FATHERS DAY: Corporate dads open up on relationship with their kids

We are used to seeing them in suits and ties, after all, that is the embodiment of a businessman. But what happens when they go home and dress down to spend time with family? We talked to some business leaders about how they plan to spend father’s day and here is what they had to say:

Sammy Muthui - Chief Executive Officer, Minet Kenya

Since this year’s Father’s Day falls on a Sunday I intend to go to church with my family. Of course, I’m expecting some ‘surprise’ cake from them in the morning before we leave for church and a lunch treat afterwardJJ.

Fatherhood is the most important job a man can have and my children and family are my first priority. I strive to create time for them, however busy I might be.

Sometimes I leave the house before the children wake up, in which case I always make a point to see them in the evening to hang out with them and help them with their homework. On days I have evening engagements I always try to rush home first to find out how they are doing before I leave for such events.

As a father, I always ensure that I get involved in their school activities besides the homework such as attending school games, concerts, and parent – teacher consultation forums, among other school activities. I also make sure I create time over the weekends and to go for holidays with them – locally and sometimes abroad. As a family, we are heavy local tourists.

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It’s always in my mind that I’m a father first and CEO second. But being a CEO also means I’m a father to a larger constituency – a father to colleagues I work with, whose well-being may depend on my actions.

All in all, I’m grateful to my wife Janice who has made fatherhood joyous for me.

What are the things you have to do for children every day?

-Check on their well being

-Do homework with them

-Pray with them

Andrew Chimphondah – Chief Executive Officer, Shelter Afrique

I intend to spend my Father's day with my two girls that have played a pivotal role in my life. That is my wife Madinoge and my daughter Tamani.

I have a very challenging job of delivering large scale Affordable Housing to 44 member states. My Job requires that I travel every month to meet the Housing and Finance Ministers and in other countries, The Presidents or Prime Ministers. This is to explain our Country Strategy plans on how we intend to assist them fulfill their housing delivery outcomes or targets. As a result, when in the country, I spend all my time with my family.

As a Father, I read biblical bedtime stories to my daughter every day, as a rule, no matter how busy I become. This is a way of stress management as well because no one can work 24 hours a day. I take my family to Church every Saturday as we are Seventh Day Adventist. I also work out at our home gym with my family 5 days a week. My daughter loves to spend time with me at the gym.

We visit malls for recreation and to play computer games wherein I also try to make my daughter win! We also do walks. In essence, time with my girls is of paramount importance no matter how busy I can get. This is because you can get another job if you lose one, but you can never get another family.

What are the things you have to do for your children every day?

-We work out every day from Monday to Friday at our Gym with my daughter.

-We read bedtime stories every night.

-We always go shopping together as a family.

-We play computer games or watch You-Tube when we are not watching TVs.

-We take the dogs for walks every other day.

Gopher Ogembo. Senior Business Manager, East Africa, HMD Global

I just want to hang out with the Family. It’s going to be my big day in the Kitchen. I can hardly wait to unleash my culinary skills to prepare a sumptuous delicacy they refer to as daddy special.

Of course, I create time for my children even with my busy schedule. With time you realize that the most important things in life are family, friends and memories. It’s about how you create beautiful memories with the people you care most about. These beautiful memories will keep you going in your old age and also keep your legacy alive, long after you are gone. Hence it is important that you nurture them. As a result, Family for me tops the list and more so the kids. When I’m not traveling, I ensure that I create maximum bonding time with them, and when I am away, I have to diligently set some time to call and immerse myself into their world. It about being the present dad and thanks to technology, they can reach me anytime and anywhere.

What are the things you have to do for your children every day?

Morning prayer to build their spiritual foundation, remind them of their goals for the term in order to instil in them the discipline of keeping commitments, help them wade through their daily struggles which could be homework, relations, interests or just information overload. In a nutshell, prep them for the brutal world out there.

William Benthall, Glovo Kenya’s General Manager

My wife is from South America. We have a 4 year old daughter and another on the way. They've been on a trip to Colombia over the past few weeks and get back to Nairobi the evening before Father’s Day. With my wife pregnant and resting after a 30 hour trip, I’ll definitely be looking after our daughter on Father’s Day which will be fun for me.

I love to cook and every Sunday I make a delicious Colombian cheese bread called ‘Pan de Horno’. It’s become a homely routine with my daughter helping to mix (and eat) the ingredients. I’ll try to make this Sunday special, a visit to a friend who has a puppy, a ride on her bike and maybe a haircut in a kids salon which she loves. We’ll also find time to Skype with my dad who lives near London to wish him a Happy Father’s Day.

With 8 hours jet-lag, I’m sure she'll want to chat and play right into the night so I’m expecting a tough Monday morning!

Until a few months ago I was the Africa Director for a strategic development consultancy. I was living in Nairobi but travelling for 2-3 weeks every month, mostly to Nigeria, DRC, Rwanda and Somalia. The work was really rewarding but it was hard to give as much time as I wanted to my family.

I’m now the General Manager for Glovo, a multinational on-demand delivery company that recently raised Ksh 17billion to expand its geographical footprint, including to Kenya. Leading the growth of a new company means the demands on my time have certainly not reduced but it’s fantastic to now be focussed on one market. Last month for the first time in many years I had the refreshing feeling of not having a single flight ticket booked in my name. With this predictability comes opportunities to spend time with my daughter and to make fun and interesting plans.

I decided to move to Glovo as I was fascinated by their customer promise: whatever you need, paid for and delivered from any store or location in the city within 45 minutes. Glovo is a service for people with busy lives who are struggling to find those extra moments to do the things they love, whether that’s spending time with their children, keeping fit at the gym, or having a drink with old friends. I now get to spend more time with family by using the app for errands and shopping, cutting out the energy-sapping time in Nairobi traffic.

