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Celebrating Dedicated and Devoted dads - Part 3 - All Woman - Jamaica Observer
All Woman

Celebrating Dedicated and Devoted dads - Part 3

 

Damian Duncan, CEO, Supreme Ventures Fintech Limited

Children: Raine, 8; Rafi, 7

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

The biggest challenge has been the change to online school. Both my children are very energetic and have big personalities, so interacting with their friends and teachers was an important part of their day. The shift to online was therefore a major adjustment for them and us (as my wife and I also transitioned to working mostly from home). We both spent a great deal of time thinking about how we could replicate the in-person learning environment while they were sitting at the kitchen table looking at a screen. We tried to get them in a school mindset every morning and pushed them to treat sitting at the desk as just like being in class. Simultaneously, we strived to do this in our own lives by having a routine that included putting ourselves in a deep-work mindset and setting an example the children could follow.

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?

Patience and flexibility. We continuously think of creative ways to stay on-task while having a high degree to flexibility with how we approach problems and issues. Its daunting sometimes and doesn't always work at first, but once we are patient with the process, we can get a good result.

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

I try to work out in the morning before the children are up. Coffee has become mandatory every morning. My kids are early risers so they are usually awake by 6:00 am. I try to talk to them a bit every morning about what they have to do in school and then there's usually a mad rush to get them fed and changed for school (We still do uniforms even for online school to keep structure). The rest of the day is a combination of Zoom (and some in-person) meetings that I try to break off around 7:00 pm to watch with news and sit with the kids a bit before bed.

How would you describe yourself now as a dad, compared to the man you were in 2019?
Definitely much more patient with a higher level of tolerance for background noise. Typically, I don't hear anything unless there's an injury or a door being opened that shouldn't.

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

I think flexibility and understanding. More than anything else, this experience has taught me to focus on goals and results, while being flexible about the path towards them. This applies in both personal and professional interactions. Also, don't sweat the small stuff.

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

I try to be a better dad today than I was yesterday, that's about it.

Miguel Alister Walker – AVP – Wealth Management, Proven

Children: Abigail 13; Joshua, eight

“It's a balancing act,” Walker says about how he's had to shift gears because of the pandemic, “and as I take both roles seriously, I have had to put the necessary measures in place to ensure that I am able to adequately fulfil my duties as a father and as a team leader at Proven.

“To this end, I have applied the work/life balance approach daily, therefore, when I am at work, my focus is on the job and when I am home, my focus is on my family.”

He said the pandemic was a blessing in disguise, as it allowed him the opportunity to spend more time with his children daily, at a pivotal stage of their lives.

“I know and appreciate how important it is to spend quality time with your children, as this time provides me with a one-to-one medium to impart and share critical life values/skills such as prayer and faith in God, good manners, sharing and caring, respect, humility, social graces, self-confidence, self-worth, continuous learning, reading, managing peer pressure and pouring into oneself. It is my belief that these skills are critical to a solid upbringing and building an emotionally strong leader capable of handling the realities of life,” he shared.

This early riser typically starts his day at 4:00 am with devotion/meditation, then his exercise routine, and then he starts his work day at 7.30am. “As they are doing school online, I will check in on them during the day and get updates on their school activities or any homework requirement, especially if I may have to stop to get any supplies. Having an early start daily frees up my afternoon to do more with my children. I have a standing 5:30pm date with them on weekdays, which typically includes playing football or walking. Thereafter, we complete homework and any assignment given. The weekends are dedicated to their activities, which includes football, swimming, chess, badminton and an occasional drop off to the hairdresser for my daughter. I am my son's barber,” he said.

Walker said the pandemic has served as an eye opener and a wake up call to everyone, as through the shared experiences, “we have all been brought to face the reality of the frailty of life, the need to count your blessings and truly understand and treasure what matters most – like your family!”

“I have had to embrace and utilise technology to set up and effectively manage a remote workplace and team. This paradigm shift in management required new perspective and execution of performance management, leadership and trust. As a dad, I have had to help my kids adapt to virtual school and optimising self-learning,” he said.

