4 Australian business leaders explain the most important lesson their dad taught them

Photo: Modern Family/ IMDb.Happy Father’s Day.

It’s Father’s Day this Sunday.

But when you’re in business, balancing those demands with those of your family brings at extra challenge. To celebrate the relationship between dads and their kids, we asked four Australian executive dads about what they learnt from their father and what they hope to pass on to their kids.

Here’s what they said:

Adam Schwab
Co-Founder and CEO, Luxury Escapes

Two kids: William 3, Isla 1

The Schwabs hit the road

What’s the most important lesson your dad taught you?
Dad wasn’t big on specific lessons but he is incredibly honest and would help anyone and ask nothing in return, hopefully that’s rubbed off on me a bit.

And what do you want to pass on to your kids?
Our kids are still really young but we hope that they become caring and empathetic adults, who use any advantages they have make a contribution to make a really positive society and help those who haven’t had the same lucky start to life.

What’s your biggest challenge in being a parent?
Probably combining a really hectic work life with trying to be around as much as possible, my wife Lesley-Anne has a senior role in our Lux Everyday business and also has a super packed schedule.

And the part that surprised you the most?
Probably the time commitment and the ‘always on’ nature when you’re around the kids – especially when they’re so active and love climbing.

Your best dad joke
I like to think I’m too young to make dad jokes

Sam Raciti
Taxify Country Manager – Australia.

Two kids, aged 2 and 4

Sam and his sons

What’s the most important lesson your dad taught you?
My father taught me how to work with my hands. I spent a lot of holidays working with him as an impromptu electrical apprentice so I like to think I am a bit of a handyman.

And what do you want to pass on to your kids?
Everything and nothing, I want them to be themselves but at the same time would love for our passions to cross over. I would love it if they were into technology for instance.

What’s your biggest challenge in being a parent?

I travel fairly regularly, so the biggest challenge is being present. Technology helps to bridge this gap but sometimes you just want a big hug from your little dudes.

And the part that surprised you the most?
How proud you can be over the smallest things. Basically anything my boys do, I will be the guy in the corner with the big grin saying that’s my kid – loudly – and all he did was go to the toilet.

Your best dad joke
I repeated something today that my Dad did to me once: I called one of our team who was shopping at the hardware store and asked him to bring back a left-handed screwdriver.

Ryan Hanly
CEO & Co-Founder of Travello

Four kids: Lachlan, 10, Ashton, 8, Cooper, 5, & Stella, 2

Ryan and his kids

What’s the most important lesson your dad taught you?
That in the end, time well spent will be what you remember. I don’t really remember what I got for Christmas or Birthdays, but I remember the days spent fishing and at the beach. Quality time is so important.

And what do you want to pass on to your kids?
I just want them to be good, happy people. I think everything else resonates from that. Be nice people and good things happen. In the end, everything you do will be passed on to your kids, so if you’re not demonstrating what you want them to be, it’s not going to happen.

What’s your biggest challenge in being a parent?
I think finding uninterrupted time is becoming more of a challenge and it’s so critical. Dedicating pure time to each of the 4 kids is something that is really important to me and I consciously try to prioritise it over an email or text message – which often means forcing myself to stop staring at my phone!

And the part that surprised you the most?
How much you get to become a child again. Wrestling, playing, laughing and general stupidity are all common-place in our house and I love that. I was on the backyard trampoline for 20 minutes yesterday and it was so fun! You get to relive all that stuff again which is awesome.

Your best dad joke
Knock Knock,
Ipe
Ipe Who (I poo)
Insert Dad line here about pooing!

Anything to do with poo generally gets a good response in our house!

Matthew van der Linden
Managing Director, Flow Power

Six children: Johanna, 23, Daniel, 23, Abigail, 20, Rachel, 17, Patrick, 11, Teresa, 9

Matthew with his eldest son, Daniel

What’s the most important lesson your dad taught you?
To work hard and love your family. A simple lesson but one that’s underpinned much of my working life. As a family business, now with three generations of the van der Linden family on board, a strong family bond is really the backbone of what we do.

And what do you want to pass on to your kids?
One thing I like to think I’ve passed on is the importance of putting others first and having empathy. I hope that they strive to make a difference in the world, no matter what they do or how big or small that difference is.

What’s your biggest challenge in being a parent?
We have a big family so between juggling work and family life, it can be a challenge finding enough time for everything. Making enough time for everyone and being there for the kids when they need it the most has always been a priority, even if it has been hard at times.

And the part that surprised you the most?
How different all of the kids are! From artists to engineers, we’ve got a little bit of everything. Even though they’re all very different, they do all get along very well too.

Your best dad joke
I can’t think of a dad joke! But my kids do laugh every time I bring home the little bottles of water and wine from the plane – it’s the one plus side of travelling so often.

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