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Let’s Talk: Fatherhood – reflections, insights and dad jokes

As we struggle through a wave of uncertainty, we need to remember what’s important. Dynamic Business moves the spotlight from business achievements to the handing down of wisdom, pandemic parental hacks and dad jokes, in time to celebrate Father’s Day.

Dr Eamonn McCarthy, CEO of Lighthouse Foundation

What is the best life advice that your father has given you?

That every person, regardless of their background or position in life, should be treated with the same level of respect and dignity. I’ve carried this with me throughout my career- particularly while working with vulnerable youth, whose challenging childhood experiences could have only ever added to my respect for them regardless of their presentation or behaviour.

What is the best business advice that your father has given you?

To take in all the advice, suggestions and expertise from those with more ‘business experience’ than you have, but never at the cost of your own authenticity. It’s always possible to incorporate both. 

What advice do you want to pass onto your children?

What my father passed along to me really- don’t ever make assumptions about a person, ‘who they are’ or what they have to contribute. Everyone deserves respect and dignity, and this should not be given out in different portions according to status or personal preference. 

Do you have any lockdown parenting hacks?

My hack is the same ‘circle of care’ philosophy that we follow here at Lighthouse Foundation- to make sure that you’re as mindful of your own mental health and wellbeing, as you are of everyone else’s in the family. Like our Lighthouse carers, if parents forget to focus on their own self-care, it’s going to become increasingly difficult for them to give quality care to others. So, try to be conscious of this during lockdown and most importantly, be kind to yourself.  

The Royal Children’s Hospital have just released a fantastic webinar that focuses on helping parents protect their children’s mental health during lockdown. It’s definitely worth a watch in my opinion.

How are you planning on celebrating Father’s Day?

Not too dissimilar from all the other Melbourne dads out there this year- we’ll be celebrating at home. My silver lining this year will be some uninterrupted family time with my amazing wife and my beautiful 6 and 3 year-old daughters.

What’s your best dad joke?

Do you want to hear a dirty joke? … A boy fell in the mud. 

What’s long, brown and sticky? …. A stick.

Although, I think the real joke here is those are the best I could come up with.

Jonathan Moody, CEO and founder, Physio Inq

What is the best life advice that your father has given you?

Best advice my dad (Keith) has ever given to me has been through his actions mostly! Dad was always a strong father figure, who had a great balance of discipline and fun in the household. He was relentless in helping out with sport and demonstrating that one of the most powerful ways you can love your family is by showing, not just telling. He wasn’t the most outwardly emotional person but would demonstrate his love by being involved. 

What is the best business advice that your father has given you?

Be confident in your decision making and be assertive with an understanding of balancing people’s competing desires.  

What advice do you want to pass onto your children?

Experience as much as you can, never pass up an opportunity for a new experience.

Do you have any lockdown parenting hacks?

Children need exercise, the saying ‘a tired child is a happy child’ is never more true than in lockdown. Getting out first thing in the morning makes the school day go well, in the afternoon it makes the evening dinner and bedtime go smoother. Without exercise, lockdown is just a diabolical disaster.

How are you planning on celebrating Father’s Day?

One thing I have really learned through Covid is to enjoy the simple things. This might mean waking up, having bacon and eggs with my darling Emily and the kids, as well as a morning walk to the park has been a blessing. Hopefully, the weather means this is how I can enjoy Father’s Day this year. Either that or play arcades on our new retro arcade machine. The boys love it!

What’s your best dad joke?

A grasshopper walks into a bar. The bartender says, “We have a drink named after you”. The grasshopper replies “What, Kevin?”

Nick Browne, Co-founder and Director, Jameson Capital

What is the best life advice that your father has given you?

My father, Jeff, taught me that shortcuts don’t get you anywhere in business and life. Instead, it’s hard work and persistence that pays off.

What is the best business advice that your father has given you?

The importance of credibility – you only have one shot at this, and once your credibility is gone, you have nothing.

