Sipping Success: CELEBRATING DADS
National Commercial Bank Jamaica Limited (NCBJ) in collaboration with Caribbean Producers of Jamaica Limited (CPJ) hosted “Sipping Success: A Whisky Flight for Fathers,” a pre-Father’s Day celebration for extraordinary entrepreneurs who are exceptional dads. It was held as a precursor to today’s Father’s Day Bar-B-Q, Grilling in the Garden.
The intimate event took place in the executive dining room at The Atrium, NCB’s New Kingston headquarters. The space was transformed into a male lair that transported the clients and executives to the Islay region of Scotland where they participated in a masterclass in whisky appreciation, perfect pairings, and raising financially sound families.
Kemmar Lewis, regional category manager, CPJ, who shared the duties of whisky enthusiast alongside his brand manager Sherika Myers, invited guests to expand their palates and broaden their horizons to new and exciting Scotch whisky experiences. There was nary an objection after celebrated chef Jacqui Tyson introduced the afternoon’s menu.
The top-shelf whiskies and three-course meal prompted insightful conversation on finance and fatherhood led by host Antonio Spence, senior assistant vice-president, NCB Insurance Agency and Fund Managers. “Just as a skilled pilot navigates through different altitudes and weather conditions, we, as fathers, also navigate the complex world of finance, wealth management, and generational prosperity. Our experiences, and wisdom will become the guiding instruments that steer our families towards success,” he said.
Indeed, as the flavours deepened and melded, the sharing became heartfelt and coloured by each person’s unique blend of experience, insight and wisdom. The discussion focused on raising children who can appreciate the value of money and the effort required to become successful.
CEO of Virtual Mart Limited Godfrey Salmon recalled watching his grandfather providing for his family. This, he informed, taught him the true meaning of entrepreneurship.
“…My growing up, actually, was with my grandfather. He had a tractor in Westmoreland because he had a plantation and he would carry cane to Frome…I’ve come to understand that my grandfather was a great entrepreneur. The reality is that he kept the household going. You never saw him going to an office to work, but we were never out of anything. I never really appreciated my father the entrepreneur until I became a man and understood that an entrepreneur is really a person that provides out of the land… and it is actually something to marvel about. The importance of hard work is a life lesson he has instilled in his own children,” Salmon said.
This triggered collective nods of agreement about the importance of generational wealth: financial assets that are passed down through families to children, grandchildren, and beyond. Assets passed from one generation to the next might include cash, investments, property, and more.
Against this background, Norman Horne, executive chairman at ARC Manufacturing, stated that while growing up in St Elizabeth in the late 1960s, his father, through lectures about colonialism and land ownership, ensured that he and his siblings were aware of the value of earning and contributing to the economy.
“He gave other lectures, some of which you can’t escape because it follows you throughout your life. He wrote for Norman Manley and after World War II, he came back and wrote a piece that Manley used for some of his presentations. It was about the colonial era and the disadvantage of the Jamaican majority. The essence of it is that…when the colonial masters recognised that Jamaica would become self-governed, they started to give out some of the land. So, he advocated that the Government needed to develop some kind of affirmative development action to level the playing field, so the majority of Jamaicans could have some access to the lands in Jamaica because land is real wealth. Unfortunately, the Crown sold majority of the land back to the colonial masters for bauxite and sugar…So, he drilled that into us about being able to contribute to the economy and that we must earn more than we spend… Each of us has an obligation to manage our own economy.”
Cary-Neil Gordon, managing director of Carlisa Enterprises Ltd, added: “My father did a lot for us in terms of guidance… Growing up, I must say that I gave him a lot of trouble. I never liked that way he disciplined us, but where I am now, I appreciate it. The things I do with my kids now and say to them, they don’t really appreciate it either, and sometimes I have to say to them that this is what I learnt and that is how I am, so you have to understand. I say one day, you will appreciate it also.”
For some, the most fulfilling job is the time spent and the knowledge learnt while raising their children.
“For me, I love to bake for my girls,” boasted Alvin Campbell, manager of NCB Insurance Agency and Fund Managers Ltd. “He [my father] taught me integrity and he taught me love…When my wife was advanced with her pregnancy, every evening that she got home and I’d greet her, her belly just started to vibrate. As my daughter got a little older, she in turn would run and jump on me every time I got home. No matter how tired or stressed, no matter how bad your day is, when that happens, it’s like everything just melts away. These are some of the things that stay with me as a father.”
NCB Vice President, Corporate and Commercial Banking, Raymond Donaldson added: “I’m a relatively new father, as my son is eight. And it’s been an amazing experience. But, I think the hardest thing for me about fatherhood is when he does something wrong and he knows that it is something that you were doing at his age, how do you discipline him? So, I think that’s the first challenge. The next challenge is the grandparents who now argue with you when you reprimand them. You say to them, ‘When I was his age, you used to discipline me, but now you’re telling me to not discipline him!'”
Stephen Ricketts, acting COO, NCB Capital Markets, shared similar sentiments: “One of the interesting things about fatherhood is that I have a 27-year-old son and I also have an eight-year-old son. But one of the most interesting things is that my daughter, who actually is six, was born on my birthday, so that for me, is one of the best birthday presents, ever. One of the things I found out was that raising my 27-year-old son is far different with my eight-year-old son because I’m learning to become a little different [type of] father.
“I always tell my girls that I’m your father first and then your friend. So, I thought I was very hard on them and now they are grown women, I mean I got some letters recently that said because of how hard I was on them, it has helped them to become the ladies they are now. The lesson for me is that as parents, we have to be parents first and friends second,” shared Peter Higgins, head of foreign exchange, NCB.
Ravi Rochlani of Rosh Marketing Company Ltd and father of two shared the importance of having successful people as role models, naming the late Gordon “Butch” Stewart as his. “Learn from them,” he said.
After much laughter and copious amounts of toasts, lunch concluded with the fathers promising to continue promoting positive fatherhood in a quest to change the narrative around deadbeat dads, and to provide mentorship for younger dads.