Leading local parenting organisation, Parenting NI, hosted its first ever 'working dads' networking event at Kingspan Stadium on Thursday 12th October.
The 'Talking Tactics' event held exclusively for dads was held in partnership with Kingsbridge Private Hospital (part of the 3fivetwo Group) and Bank of Ireland UK. Special guests included Ibe Sesay from Q Radio, Ireland and Ulster Rugby Captain and father of three, Rory Best and Ulster Rugby Operations Director and father of two, Bryn Cunningham.
Over 40 local businessmen had the opportunity to network with other professional working dads during the unique event, before sitting down to a delicious full Irish breakfast.
A Parenting Education Consultant also delivered information and advice including top tips on understanding children's behaviour, promoting self-esteem and tactics to achieve the balance between being a 'hands on' dad and holding down a stressful job.
As part of the interactive session, delegates got the opportunity to question a panel made-up of Rory Best, Mark Regan, CEO Kingsbridge Private Hospital and William Thompson, Head of Consumer Banking, Bank of Ireland UK, on their experiences of juggling fatherhood with work commitments and how they make precious time with their children and families count.
Event Organiser, Lucy McCusker said, "Evidence shows that many dads are striving to be more involved in their children's childcare and activities but can sometimes find it hard to make this goal a reality.
"For some working fathers, their employers are unsupportive of their goals to achieve a better work-life balance. This unique 'Talking Tactics' event allowed best practice to be shared amongst peers and showcased some positive approaches from employers and individual experiences. I really hope all dads leave the session feeling better able to achieve a healthy balance between fatherhood and career aspirations and demands."
Panellist Mark Regan, CEO at Kingsbridge Private Hospital, part of the 3fivetwo Group emphasised that giving staff flexibility is key. He said,
"I'm a firm believer of 'give and take'. If one of my team needs to take a few hours off for a school play or if their child is unwell and they need to work from home, I know I get this time back and more", said Mark.
William Thompson, Head of Consumer Banking, Bank of Ireland UK, said:
"Bank of Ireland is proud to be working in partnership with Parenting NI on a number of initiatives including this 'Working Dads' session.
Being a father of four, I completely understand the challenges facing dads and families today. A session like this provides an ideal opportunity for peers to come together to acknowledge and talk about common work life balance challenges and hopefully go home with some practical tips that we can all apply in our own lives."
Following on from the success of a previous event for working mums, this event exclusively organised for working dads, is the first of its kind.