How are you planning on celebrating Father’s Day?

Unfortunately, I won’t be able to see my father or my father-in-law this year as they are both outside of Melbourne. However, I am very lucky to have two young boys that I’m looking forward to spending the weekend with, and we’ll all be calling dad to wish him a happy father’s day as well.  

Aaron Smith, founder, KX Pilates

What is the best life advice that your father has given you?

My father, Peter, taught me that you need to work just as hard (if not harder) on your relationship/marriage than anything else in your life if you want it to be successful. He and my mother have been married for 51 years.

What is the best business advice that your father has given you?

Dad taught me that consistency is the key to success. If you don’t quit, you can’t fail. Some wise words from someone who has been in business for 45 years.

What advice do you want to pass onto your children?

A great lesson for anyone, not my kids, is that you may not have the most talent in the room, but if you are the hardest worker, you will achieve anything you want in life.

Do you have any lockdown parenting hacks?

As a father to three kids, we use screen time such as iPads as a reward, not as a babysitting device. It helps as a motivation to get things done. Just like adults, kids also thrive when they get daily exercise – get out and get adventurous! It then leads to better moods, better sleep and a more enjoyable household.

How are you planning on celebrating Father’s Day?

As we live in Melbourne, it will be like every other Sunday in lockdown at this stage! Spending quality time with my young family; no doubt, with some nicer meals being thrown in.

What’s your best dad joke?

What did the number zero say to the number eight? I like your belt!

Ran Vaingold, co-founder and MD,  Live Verdure and 13 Seeds

What is the best life advice that your father has given you?

My father taught me that if you are on time, then you are late. Always be early and be a step ahead. 

What is the best business advice that your father has given you?

He taught me to always be humble and focus on getting stuff done – these two things will help get you far in life. sHe also taught me the importance of talking to customers: “Engage with them, call them, ask them questions. People love giving feedback and it’s priceless.” 

How are you planning on celebrating Father’s Day?

As my father lives overseas, we’ll be having a Zoom celebration with him. When it come to Father’s Day with my own family, we’ll be enjoying it with a nice home-cooked meal. 

Matej Varhalik, founder and CEO, SpeedFit

What is the best life advice that your father has given you?

Work hard, but always find time for your family. Success without a happy family is not worth it.

What advice do you want to pass onto your children?

Follow your dreams and do not settle for average. I really want them to understand that they can achieve almost anything if they really want it and are willing to put enough work into it.

How are you planning on celebrating Father’s Day?

This year, I am actually getting spoiled. We are heading off to Broome for a long weekend, to enjoy the fact we can travel in WA and can access sunshine in less than 2 hours of flight – so on the beach, with my kids enjoying time off. And as my wife Zuzana is pregnant and we are expecting a 3rd child, it’s a great opportunity to get away before all the hustle with the newborn will start. 

Martin Herbst – CEO of JobAdder

What is the best life advice that your father has given you?

We had a family mantra growing up that I joke about now with my brother and sister: “Herbsts don’t panic.” I think my Dad only said it a couple of times but it stuck with us. The message was clear; always keep a level head, especially in a crisis.

What is the best business advice that your father has given you?

Do your research and focus on what you can control. My father, a former Wall Street banker and small business owner, always did his homework and focussed on finding value.

What advice do you want to pass onto your children?

My father urged careful listening before speaking. I coach my kids about this now.

Do you have any lockdown parenting hacks?

Lockdown has meant less sports and outdoor exercise for our 3 boys, no cleaners for the house, and no meals outside the home in addition to home-schooling duties for my wife and me. It’s a bit much. At the same time, screen time for the boys is always a rare, precious commodity. So we’ve devised a point system that encourages them to do exercise programs, more chores around the house, and more self-driven schoolwork in exchange for screen time minutes. It’s working like a charm and helping keep us parents sane. 

How are you planning on celebrating Father’s Day?

We’ll probably take a bike ride and then play a game of “44 domes” at the local park. Even though our 3 boys are between the ages of 11 and 14 now, they still love being chased.

