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Celebrating Dedicated and Devoted dads - Part 1 - All Woman - Jamaica Observer
All Woman

Celebrating Dedicated and Devoted dads - Part 1

FOR our special Fathers' Day edition of All Woman this year, we invited a few companies in corporate Jamaica to celebrate their dedicated and devoted dads who have been awesome, both at home and work, as they navigate the pandemic.

These are the men who have been impressive in their dedication to both their roles as dads as well as in their professional capacity this year.
Here are the dads who have stood out for being dedicated and devoted.

Andrew Messado, group chief financial officer, accountant, GraceKennedy Limited

Child: Nathan, five

How have you had to shift gears to navigate your roles as a dad and a professional this year?

This required some balancing of my schedule; for me the new normal for the past year has been a mix of work-from-home and in-office, and my son has been mainly doing virtual classes. This means taking time to help him with art and craft projects and practising word pronunciation. It's about finding ways to have fun as a family without leaving home. It means listening out for when the connection to his virtual class gets cut off. Sometimes it means stopping during a Zoom call to explain to him that I am in a meeting, so it's quiet time. At work, it has meant staying connected to my team, ensuring they have the tools to work effectively, and managing my time to stay on top of the job requirements regardless of physical location and safety restrictions.

No doubt, the pandemic would have made you spend more time with your son over the past year and a half. What's one parenting/life lesson that you've taken from the experience?

With Nathan doing virtual learning and me working from home occasionally, I was able to see his full daily schedule, how he learns and interacts with others, and where his frustrations lie. I think the big lesson has been to be more patient and supportive of him. With his face-to-face interactions with others severely limited since the pandemic, I have found that encouragement has been key to his mental well-being.

What's your daily work schedule like, and how is your son incorporated?

Work starts early in the morning, lots of discussions with colleagues during the day and [this] at times can continue into the evening. On the days when I am going into office, before leaving for work I set him up for school and wish him a fun-filled day. Most nights I help with bedtime and I cook breakfast for him a couple times a week, which he does eat. I also end work early at least once during the week for us to have some playtime. On weekends, we have more time together and mix a little learning with lots of fun.

How would you describe yourself now as a dad, compared to the man you were in 2019?

I'm more flexible mixing work with fatherhood. Before 2020 I would have continuous work time and then “home” time. Now, I pause at times during the workday to be more responsive to Nathan's immediate needs.

What's the biggest change that has taken place, in your professional life and as a dad, because of the pandemic?

In my work life, I think time management has improved as well as better listening to my colleagues and team. As a dad, I have become better at observing and responding, and making more time for my son.

What would you say makes you a dedicated and devoted dad?

I listen and try to be sensitive to my son's mood, show love and affection consistently, excitement when we play, let him know the difference between right and wrong, and give him comfort when he is feeling down.


Kirk Shaw, assistant manager, group facilities and records management, Sagicor Group Jamaica

Child: Michael, three

How have you had to shift gears to navigate your roles as a dad and a professional this year?

I had to go into overdrive. I take both my responsibilities as a professional and a parent very seriously; raising my son is of paramount importance to me. I don't like failing at anything I do, and this is why I try to give my best effort to any role I take on. Sometimes it is hard to balance but praise be to the Lord, He has blessed me with an abundance of energy to do both. I know that tough times don't last; tough people do. So, I press on because of the love I have for both my son and work.

No doubt, the pandemic would have made you spend more time with your son over the past year and a half. What's one parenting/life lesson that you've taken from the experience?

Based on the nature of my job, the pandemic didn't see a significant shift in spending more time at home. However, I always try to make the time spent with family and son quality time. We play, talk, read and eat together. The time we spend together is uninterrupted time; no phone, no electronic gadgets. Just the two of us. At times we are outside playing sports or we take a drive out together; where he asks a million questions and I try to answer them. My son always joins me at the dinner table once he is awake when I get home. One major thing that I have learnt is that they grow up so fast and they are quick learners. A lot of times Michael will say stuff or ask questions that leaves me shaking my head. It is always good to listen to them and be honest with them. Kids most times are more understanding than adults.

What's your daily work schedule like, and how is your son incorporated?

My work schedule is very hectic. However, if something is important, you will make the time, and I make the time for my son. Some days, I will take him to the nursery when his mom is working from home; that is the time he gets in his 1000 questions and many requests. I'll pick him up from the nursery some days (which he enjoys because then he is going to request KFC). When he is at home throughout the days we video call each other, and on the rare days I am working from home I assist him with his online classes — and he seems to enjoy that.

How would you describe yourself now as a dad, compared to the man you were in 2019?

Fatherhood is very new to me as my son is only three years old, but I know it's a role I take seriously. I believe over time — not because of the pandemic, but as you get more into the rhythm of raising a child — I have created more balance between work and family life, learning more and more each day. I love spending time with my son and likewise, I think he loves spending time with me. The level of excitement on his face whenever he sees me is priceless.

What's the biggest change that has taken place, in your professional life and as a dad, because of the pandemic?

I think I have become more organised and better at time management. With so much to do in a limited time frame due to the various restrictions/curfews, it has taught me how to prioritise even more. The pandemic has also made me a little more aware and appreciative of the simpler things in life.

What would you say makes you qualified to be described as a dedicated and devoted dad?

The love and energy I give to my child daily. I consider my child a gift from God; one which I promise to cherish and take care of. It is my intent to give my child the best life possible. His needs go before mine at all times. One of my greatest factors in being a dedicated father is the fact that I grew up not knowing one; I truly understand the need of having a father and the pain of not having one. The job is not only being there for him financially, but to be there for him in all aspects of life (show him love, give him my time and attention).

