Thursday, 02 September 2021 01:34

Part 3: IT execs share the best pieces of advice Dad gave them and its impact in honour of Father's Day 2021 Featured

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The third in our series of articles featuring IT executives and the great advice their father gave them in life, as well as lessons they've learned from fatherhood (and have applied to their IT careers) is here, and this time, I'm very happy to see a woman, Lisa Teh, making a contribution about her father!

Earlier this year, iTWire ran an article celebrating International Women's Day and female leaders in tech and IT execs sharing great advice their mums gave them.

Earlier this week, we did the same for IT execs celebrating their fathers, fatherhood, great advice they had received, and more in a part 1 article, a part 2 article and a part 4 article here.

This year, Father's Day is on Sunday, September 5, and as we did with International Women's Day, we'll also have content celebrating International Men's Day on Friday, November 19, in mid-November.

As noted in the other two articles, we put out a call stating it would be great to hear from fathers, along with men and women in the world of tech, and we asked the questions below.

Here are the questions:

Q1. What lessons did you learn from your father, or the fathers of others in your life, that have helped you get to where you are today?

Q2. If you are a father, what lessons has fatherhood taught you that you've been able to apply to the world of IT and business?

Q3. How has the COVID crisis and modern technology shaped how you've had to juggle fatherhood, work and family?

Q4. What advice do you have for other fathers on how tech has helped you to be a better father?

Q5. What do you wish technology could do, but isn't yet doing, that could help you to be a better father?

Q6. Do you have some good questions you think should be asked KAAof fathers that I can ask others also contributing to this article?

Question 2 was asked “if you are a father” because I was leaving the option open, in the spirit of inclusivity, for women, and men who aren’t fathers, or fathers yet, to reflect on lessons their fathers had taught them, or lessons they had learned from other fathers, but only fathers responded, which seems to be the most appropriate thing for Father’s Day anyway - but I didn’t want to leave anyone out if they wanted to make a contribution - and it's great to see that in Part 3, Lisa Teh, who you'll read about below, has a made a welcome contribution!

With Question 6, I didn't get a chance to ask this question of the other respondents, however, the questions offered up are good for our own reflection, and we can answer all of these questions for ourselves.

I also asked the respondents to feel free to answer as many or as few of the questions as they wanted, and as noted, this article has been split into two parts because of the volume and quality of responses.

So, in part three, we are hearing from the following IT executives, fathers and a daughter, Lisa Teh, sorted by first name alphabetic order:

1. Dean Vocisano, Country Manager for Australia at ShopFully
2. Eamonn Hughes, Director Customer Success for APJ at Rackspace Technology
3. Joel Camissar, Senior Director, Channels, Alliances and Cloud for Asia Pacific at McAfee Enterprise
4. Lisa Teh, digital entrepreneur and co-founder of global online mentoring platform Lisnic
5. Mike Featherstone, Managing Director for the APAC Region of Pluralsight

Here we go:

1. Dean Vocisano, Country Manager for Australia at ShopFully

Q1: If you are a father, what lessons has fatherhood taught you that you've been able to apply to the world of IT and business?

“No matter the situation, honest is the best policy. Watching children so openly tell the truth—regardless of the consequences—is something we can all apply to both business and life. Too often, we overlook a huge amount of learning and development out of fear. Don’t forgo growth over a confronting conversation with a peer, a client or a manager.”

Q2: How has the COVID crisis and modern technology shaped how you've had to juggle fatherhood, work and family?

“Working from home with two kids is tough. You’ll always see me with my Apple AirPods in ear while trying to calm an upset child; speaking on a Google Meet call with kids running in the background is the new normal; and an Apple Watch attached to my wrist means I never miss an important call, even while trying to get the kids to eat lunch. If the pandemic were to have happened even five years ago, the ability to balance all of these things would have been near impossible. Technology is what has allowed us to adapt, and it’s what will ensure we continue to evolve and maintain the ‘new normal’—a work and home life that operates under the same roof.”

Q3: What advice do you have for other fathers on how tech has helped you to be a better father?

“You are always connected and available when needed but, technology also allows us to know just how urgent things are. An email you see come through on your phone—think, can it wait? The phone call you see on your watch—is it just a casual chat or an important client conversation that needs to be had? Technology allows you to balance work and fatherhood; being simultaneously present in both has become almost second nature.”

2. Eamonn Hughes, Director Customer Success for APJ at Rackspace Technology

Q1: What lessons did you learn from your father, or the fathers of others in your life, that have helped you get to where you are today?

“Don’t worry about the things you cannot change.”

Q2: If you are a father, what lessons has fatherhood taught you that you've been able to apply to the world of IT and business?

“Children have been a cure for perfection! I couldn’t count the number of times I have had to adjust plans, but I am now more adaptable in my approach both at home and at work.”

