Meet David Lunken and Daughter Talia

David Lunken and daughter Talia

David Lunken has been an entrepreneur since the time he was six years old when he sold candy out of his Radio Flyer red wagon that he would pull through the neighborhood. At 16 he had his own landscaping business and later, he owned Stick People Tees, a t-shirt screening company that helped put him through graduate school at Indiana University, Bloomington. Today, David runs his own management consulting practice helping companies grow, navigate change, hire the right people and build great teams.

He has parlayed his business expertise into an opportunity to serve as a mentor for 4Front’s Social Innovation Fellowship, a hands-on entrepreneurship program that inspires and empowers Jewish teens to be changemakers in their community. And the best part? He gets to work alongside his own daughters.

For the past 30 years, David and his wife Jessica and their three girls — Isabel (21), Talia (19) and Nadya (16) — have lived in Baltimore City. Both Isabel and Talia have participated in 4Front programming, which is housed at the JCC.

We recently set down with David and Talia to learn a little more about their shared interests, volunteer work and involvement with 4Front. And of course, what it’s like to parent a teen.

David Lunken and daughter Talia

David, how are you and your daughter Talia similar? Different?

Talia and I share a lot of similarities including curly hair (although mine was curly a long time ago), being in constant motion (neither of us are any good at sitting still and just relaxing) and creative problem solving. We tend to be very good at finding multiple ways to solve a problem and find it kind of fun.

One major difference is that Talia has gotten involved in leadership roles at a much younger age than me. It took me a long time to step up and volunteer, help and engage. 

It seems Talia agrees.

My dad and I are similar because we are very determined and hardworking. We will set our minds to do something and will work hard to get it done.

We are different in the sense that I will set my plate full of activities and tasks and not stop going, but my dad will do this in a much more relaxed way, allowing time to stop and rest.

Talia, name one thing that your dad is really good at.

My dad is really good at is motivating others. 

David, any advice to fellow dads on raising daughters?

Raising daughters is amazing. I guess I don’t know any different as I only have girls. I have always believed that my role as a parent was to help my daughters grow up to be independent and competent. I have ignored the gender stereotypes and had our daughters cut the grass, drive as soon as possible, use power tools and encouraged to be entrepreneurial, do the work and take charge.

David Lunken and daughter Talia

Speaking of mowing the lawn…

Something I like to do with my dad is gardening and yard work. My dad works very hard on our yard and does an incredible job at keeping it tidy and beautiful, often getting compliments from people walking by. He has taught me how to mow the lawn, weed, mulch and so much more and I like to help him out with it all.


Talia what’s the best advice you received from your dad?

The best advice I have received from my dad is just to work hard and try. You are not going to get anywhere if you just give up, you have to at least try.

David, in your opinion, what are the biggest challenges raising teenagers today?

I think one of the biggest challenges raising teenagers today is their non-stop access to information, social media and the constant pressure or need to be on and succeeding. When I was in my teens, although there was pressure, it was not as intense and, in your face, as social media and access is now.

David Lunken and daughter Talia

Talia, as a freshman at University of Wisconsin – Madison majoring in political science, what’s one thing you miss being away from home?

One thing I miss about being home is baking. I always used to bake for my family and in a dorm, it is pretty hard to do that.

Can you share one of your fondest childhood memories, Talia?

One of my fondest childhood memories is going to cheer my parents on at triathlons when my sisters and I were little. Our mom would iron on pictures and messages to our shirts and we would always get powdered donuts.

David, what was one of the hardest moments you had being a father and why was it hard?

The hardest moments for me as a father are the ups and downs of navigating friendships and relationships. It is so hard to see the pain and challenge, to be supportive and to also know that there isn’t much I can do to ‘solve the problem.’ As a parent I want to protect my kids. As a problem solver I want to do something to fix the problem. Often, there is little I can do other than to be supportive.

Tell us about your involvement with the JCC/4Front/The Associated.

Most recently I became involved with 4Front when the Social Innovation Fellowship (SIF) was first launched. For the past 2+ years I have acted as the Co-Chair of the 4Front Advisory committee and last year I joined the JCC board. I am particularly involved and engaged with teen programming and advocating for teens as a priority for the Baltimore community. My involvement with The Associated dates back to participating on one of the committees to address engagement and welcoming in the Baltimore community.


I participated in 4Front because my older sister, Isabel, had participated in SIF the year prior and really enjoyed it. The first program I participated in was STAC, Students Taking Action for Change. The next program I participated in was SIF, Social Innovation Fellowship. I learned a lot about the entrepreneurial process and how to find solutions to issues we see in the world. With the group I visited Israel for the first time. I loved seeing Israel through an innovative lens and especially enjoyed visiting the Perez Center for Innovation. The last program I participated in was FUN(d). This experience was a little different because it happened virtually, but it was incredible to connect with peers to raise money and learn about philanthropy.

4Front is the Baltimore Jewish Community’s comprehensive teen initiative, managed by the Jewish Community Center (JCC) and supported by The Associated, the Jim Joseph Foundation, the Joseph & Harvey Meyerhoff Family Charitable Funds and other local donors.

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The Associated is a home for everyone in the Baltimore Jewish community. We offer several email lists to help people find a community, engage with their peers and support Jewish journeys around the world.

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