What’s your best dad joke?

What did the ocean say to the beach? Nothing, it just waved.  

Robert Francis – Australian Managing Director of eToro

What is the best life advice that your father has given you?

I thought that I wanted to follow in his footsteps and become a journalist, but my father asked me what I was passionate about and hence why I’m now doing what I’m doing.

What is the best business advice that your father has given you?

Educate yourself by reading everything you can and to realise that you do not have all the best ideas and that by listening to others you will come up with some great ideas.

How are you planning on celebrating Father’s Day?

Unfortunately, my father is in Perth so I will not be able to celebrate Father’s Day with him due to Covid. It will be lockdown as usual.

What’s your best dad joke?

What do you call a dear with no eyes? No idea!

Drew Haupt – Co-founder of WLTH

What is the best life advice that your father has given you?

Be honest, listen and treat everyone with respect and you’ll go a long way in life.

What is the best business advice that your father has given you?

Trust your instincts

What advice do you want to pass onto your children?

I’ve watched my fair share of Cinderella with my daughter who recently turned 6. A quote from that movie which my daughter and I repeat back to each other almost daily, is ‘Have courage and be kind’

How are you planning on celebrating Father’s Day?

I’m expecting my 3 kids to burst into my room as they do each morning around 6am. I’ll no doubt make them pancakes and if the weather’s right we’ll make our way to the beach for a few hours. We always aim to meet up with my mum and dad with the kids to celebrate later in the day. Dad’s proud to be a grandfather and I get a real kick out of seeing them all together.

What’s your best dad joke?

My kids love this one. We’ve all heard it around our dinner table a thousand times.

Why didn’t the teddy bear eat dessert?
Because it was stuffed!

Drew Usher, Strategy Director, Hotwire

What is the best life advice that your father has given you?

If a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing well.

What advice do you want to pass onto your children?

I remember my father once said to me that regardless of your strengths or successes, your personality will carry you everywhere. So be a nice person, to every person, regardless of their position, or your own.

Do you have any lockdown parenting hacks?

 I have two sons—four and two years old—who like most kids that age, believe they are Avengers (Spiderman and Captain America, respectively). Spiderman has been misbehaving at daycare, calling the teachers names and throwing things around, so I explained that the “Real Spiderman” is a “good guy” who saves people from “bad guys” who throw things around and call people names. I asked him to make a choice: are you Spiderman or the Bad Man. Guess who he chose? And his behaviour has changed too! This week at least.

How are you planning on celebrating Father’s Day?

 My boys have told me tonight that they are going to make me breakfast for dinner, and they are going to make me some new tools. So, not sure what that means but it will be… hmmm, interesting!

What’s your best dad joke?

My wife asked me to stop singing Oasis’ “Wonderwall”. I said “maybe…” (that’s one for the English readers, I’m afraid).

Eamonn Hughes, Director Customer Success for APJ, Rackspace Technology

What is the best life advice that your father has given you? 

It’s not so much life advice but growing up, Dad’s belief in us that we could do anything—he always knew we could do it, work for it and achieve whatever it is we dreamt of.

What advice do you want to pass onto your children?

Don’t worry about the things you cannot change.

Do you have any lockdown parenting hacks?

We use affirmation quotes to get our kids off to a positive start. Even if we’re all exhausted from the day before and don’t feel like it, we make a conscious effort to start the day with optimism. These simple positive statements have become so important to set each of our days up for success.

How are you planning on celebrating Father’s Day?

 We’re picking up a takeaway breakfast hamper from our local cafe and joining in on a couple of ‘virtual’ catchups with the grandparents.

What’s your best dad joke?

As the kids were growing up and rushing to school, I would get… “Dad, can you put my shoes on?” and I would reply, “no, I don’t think they would fit me”, to groans.

Dean Vocisano, Country Manager for Australia, ShopFully

What is the best life advice that your father has given you?