Q3: How has the COVID crisis and modern technology shaped how you've had to juggle fatherhood, work and family?

“It’s changed how I view work and family. You can really work from anywhere—we have the technology and capability to be present from any location. I also believe the playful sounds of kids in the background is the new white noise.”

Q4: What advice do you have for other fathers on how tech has helped you to be a better father?

“I use technology to communicate with my kids in different ways. For example, I will have a FaceTime call with them (yes, we are in the same house) or drop-in using Alexa. Using different ways and technologies to communicate can break the monotony and re-engage during a tough moment.”

Q5: What do you wish technology could do, but isn't yet doing, that could help you to be a better father?

“A robot vacuum cleaner that can pick up kids toys, then vacuum—now that would be next level! Technology such as tablets, phones and emails are there 24*7. For me, the better ‘father challenge’ is to figure out how to get away from the technology and be more present in my kids’ lives.”

3. Joel Camissar, Senior Director, Channels, Alliances and Cloud for Asia Pacific at McAfee Enterprise

Q1: How has the COVID crisis and modern technology shaped how you've had to juggle fatherhood, work and family?

“COVID has created as many challenges as it has opportunities when it comes to juggling familial and work responsibilities.

"With remote working becoming the norm and technology enabling communication and collaboration at any time, from anywhere, it’s now expected that we’re available for more hours of the day. I, therefore, need to be more rigorous in establishing boundaries between work and family time at home. For example, I ensure that my calendar is blocked out and no meetings can be scheduled at dinner time and when I have my afternoon check-in with my kids after they’ve finished their online learning.

"On the flip side, technology has allowed me to have a closer learning partnership with my kids’ teachers and helped me better support my children’s schooling. I’m enjoying using applications like Google Classroom, Microsoft Teams, and See-Saw, which let me view my boys’ assignments and see their teachers’ feedback in real-time.

"Finally, being a member of the Jewish faith, I observe our Sabbath—which after a week of virtual Zoom meetings, means a complete, 25-hour tech detox at the end of the week. It’s a fantastic opportunity to connect with my family without screens and apps getting in the way, with some of our best family moments happening during this time.”

4. Lisa Teh, digital entrepreneur and co-founder of global online mentoring platform Lisnic

 

The second photo features Lisa as a youngster, with her father.

My work ethic, without a doubt, is one of the biggest lessons I learned from my dad. From a young age I saw both my parents work really hard. They both came to Australia with very little and did a lot, so my brother and I could enjoy a life here. Entrepreneur life looks glamourous but it's really hard work, so without having that work ethic instilled in me from a young age, I wouldn't be able to do what I do today.

"I learned a lot of patience from dad, too, which has helped me in the business world. I was not great at maths when I was younger (I still struggle! Haha!) and my dad would always take as long as I needed to run through my maths homework with me, explaining the concepts in a million different ways until I understood. I always try to be as patient as I can when explaining new concepts to people as I know sometimes you just have to try and say it in a different way at it might suddenly click for them!

"Both him and my mum taught me the importance of being a good human and caring for those around you. My dad would drop anything to come help me change a lightbulb when I moved out of home, pick me up from the airport in the dead of night and take me to swimming training every week at the ungodly hour of 6am. I never once heard him complain.

"Modern technology has made it hard to switch off from work while in lockdown. I had to set up my work station in a room where I couldn't see it once I shut the door at night or I would always be thinking about it. I'm still trying to find this balance between work and life because I'm lucky to love what I do, but I'm trying!

"Despite the physical distance, my family has a WhatsApp group where we keep each other up to date with what's happening in each other's lives. This has been great particularly during the pandemic as we haven't been able to see each other. My brother actually just had a baby so FaceTime has also come in handy!

"If there was one thing I wish technology could do… teleportation! It would be nice to be able to teleport anywhere in a nanosecond to see your loved ones!".

5. Mike Featherstone, Managing Director for the APAC Region of Pluralsight

Q1: What lessons did you learn from your father, or the fathers of others in your life, that have helped you get to where you are today?

“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 organisational 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.”

Q2: If you are a father, what lessons has fatherhood taught you that you've been able to apply to the world of IT and business?

“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.”

Q3: How has the COVID crisis and modern technology shaped how you've had to juggle fatherhood, work and family?

“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.”

Q4: What advice do you have for other fathers on how tech has helped you to be a better father?

“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.”

Q5: What do you wish technology could do, but isn't yet doing, that could help you to be a better father?

“Help a bit more with balancing the tech world with the physical world. There are examples of this but all seem nascent--meditation apps, health apps, and similar things. This kind of technology is great but I need to figure out how to better incorporate it into my own parenting day-to-day as best I can to help drive both mental and physical health for my children as they continue to grow up.”

Please read the part 1 article, the part 2 article and the part 4 article of this series!

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

Alex Zaharov-Reutt is iTWire's Technology Editor is one of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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