Mazahurlt Davis - Director, Network Services, Flow

"I work with a fantastic fibre construction, splicing and network transformation team to support customers' demands, reach unserved and underserved communities and restore those communities impacted by cable damage with fibre fast services."

Children: My wife, Marvette, and I have two great children: Dothanial, 17, and Dejanae, 14.

How have you had to shift gears to navigate your roles as a dad and a professional this year?

Working from home has enabled me to spend more time with my family, allowing additional time for engagement activities with my children and to assist them on a more regular basis with homework.

I have had to apply greater balance in my role as dad and my work life to ensure that even as I spend more time with the family, I am able to meet the demands of the various communities in carrying out the task of network expansion and transformation.

No doubt, the pandemic would have made you spend more time with your kids over the past year and a half. What's one parenting/life lesson that you've taken from the experience?

The importance of spending quality time with God and family.

What's your daily work schedule like, and how are your kids incorporated?

My day usually starts at 6:00 am when I get the children awake and we go walking/jogging together. It's also a great time to share and meditate in devotion, and then it's time for breakfast with the family.

Ensuring the children are prepared for school is very important to me and so I take the time to check in with them, ensuring that they are comfortable and ready to face another day of online school. Once they are settled, I prepare for my workday which is usually focused on meetings and site visits. Throughout the day, I take turns with my wife during breaks to check on the children and their progress with school – making sure that their work is done correctly, assignments are completed on time, and they are in attendance at classes and not fooling around on the Internet. It's important for me that they learn to take responsibility. These breaks are among my favourite times spent with them as we often share jokes as part of our stress-relief activities.

Working from home allows us to have lunch together most days and that is usually followed by another round of online school for the children and for me, more work-related activities for the remainder of the afternoon.

I look forward to the end of the workday when I get to spend more time with the children and these times are usually reserved for hearing about their activities throughout the day, sorting out homework before bed, playing and watching videos together.

Dinner time provides another opportunity to sit and share with the family.

How would you describe yourself, now, as a dad, compared to the man you were in 2019?

I am now more patient and tempered as a dad, based on the quantity and quality of the time I now spend with my children. I am still learning from them and I believe that there is a greater level of mutual trust as they now feel more comfortable in sharing their thoughts as I provide guidance.

What's the biggest change that has happened in your professional life and as a dad, because of the pandemic?

Adapting to the demands of life online for work and school.

What would you say qualifies you to be described as a 'Dedicated and Devoted' dad?

This is not an easy question to answer, and I had to consult with my wife and children. My response is therefore based on their responses. In addition to providing the basic requirements of food and shelter, my children and I have a great bond which allows them to feel comfortable in sharing openly with me. They know that I am there to listen, and they understand that regardless of the situation, I will be fair…even if there are consequences. I believe strongly in the merits of discipline, moral and spiritual intelligence, and for this, my children describe me as a “strict” but dedicated dad who is willing to make sacrifices.

On the lighter side, we do have fun times as “wi romp ruff”, and pranks are a daily occurrence. My children have no reservations in laughing at me, and I like to know that I am there for them.

Dr Dayton Robinson, Group Chief Human Resources Officer, Victoria Mutual Group

Children: Zachary, 16, and James, 14

How have you had to shift gears to navigate your roles as a dad and a professional this year?

The pandemic has certainly forced me to act and think differently as a professional and as a father. Normally, I would get up in the mornings, wake the boys and get them ready for school. Well, one is in boarding, so I just have to get one ready and take him to school before I go to work. During this pandemic, I had both boys at home while working from home, so I had to pay more attention to them getting homework done, answering questions I knew nothing about, and often cooking to make sure they eat. This, I had to do, while attending countless meetings online. More than ever, I had to be agile, it is a good thing I am a Munronian; I know how to pivot when required.

No doubt, the pandemic would have made you spend more time with your kids over the past year and a half. What's one parenting/life lesson that you've taken from the experience?

When everything around me seems upside down, having the boys around gives me peace and the willpower to fight on and to perform at my best because I know they are watching and learning from me.

What's your daily work schedule like, and how are your kids incorporated?

My daily work schedule is hectic, with long hours and many meetings. But I do find time to relax with the boys, watch Netflix, talk about school and life challenges, and occasionally, they test their strength by engaging me in body wrestling. These days I can't wrestle for long, so I know the tide is changing. But, until then I am still the King.

How would you describe yourself, now, as a dad, compared to the man you were in 2019?

I am now far more appreciative of what those who are single parents go through daily, especially single moms who have been doing this long before anyone knew anything about COVID-19. Working and raising children are two full-time jobs, neither of which you can afford to quit. I am also more appreciative of the opinions of my boys. Our children often have the answers to many of the parenting challenges that we struggle with. We just need to listen and be more open to modern solutions. So, I believe I am a better dad.

What's the biggest change that has happened in your professional life and as a dad, because of the pandemic?

My biggest learning is that family comes first every time, and we should do everything possible to make our home our sanctuary. No matter what is happening around me, my family is the biggest source of my strength and being a super dad is important to me, just the same way I am sure my brothers and I were to my father.

What would you say qualifies you to be described as a 'Dedicated and Devoted' dad?

I would love to hear what my sons have to say, since I won't be around for my eulogy. I think they would describe me as a dad who is always there and ready to teach them life lessons about how to be a man, husband, and a father; lessons that will outfit them to face the many challenges that they are certain to face in their adult years. I was raised poor, but I was loved so I am dedicated to giving my sons a fighting chance.

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Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

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