“Money might be what feels like happiness, but family is happiness—always find balance.”

What advice do you want to pass onto your children?

“Never take the small things in life for granted. You don’t know when these small things will no longer be around for you to enjoy.”

Do you have any lockdown parenting hacks?

“I’ve learnt how to negotiate with an almost 4-year old. The secret? Let him do whatever he wants! I’d be lying if I said I’ve found any sort of ‘hack’ that works every time, however, the more you involve kids in the daily tasks—be it cleaning, cooking baking—the more we, as parents, realise that all they want is our time and attention. My hack isn’t about surviving lockdown with kids, but instead realising what really makes your kids happy.”

How are you planning on celebrating Father’s Day?

“Spending the day laughing and eating with my family is all I could ever want. Oh, and of course, a wine or two!” 

What’s your best dad joke?  

“Mum said I should do lunges to stay in shape, but that would be a big step forward!” As a side hustle, Dean Vocisano, ShopFully’s Country Manager for Australia, owns an F45 gym. 

Fabian Calle, Managing Director small and medium business, SAP Concur Australia and New Zealand 

What is the best life advice that your father has given you? 

Be accountable to every decision I make. If I make a mistake, own it. Consider everything that happens to me is a direct result of my influence at some point along the way. Don’t make excuses about why something didn’t go my way. Also, take time to give some self-praise when I do something well. 

What is the best business advice that your father has given you? 

Not everyone thinks like I do, so be empathetic to understand what motivates people so that they follow and believe in you. 

What advice do you want to pass onto your children? 

We have a simple rule in our house and that’s to be nice to people. My boys are aware that differences make each one of us unique and special. You never truly know what is happening in someone’s life, so treat people with respect. 

Do you have any lockdown parenting hacks? 

I have a 9-year-old and two-year-old who have very different needs. While we have rules in our house, during lockdown I say yes more often than I normally would, when it makes sense. I block out time in my calendar during the day where they have my undivided attention. No phone, no television, maybe some music in the background and/or we head outside. If my two-year-old is asleep for a day nap, my eldest son and I will play a game, of which I have no idea, but he enjoys the fact that I’m invested in something important to him. 

How are you planning on celebrating Father’s Day? 

We will get as much time outside as we can, weather permitting. 

What’s your best dad joke?

How do you count cows? With a COWculator.

Aaron Bassin, CEO, TechLend

What is the best life advice that your father has given you?

The best advice my father has given me is that kindness and generosity go a long way.  He taught me to always see the best in others and to never burn your bridges. At the end of the day, life is too short to not be kind and generous. He also believed in karma; if there was any piece of spoken advice it was: ‘what you give is what you get.’

What is the best business advice that your father has given you?

My dad taught me a lot over the years but if there was one piece of business advice that stood out it would be, “don’t be afraid to take risk while you are young”.  For me, this has translated to making the leap of faith and taking on the risk of starting my own business. Big risk leads to big reward and if I don’t take the risk, I don’t get to drink the champagne. This has kept me motivated throughout my career and still holds true in my decision-making when expanding, growing, and acquiring in my business.

What advice do you want to pass onto your children?

To never be afraid to ask questions because if you don’t ask, you don’t know.  In fact, ask as many questions to as many people as you can because knowledge is everything and curiosity is what sparks our imagination.  Creativity which can lead to incredible things.

Do you have any lockdown parenting hacks?

Activities are a great way to pass the time and keep your kids away from their computer screens. We like to play the classic hide and seek in my house. Hours seem to fly by and it’s a great way to bond with your loved ones.

How are you planning on celebrating Father’s Day?

We plan on going for a nice, relaxing walk in the park with the dogs and family (whilst socially distanced of course) and then stop by our favourite bakery on the way home to grab some fresh croissants for brunch.

What’s your best dad joke?

When does a joke become a dad joke? When it becomes apparent. 

A novice farmer walks into a pet store and purchases a dozen bees. The store clerk carefully counts 13 bees out onto the counter. “That’s one too many!” says the farmer, looking somewhat confused. The clerk replies, “It’s a freebie.”  

