Meeting professionals are very busy people who have to juggle many work-related responsibilities. Many people in this profession also hold the title of Dad. With Father’s Day on Sunday, let’s take a closer look at how dads can cope with and overcome the challenges associated with planning fabulous events while raising a family.
“When big events pop-up, event professionals will often focus the majority of their attention and emotional bank account on the particular project at hand. This could cause family to become upset if they don’t understand timelines or milestones for these kinds of projects,” Danna Schwerdt, a creative marketing specialist at Ungerboeck Software International in St. Louis, wrote in a February 2016 blog post. “It’s even possible for them to become jealous of the attention work receives.” Besides stressing the importance of communication, other solutions Schwerdt suggests are enlisting the help of your children by assigning them simple tasks such as alphabetizing name tags and stuffing swag bags.
The struggle of finding work/life balance is not unique to the event and meeting industry. Many careers take parents away from home for conferences, interviews, speaking engagements and more. Over the years, several notable household names have spoken out about their personal views on this hot-button issue.
Jimmy Kimmel says: Trust your team
Every parent hopes and prays for a perfectly healthy baby, but sadly not everyone is so lucky. Some families are forced to put everything else on hold, work included, to tend to a sick child, especially in an emergency situation. Talk show host Jimmy Kimmel put family first and took an unexpected weeklong paternity leave in May 2017 to spend quality time with his newborn son Billy, who was born with a heart defect. His celebrity friends rallied behind him and stepped in as guest hosts. That is why, as a meeting professional, it is important to assemble a strong team you can rely on to take on additional responsibilities in a time of dire need. After his brief hiatus, Kimmel soon resumed his late night duties before heading home for overnight diaper duty.
I am thankful to love and be loved by these two brave guys. Both criers. pic.twitter.com/NL0C3K3Q4E
— Molly McNearney (@mollymcnearney) May 2, 2017
Robert E. Kelly says: Expect the unexpected
Some meeting professionals have the luxury of working remotely from home, but this arrangement can pose unique challenges. BBC contributor Dr. Robert E. Kelly learned this lesson the hard way when his young daughter and son crashed his live television interview in a now-viral video clip. Many working parents can relate to the unexpected interruption.
“My real life sort of punched through the fake cover I had created for television. Right, there I am in my suit delivering my talking points or whatever and then suddenly reality bursts in,” he said at a press conference at Pusan National University in South Korea on March 15, 2017. “That’s my sense of why this is so resonant.” He admitted he was afraid the incident would destroy his career, but it’s instead given his entire family their 15 minutes of fame and serves as a testament to all working parents that kids can be unpredictable.
Mark Zuckerberg says: Take time off
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg became a posterchild for paternity leave when he announced, on where else but Facebook, his intent to take time off following the birth of his daughter. As the leader of a major global company, this proclamation set a new precedent for parents of any gender. He felt it was important to temporarily step aside and entrust his company to others while he focused on nurturing his new bundle of joy.
“This is a very personal decision, and I’ve decided to take 2 months of paternity leave when our daughter arrives,” he posted in November 2015. “Studies show that when working parents take time to be with their newborns, outcomes are better for the children and families. At Facebook we offer our US employees up to 4 months of paid maternity or paternity leave which they can take throughout the year.”
President Barack Obama says: Choose quality over quantity
While in office, President Barack Obama was a busy man with a hectic travel and meeting schedule. His own father was absent from his life since a young age, so Obama made a conscious effort to be as present as possible in the upbringing of his two daughters.
“My job has kept me away from home more often than I liked, and the burden of raising two young girls would sometimes fall too heavily on Michelle,” he said in his Father’s Day address in June 2011. “More important than the quantity of hours we spend with them is the quality of those hours. Maybe it’s just asking about their day, or talking a walk together, but the smallest moments can have the biggest impact.”