This Father’s Day 2021 we check in with some fathers working in the hotel industry, which has been wrought by the pandemic.

Despite it being “a man’s world,” society (and men themselves) can be tough on men too, especially when a lot of men’s identity is drawn or tied to the role he plays as a provider. And the pandemic has done no favours to most people in terms of job security.

Plus with travel and tourism being the worst hit sector of economies worldwide, those working in the hotel industry would be among the first to feel the impact of the Covid-19 virus.

We check in these three fathers working in hotels attached to Marriott International to see how they’ve been coping with the pandemic.

Michael grimmer – general manager, aloft kl sentral

Originally from New Zealand, Michael met his Russian wife while they were both working in Koh Samui, Thailand. He has not seen his family for awhile since Malaysia went back into an MCO, as his wife and son returned to Russia before the lockdown.

michael grimmer and son
Michael with his son Gregory

How do you balance between work and family?

I believe work-life balance is extremely important; which is why I make it a point to complete all my tasks during work hours, so that I can go home and spend time with my family – which at this point is via the phone.

Has fatherhood shaped your approach to work?

Definitely. The importance of communication has been emphasised to me ever since I’ve had my son, and that affects my attitude at work as well, as I’m more open to communicating and understanding my colleagues – part of why I practise an open-door policy so anyone can come in at anytime for a chat.

I’m fortunate to join a young and dynamic team at Aloft, and I often talk to various talents in and around the hotel, as empathy and equality are key. Some employees may feel too intimidated to talk to leadership, especially if they’ve had traditional bosses with a heavy ‘top-down’ approach, where their ideas are not taken into account and they’re just expected to ‘do’ instead of ‘think.’

Everyone at Aloft is valuable and has something different to bring to the table, so I want to encourage them, the same way I would for my son.

What are some lessons you’ve learnt from your father (figure), and what do you wish to impart to your son?

Having spent 30 years in hospitality industry, I’ve been fortunate to have a variety of mentors and life lessons from many different personalities.

However it’s my own father who set me on this path. An amazing man barreling through life with confidence and laughter, it’s safe to say I inherited his strong personality – which included a passion for cooking. He instilled the values of responsibility, standing up for what you believe in and more which I’ve carried with me throughout my career, and hope to pass on to Gregory.

As a father, what are some of your worries?

Of course, my worries include not being able to give my best to my family and not spending enough time with loved ones. You’re never really ‘off’ the job in the hotel line, and emergencies may pop up and require you to go in even when you have other plans.

I don’t want to be one of those parents who let work consume them and neglect my family as a result. Thus whenever I’m back from work, I make an effort to cook, give my son a bath, and keep him entertained, also to give my wife a break. On weekends, prior to lockdowns we would normally go out and sightsee as we familiarise ourselves with the melting pot that is Kuala Lumpur. We can’t wait to do this when it’s safe to be out again.

However, while Covid-19 has put a lot of pressure on the hospitality industry, I’ve learnt that there’s no reason to give up and the best way is to keep innovating and keep moving forward is with a positive mindset. Keep up with the news, see the trends – like with food, I find that trends are cyclical and eventually come back, so what’s important is to just add your own spin to it and make sure you do it well.

Tell us a message you’d like to give your son.

Don’t join the hospitality industry! I’m kidding, I love the industry and all the ups and downs. My message would be to always stick to your principles, be empathetic and show compassion to those around you.

 

Noorhisham foudzy – maintenance manager, four points by sheraton kuala lumpur Chinatown

Noorhisham Foudzy and his wife are loving parents to five lovely children aged between 12 and four-years-old: Muhammad Muaz, Adelia Hamraa, Adelia Hanjyya, Adelia Hafiyya, and Adelia Hazira.

noorhisham foudzy
Noorhisham and his family enjoying ice cream prior to the pandemic

How do you balance between work and family?

Being a maintenance manager at a hotel and a parent to five active children is never easy! It is challenging for me to manage fatherhood while work requires me to be on site most of the time. Like any parent who is trying their best to be a good father, I remind myself that work can wait, but moments spent with our precious family is fleeting. It is important to prioritise, and always make time for your family.

Has fatherhood shaped your approach to work?

I have certainly grown to be more patient. I also place a bigger emphasis on relationship building and connecting with people. And my values are imparted to my team as well, where family comes first

I remember working long hours with the focus on advancing my career, but now I’m at a point where family is my main priority. Fatherhood also made me a more empathetic, especially to those dealing with family issues.

What are some lessons you’ve learnt from your father (figure), and what do you wish to impart to your children?

My own father has been my role model since young, and he used to always tell me to grab any opportunity I can to prove myself. As I got older I began to understand why every opportunity is valuable – and how important it is to ensure you get things right the first time, to face challenges head-on and never run away from them. All lessons I hope to impart to my kids as well.

As a father, what are some of your worries?

My main worry is that I neglect my children, and that I won’t be a part of their lives as they grow up. That’s why I try my best to be involved in their lives and activities when I can, especially over the weekends.

Tell us a message you’d like to give your children.

I’d want them to know that I think of my family in everything I do. I may look fierce and firm, but I would like you all, my children, to understand how precious you are to me. Every second spent together with you are moments I will treasure forever.

 

Rajkumar Ravi – butler, st. regis Kuala Lumpur

Married in 2018, Rajkumar and his wife Baljit have a lovely three-year-old daughter, Shania.

rajkumar ravi
Rajkumar with Baljit and Shania celebrating a birthday

How do you balance between work and family?

Marriott has a beautiful core philosophy of “Put People First” which relates to both my job and family. The bulk of my job is to take care of guests, which I also translate to my own family. Having this mindset in place, it’s pretty easy for me to balance between work and family.

Has fatherhood shaped your approach to work?

Yes, fatherhood has made me more patient and a better listener. Having a three-year-old daughter requires patience while listening to her share about her daily routines at home or school. And I apply the same skill I have learned from being father to work. Being more patient at work, I spend more time learning about guests’ needs, hence, always provide them with services beyond expectations.

What are some lessons you’ve learnt from your father (figure), and what do you wish to impart to your daughter?

My father taught me that, learning never stops. We should learn more about ourselves as well as to understand others. Hence, this philosophy has always been a core value in my profession. I’m always learning more about our guests, their unique preferences, likes and dislikes, so I can not only fulfil their needs but also provide anticipatory service, ensuring their stays with us are beyond expectation.

Which is the same philosophy I’d like to impart to Shania. As she grows, she is always allowed to try new things and explore the world. Baljit and I want her to know that every little step she takes and every decision she makes, is a part of learning in life.

As a father, what are some of your worries?

My utmost concern is my daughter’s safety, plus her physical and mental health. I want to ensure she will always be safe, even when I am no longer around. And I will always be around to speak to her about her worries or challenges in life.

Tell us a message you’d like to give your daughter.

A quote from Edmund Lee comes to mine, “Surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers, the believers and thinkers, but most of all, surround yourself with those who see the greatness within you, even when you don’t see it yourself.”

written by.
Aaron Pereira
Digital Editor
This fine chocolate man, (that is a connoisseur of fine chocolates) prefers real-life conversations and living off-screen, but is slowly and surely embracing the digital, search engine optimised life.

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