Stuart Hislop, GM, AMR

What is the best business advice that your father has given you?

My father was a career soldier, and, as you can probably imagine, lived a very organised, regimented life as a result. When it came to offering life advice, it was usually based around how to present yourself to gain trust from others. In any given situation, being punctual and organised will arm you with a heightened level of trust from the people around you, and will allow you to achieve that much more.

Similar to his general life advice, most of my father’s career tips were based around being regimented and presenting yourself well. He’d emphasise the importance once again of presenting yourself well by being organised and prompt. This, he would say, gives people the confidence to trust that they’re doing business with the right person.

What advice do you want to pass onto your children?

When I became a father, my whole outlook on life changed. I went from taking each day as it came without considering long-term consequences – to approaching all things with an understanding that I’m simply part of a larger picture. I’ve come to understand that the actions I make day to day can and will impact those around me. This shift in my psyche has made such a positive impact on my life and I’ve made a conscious effort to pass this way of thinking down to my children at an early age.

Do you have any lockdown parenting hacks?Like so many other parents in this country, the onset of lockdown and restrictions actually increased my workload at home. Homeschooling two children while working full time is no easy feat! However, technology has been my biggest saving grace. Certain platforms and tools have allowed me to manage my professional time more effectively, and, as a result, spend much more valuable time with my children. 

How are you planning on celebrating Father’s Day?

I’m hoping to watch the EPL football highlights with an egg and arvo brekky. Then spend the day at a lockdown location with lunch at Curl Curl Beach walking the dog, surfing and swimming with the wife and kids. It will be a no-device day finished off with garden camp-fire, barbecue and a nice drop of red wine. Perfect day!

What’s your best dad joke?
I used to be addicted to the hokey-pokey – but then I turned myself around!

Joseph Lyons, Managing Director, Xero Australia and Asia 

What is the best life advice that your father has given you?

My Dad used to say to me, “You’ve got two ears and one mouth – use them in that proportion.” Later in life, I learned this was a riff off a quote from a Greek philosopher who said, “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” Whether you prefer the original or my Dad’s version, there’s a great lesson in there. 

What is the best business advice that your father has given you?

My dear old dad passed away a little while ago, although his business advice that’s stuck with me through the years is, “Always finish what you start.” He also used to say, “It’s better to know a little about a lot than to know a lot about a little.”

What advice do you want to pass onto your children?

I have three children; my eldest son is 14, and my two daughters are 10 and eight years old. If I could help each of them to follow their passion and figure out what brings them joy in life, I’d be a happy man. 

Do you have any lockdown parenting hacks?

My family sits down to dinner every night together. It’s something we really treasure during lockdowns, as our usually busy schedules don’t always allow us that time together. Although our days can feel somewhat repetitive with stay-at-home restrictions in place, we make a point of focusing on the positives by each sharing one thing that we’re grateful for and what we learned in our day. There are no screens at the dinner table; it’s just us coming together as a family. 

How are you planning on celebrating Father’s Day?

I’ll be spending Father’s Day at home this year, as will many other families who are experiencing lockdowns. Although, we’ll be sure to make the most of it. We’ve ordered a ‘Father’s Day Feast’ from a local small business in Brunswick West called Postmistress. I’m really looking forward to it. 

What’s your best dad joke?

What did the police officer say to his belly button? You’re under a vest. 

Michael Boyle, Managing Director, HP Australia and New Zealand 

What is the best life advice that your father has given you?

My dad is passionate about learning and being constantly curious of the world around us. While growing up he, often reminded me that “with wisdom, which takes time, comes success”. It’s this love of knowledge that I’ve embedded in my own life, and something I continually reiterate as the key to success – both personally and professionally.

What advice do you want to pass onto your children?

Something I’ve strived to instill into my teenage twin daughters is that it is what you do in life when no one else is watching, that truly makes a difference. This will set them apart from others and ensure they lead and act with their values, ethics and self-respect.