What are the things you have to do for your kids every day?

I cook my daughter breakfast every day. It’s usually an egg and a piece of toast with raspberry jam cut into the shape of a heart. I always want her to know that her mum and I love her to the sky. I’m often not home before her bedtime but when I am we will have a good laugh jumping on the bed or dancing before settling down to a bedtime story.

Victor Ndlovu, Visa Country Manager

I plan to spend the day just being around my kids, maybe go out for a meal with them but just relaxing at home.

My children are always a priority for me. At the end of the day we are working to provide a better future for them. At Visa, work life balance is important and hence not only me but all Visa parents I am sure get time to spend with their children. At the end of the day, quality of time spent is more important than quantity of time.

I am particular about at least having one meal with my kids when I am at home and not travelling. That's the time when we sit together as a family and catch up on our day and key activities.

Joel Chacha, Tell-Em PR East Africa General Manager

As usual, I will spend the morning at the driving range with my older son Mio. Then, later on, we’ll have lunch at Norfolk’s Tatu Restaurant. It has the finest cuts of organic meats, fresh seafood and a variety of vegetarian options (which my wife enjoys). The kids can play at the green.

I always make time for my children. I try to ensure I never miss major milestones in their lives. I attended childbirth classes enthusiastically, and I was right beside Agnes when she gave birth to both our sons Mio (4.5 years) and Abbe (8 months old).

Public Relations has changed over the years. Skills like long-form content writing, social media monitoring, and even search engine optimization have all become an integral part of PR campaigns. All of these can effectively be done remotely. Technology has also allowed me to feel connected to both my clients and teams in the office. I’m on clients WhatsApp groups, Webex Meet, BlueJeans, Google Docs constantly, and have used these tools quite frequently for a more personal touch to meetings.

What are the things you have to do for your kids every day?

As a father, my relationship with my children has changed over time as we all grow and mature. Rather than being a static role that one is expected to step into that stays the same throughout our lives, the meaning of being a dad is constantly changing.

-I am their chef - I frequently cook at least 1 meal of the day (dinner). But my wife’s food is the best though.

-I am my son’s chauffeur - I take him to school daily. On weekends, or when I am busy with work my wife occasionally steps in to help. But it’s a role that has been designated to me because my wife has to take care of the little one, Abbe.

-Storyteller - Before they sleep I read them stories. Reading bedtime stories to your kids is probably one of life's most overlooked pleasures but the impact it has on young children is monumental.

Mwenda Thuranira, Founder MySpace Properties

I am a father to two boys. I always create time for them. I make sure that I spend 3 nights in a week with them from 4PM to 6AM. On Sundays, we join a group of daddies – 50 in number- where we play football with our kids.

At home, I play games like chess and talk a lot with my boys. I let them ask me questions. In the mornings, we usually have breakfast together. We also chat on the phone, ride bikes together. Sometimes, I go to business meetings with them.

What advice do you have for dads who rarely have time for their kids?

If you have no time for your kids that means you have no time for yourself. If you are ever absent and you give your kids property or businesses to manage, they will not know how to take care of them. It’s important that fathers teach their children life skills so that they can become better citizens than themselves.

Mike Omuodo – Public Relations Consultant

I’m a proud father to Gabriel and Abigail and I can say I’m one of those lucky dads whose first son’s birthday falls on Father’s Day - June 16. This is a privilege as my fatherhood is celebrated globally. So on this day, I’ll be celebrating my son’s 7th birthday.

As a Public Relations Consultants, sometimes duty calls even on weekends and holidays. Sometimes I have to leave for work early before the children wake up and return late when they are already asleep. Whatever the case, I always try to ensure that they are fine. If I come late, my first stop is always in their bedroom just to make sure they are sleeping well.

I always create time to be with them over the weekends – helping them with their homework, taking them for eat-outs, shopping and sometimes just for a walk in the hood. I also take a keen interest in their school work and extracurricular activities and such I always purpose to attend their school games, parents’ days and concerts, and sometimes call on their teachers to see how they fairing. I also create time to take them for holidays – especially on safaris and beach holidays, which they cherish a lot.

To me, fatherhood is a calling, a divine one as such. God's highest calling for man is to be a husband and a father. So as a father I always strive to be loving, strong, and ever-present for my family. I take time to sing with the children, study the bible with them and pray for and with them. I also create time for them to ask me any questions they might have - and I receive a lot of interesting questions like “can we have our next holidays in Mars”.

There are certain things I must do with my children every day. I pray for and with my them daily, ensure that they finish their homework and in good time, see to it that they are well fed and I must hug them every day.

Anthony Ng'ang'a Associate Brand Director -Commercial Leader - East Africa at Procter &Gamble (P&G)

This Father’s Day is a top-secret event being organized by my 3 daughters (Wangari, Makena and Njeri) with Helen (my wife) keeping a close eye. However, what I know for sure is that it will start with waffles, drizzled with maple syrup, homemade raspberry sauce and Bacon. Later in the day we will go and join the extended family to celebrate the real dads … those that have brought us thus far.

I deliberate carve out time for them on my calendar and I rarely give this time up for anything else. For example, I book all my vacation for the next year based on their school calendar to ensure we spend quality time together. I also have dinner with them and Helen at least 3-4 times during the week.

What are the things you have to do for your kids every day?

There is nothing I have to do for them. I do stuff for them because I love to. I make them breakfast 6 times a week. We also have an evening ritual where we read a story and then share how our days went; what made you happy, what made you sad then we pray before they go to bed at around 1945 hours. I also drop them at school 3 times a week which is always very interesting; depends a lot on how they woke up and if I got the breakfast orders right.

Additional reporting by Fredrick Obura and Steve Mbego.

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