Asked what would qualify him to be described as a dedicated and devoted dad, his answer was: “Each day, I try my best to be at my best in all that I do…and that includes being a dad. I am not perfect and consider myself as a work in progress but I trust that my unconditional love, dedication and commitment to my children will be felt and valued by them every day and that they know that I will always be here for them.”

 

Dayne Bucknor, district vice-president, Scotiabank

As a senior banking executive, Bucknor holds operational responsibility for 50 per cent of Scotiabank's retail banking footprint across the island – a major undertaking as the bank services hundreds of thousands of customers. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, he has still found time to be a dedicated, devoted father to his two small children and is loving every moment of it.

Children: Victoria, six, and Ayden, three.

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

Working from home presents its own set of challenges especially if your children are doing online learning. I have shifted gears by getting an early start each morning and by trying to be efficient with the things I have to accomplish at work each day. This strategy allows me to achieve balance and spend time with my family.

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?

This period has taught me the value of being present as a parent. It is always easy to believe you have all the time to spend with your children, but the truth is, they grow up fast and so you have to be deliberate about the time you spend with them. The pandemic has really allowed me to take even more notice of Ayden and Victoria's development and to appreciate every moment.

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

My work schedule is very hectic and often, as with the nature of any large operation, there can be unexpected matters that require my attention. No matter how busy my day is, I always make the time each morning to assist them with getting their day started, whether it being getting them ready for school or now dropping them to school – since we have resumed face to face classes. As mentioned, during work hours I stick to a scheduled to ensure that I am covering my tasks efficiently. In the evenings. I revert to the 'daddy role' and I help them with homework and getting ready for bed. We end each day with a story and a prayer and this also helps me to relax and unwind from a busy day.

How would you describe yourself now as a dad, compared to the man you were in 2019?
Now as a dad, I'm definitely more attached. I feel a deeper connection with my children having spent a lot of time with them during the pandemic and this has also taught me to be more patient. Seeing my children continue to grow into their personalities has also been very rewarding.

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

Professionally, it's definitely working from home and trying to balance the children doing school from home. Additionally, I also have had to become very selective with my social interactions because I know it can negatively impact my family with COVID still being present.

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

Like many other fathers out there, I embrace and understand how integral I am to my children's happiness. I think once you do that, it automatically makes you devoted and dedicated. I have also taken a lot of lessons from my own father, the main one being to always let kids be kids. Fatherhood, for me, is definitely the most important role I will ever hold in my life and I am determined to make the most of it.

 

Damian Whylie, general manager - asset management, Mayberry Investments Limited

Children: Amanda, 18, & Milann, 11

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

From the day my kids were born I had to shift gears. Being a dad is a full-time job that you never leave and you never retire from, as such what I have had to do is work on balance: balance between work and balance between dad. Sometimes one will win out over the other; however, I believe that when I am no longer around if my kids can say my dad was/is always there, I'm good with that.

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 one parenting life lesson that I have taken from the time with my kids is to listen more and talk less. I've learned so much from my daughters just by listening and not talking. Sometimes they just want to share their issues with me, sometimes it's advice. The best lesson I've learned is to listen first and talk later.

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

My daily work schedule can be hectic sometimes; my kids are hectic all the time, so technology actually helps me keep up with both. My daughters are both very tech savvy so if it's a matter of communication then there is always phone/message/video chat. I never go a day without telling them I love them or without talking to them. Like I said, balance is necessary.

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

I'm a lot calmer; 2020 slowed everyone and everything down and it was no different for me. As a result, that's when I realised listening to my kids was an amazing talent that I didn't have – I was always trying to “fix” the problem. Now I listen to the problem and allow them to fix it with a little daddy advice here or there.

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

Adjusting to the new normal of no face-to-face. In my professional life, human interaction was/is an essential part, so adjusting to a virtual life was a challenge. It was no different from being a dad, only that the kids were always around. Their demands on time grew and I became more of an Uber driver because that's how they needed to get around.

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

I would say the thing that makes me qualified to be described as a dedicated and devoted dad is that I am very protective, affectionate and encouraging, while not being a pushover for them. I try to be as encouraging as possible and I try to listen more than I speak. Lastly, I try to just be present for them, even if they don't want to talk or interact with me. Just being there, I think, is very important.

READ:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 4

 

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