Do you have any lockdown parenting hacks?

My top lockdown parenting hack is to cherish the time you have together. Both of my girls are about to start their final schooling year and soon they won’t be at home at all. I make the most of lunchtime by stepping away from my screen and sitting outside with them to discuss our days and long dinners chatting with each other. It’s honestly been the highlight of my lockdown.  

How are you planning on celebrating Father’s Day?

I feel really lucky to be able to spend this Father’s Day with my wife and two daughters, enjoying a long BBQ lunch, listening to some of my favourite albums (too many to mention), and playing the guitar and drums.

What’s your best dad joke?

Why was ‘beef stew’ not used as a computer password? Because it was not strong-anoff.”

Stephen Crispe, CEO, Racing and Sports

What is the best life advice that your father has given you?

There’s nothing to beat out there, run your own race.

What is the best business advice that your father has given you?

Start every deal with a handshake!

What advice do you want to pass onto your children?

Don’t be scared of failure, be scared of not having the courage to try. 

Always leave the house with a clean kitchen!

Do you have any lockdown parenting hacks?

Play creative roll-playing games with the kids. My 3 year-old son often wants to play ‘shop-keepers’ or ‘doctors’. He comes up with these amazing, and often entertaining, scenarios that he wants my wife and I to participate in. Like ‘Meowie’ (a toy fluffy cat) has broken her leg and needs urgent surgery, we do the surgery at my desk, bandage her up, and manage her recovery.  In doing this he gets quite invested and loves to problem solve!  What’s also great is that my wife and I can usually get work done while playing along, if not for a little walk around the house occasionally, while we go to his shop!

How are you planning on celebrating Father’s Day?

Hopefully sleeping in, watching a (likely trashy) action movie, and ordering dinner from Akiba (a hit Canberran Asian-fusion restaurant)

What’s your best dad joke?

There are just so many! 

Why shouldn’t you brush your teeth with your left hand? 

Because a toothbrush is better! (boom-ching)

Dr James Fielding, co-founder & CEO, Audeara

What is the best life advice that your father has given you?

Billionaire or beggar – never underestimate someone’s strength or fear because of how they look. Illness is a great equaliser of people. 

What is the best business advice that your father has given you?

Never let them see you sweat. Never rush. Always know who they are as a person. It’s okay to not be intimidated by things that other people will find hard.  

What advice do you want to pass onto your children?

Be strong, clever and kind. The future will be led by people who can make genuine connections with other people. 

Do you have any lockdown parenting hacks?

 Freedom to make a mess unlocks unending activities that can last all day. Active and sane takes priority over clean every single time. 

How are you planning on celebrating Father’s Day?

Every day is Fathers’ Day for me. If Fathers’ Day is like every other Sunday I’ll be thrilled.  

What’s your best dad joke

Can you put my shoes on?

Sorry, no chance they’ll fit me. 

Dario Valenza, Founder & CTO, Carbonix

What is the best life advice that your father has given you?

When you find yourself out of your comfort zone, double down and raise your game.

Read, ask, acquire knowledge, practice, perform.  Try, evaluate, improve.

What is the best business advice that your father has given you?

Always ask yourself what value you are providing for the customer. What problem of theirs are you solving, and how important is it for them?

What advice do you want to pass onto your children?

Be curious.  The world is more interesting than you can possibly imagine.

Do you have any lockdown parenting hacks?

Don’t watch the news.

How are you planning on celebrating Father’s Day?

Tinkering in the garage with my son.

What’s your best dad joke?

There are 10 types of people in the world: Those who understand binary, and those that don’t!

Jason Waller, CEO and managing director of InteliCare

What is the best life advice that your father has given you?

It’s not so much advice, but his behaviour. My dad clearly adores my mum and that shines through to a lot of his values and the way he lives his life. I try to emulate that because I think that happiness underpins everything else I do, especially how I feel about myself and the balance with work.

