Mika Brzezinski greets Emily Cassidy at her surprise bridal shower.Know Your Value

So, yes: A big part of my investment in Emily includes professional mentorship. But it also means sharing in meaningful events in Emily’s life — celebrating all of her.

For as long as Emily has worked for me, I insisted that she go on dates and have a life outside of work. Part of your value, after all, is respecting all the goals you want to achieve in life. Many women feel ashamed that they want to be married or have kids. You shouldn't feel this way. If those are your desires, then own it!

From left to right: Know Your Value's Maureen Clancy, Vicki Neidigh and Emily Cassidy.Know Your Value

And remember, it’s not only OK, but fantastic to support your colleagues in celebrating weddings, births, moves, and potentially unhappy events, too.

These are the events that shape the people we work with every day. Work and life are inextricably linked, and frankly, it’s silly to pretend otherwise. We can’t say we fully support a woman if we celebrate only part of her. And we can’t, for example, expect her to come in and nail that presentation if she’s struggling with an issue outside of work.

From left to right: Amanda Hayes, Muriel Chase, Lorie Acio, Daniela Pierre-Bravo, Emily Cassidy and Marcy IlicichKnow Your Value

For me, a bridal shower (in this case) is as much a part of supporting Emily as is any piece of advice about a presentation or promotion. It’s investing in her as a whole person.

On Thursday, Emily, who recently wrote about wedding planning in the workplace, traveled from Philadelphia under the guise of joining an editorial meeting at my apartment. Surprise!

I even got a little carried away and wore the "bride" tiara through the airport and all the way home:

By the way: Professional and personal advice can mix. When Emily first started working for me, I told her she could leave work early on occasion for two reasons: to go to the gym, or to go on a date. It looks like my advice worked!