What is the best business advice that your father has given you?

Build relationships. My dad is a real people person. He is one of those blokes that makes it look easy. I don’t have quite that same flair and have to try harder, but he’s my role model.

What advice do you want to pass onto your children?

Experiment and learn to respond to failure. If you get everything right the first time, every time. That’s just dumb luck. Like flipping heads five times in a row. So, to learn and iterate you need to experiment off a hypothesis. That means, at times, it won’t work out. Your response from there, emotionally, needs to be resilient and intellectual.

Do you have any lockdown parenting hacks?

Move to WA? We haven’t had much of a lock down here and, to be honest, for us it was a positive experience because our teenage adults were more present. It would be wrong of me to proffer advice to those with younger kids, managing schooling and work, for much longer periods.

How are you planning on celebrating Father’s Day?

With lazy gusto.

What’s your best dad joke?

At dinner, whenever someone accidentally knocks a pea off their plate, point to it and say “What’s that?”. No matter their response, say “An esca-pee”. Cue the groans.

 Dipra Ray, CEO of Springday and mPort

What is the best life advice that your father has given you?

​That money isn’t the be all and end all of life. My father had a very successful career in India but chose to “retire” early to migrate to NZ to give us a better quality of life. No doubt that financially we could have been much better off in India. It’s a decision that I’ll be eternally grateful for.    

What is the best business advice that your father has given you?

I’ve had lots of business advice from my father as he runs a small business himself. Probably the best and most important piece of advice I’ve been given is to not glorify how good business may be. ​Since I was young, my father taught me that business isn’t easy and that there are both good times and bad times and it is a real rollercoaster. To be successful in business you have to be resilient and not let either the wins or losses get to you too much.   

What advice do you want to pass onto your children?

That life is not a competition and there is no one recipe / path for success. I’d encourage my children to do whatever they wish in life as long as they do it very well. Ideally, they would work in a way that would make a difference to people’s lives as well. 

Do you have any lockdown parenting hacks?

I’m a relatively new parent (few weeks in!) so my only advice for new parents is to provide some time off to the other parent. We’ve found that giving each other a break from looking after our newborn (even for a couple of hours) helps to reset and re-energise. During that time off, it’s also really important for the parent taking the time off not to feel guilty!  

How are you planning on celebrating Father’s Day?

Most likely like any other weekend given lockdown, though this one I’ll be reflecting on how lucky I am to have become a dad and to have the beautiful daughter I do!

What’s your best dad joke?

Well every joke I make now is a dad joke so it’s hard to pick one, however… when my wife went into labour, I said that she become a lawyer given she was having so much experience in “contract”ing. She didn’t quite appreciate the joke…

Lance Goodman, co-founder and co-CEO, Compare Club

What is the best life advice that your father has given you?

Find something to be passionate about, whether that’s work or a hobby. My dad loved repairing cars and I’ve got very fond memories of spending weekends with him rebuilding a 1949 Lancia Appia and being shown how to tighten the nuts and the bolts underneath the vehicle. What really struck me was the satisfaction and joy we both got from this, and this has really stuck with me. I’m lucky to love what I do and have a team around me that shares that passion.

What is the best business advice that your father has given you?

This isn’t so much advice, but more of an attitude. My dad was a really hard worker and always put a lot of commitment into what he did. I’d like to think that I’ve picked up those traits.

What advice do you want to pass onto your children?

I really love the Jim Collins ‘hedgehog concept’ from his book Good To Great which says that if you can find something that you are passionate about, you have the capability to be great at it, and if you can figure out a way to make money from it, you are likely to be successful at it.  For me, the key journey in life, and finding happiness, is learning and growing from each experience we have to find what our own hedgehog is.

Do you have any lockdown parenting hacks?

Hone your negotiation skills! A little bit of trust mixed with reward and a little bit of compromise can work wonders.

How are you planning on celebrating Father’s Day?

It’s definitely going to be a different Father’s Day, that’s for sure. But some things won’t change: switching off from work and focusing on enjoying spending time together. Hopefully the weather holds and we can have a family meal out on the deck.

What’s your best dad joke?

Did you hear about the scarecrow who won an award? He was out standing in his field.

James Dutton, CEO and Founder, Nutricare

What is the best business advice your father has given you?

The best business advice that my father has given me is “perseverance, perseverance, perseverance. I try to instil this in my children, too – if they persevere, and try not to waste time and energy on what other people think of them, they can reach great heights. 

Do you have any lockdown parenting hacks?

In the best of times, parenting is a mix of hurricane and mild wind. You have to be light on your feet, but with an open mind and open arms you can accomplish more than you ever thought you would. Throw a global pandemic and spontaneous lockdowns in the mix and the juggling act requires extra skill, determination, focus and a whole lot of fun somewhere in the middle. The biggest skill to learn (and fast) as a parent during lockdown is to learn the flow of it all and have discipline in not getting too caught up building the future, when parenting is all about the ‘now’. Also, I would highly suggest getting a dog (if possible). We got a gorgeous Maremma during the last lockdown and she has brought us so much laughter in dull moments, got us off our butts and out doing exercise, and douses us in love when the weight of the world weighs in.

Nathan Knight, Managing Director for ANZ, Lenovo Infrastructure Solutions Group

How are you planning on celebrating Father’s Day?

With lockdown in Sydney in full force, my daughters will be joining me in firing up our Treager grill and perfecting our Northern Beaches smoked brisket—the meat purchased online using the super-user friendly app Vics Meats. Typically, I’d be working the grill alone, but with everyone at home, I’m looking forward to sharing the experience with the whole family and teaching my girls some tricks of the trade.

Mike Featherstone, Managing Director for the APAC region, Pluralsight

What is the best life lesson that your father has given you? 

One of the most impactful lessons that I remember was about self-awareness. I always had an inclination toward analytical topics but as I was faced with thinking about what to do for my early career, my father really pushed me on whether I wanted to be in a field or in jobs where I would be spending larger portions of my day in front of screens rather than with other people. Quickly I realised that I was happiest when I could figure out some balance of both: spending time building deep analysis to think through issues, but then step out of that and into more people-driven priorities such as organizational structure, leadership, and related skills. Over time that’s meant I’m now a revenue leader and a regional head who has had a background in banking & finance, operations & strategy, M&A, data analytics and other fields, which I feel gives me a very broad set of skills to leverage no matter what role I’m in.

What is the best business lesson that your father has given you ?

I have to give a ton of credit to my wife on this topic. She has made it a priority for our children to be very capable in the world of technology from an early age. My international career has meant that our children have attended primary school in Asia, the US, Europe, and now Australia, and in addition to learning languages, we’ve now given our children opportunities to learn coding from a young age. These kinds of activities related to raising children have shown me the value of getting a breadth of activities going with my leaders and teams. Put differently, rather than spend all day focused 100% on business topics, spend time on other pursuits to make sure the mind is ready to think about new problems from a lot of different perspectives.

Do you have any lockdown parenting hacks? 

For my family and me it’s meant that I get to be around for the small things that happen through the day–walks at lunchtime, checking in on projects, and helping our children solve problems while they’re working through home-based learning programs. It’s given me more time with them during the day as I’ve shuffled my own work schedule to early mornings in order to work more closely with colleagues in the US and Europe. All of this has meant I’ve been able to be much more active and present for these young years, which will go by so quickly.  Tech can provide a safe, challenging space for children to learn, fail, learn again, iterate, and eventually succeed in learning. That feedback loop is nearly immediate, especially in the world of tech learning for foreign languages, maths and related fields, and of course coding and IT of all shapes and sizes. So, the lessons they learn in those contexts can then be discussed at dinnertime, on walks, and in other settings. I see tech enabling the ability to have mature conversations with your children even from a young age, which I believe is critical given how quickly the world changes as the pace of technology adoption speeds up.


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