I write to tell you about a close friend of mine and fellow Whitgift alumnus (Simon Hughes, 1998-2006), whom I feel has made a positive influence, in terms of promoting equality, particularly regarding men and taking leave from work.
I thought it was worth sharing to hopefully help provoke thought and discussions around this area, which sadly continues to be particularly scarce to this day.
Simon is by no means a pioneer but was very vocal amongst his peers with his decision to resign from his successful senior role (Head of Collections & Legal at one of Europe’s fastest growing Fintechs) back at the end of 2019 to become a full time Dad to his wonderful daughter.
Simon shared with his friends the challenges and celebrations, the ups and downs, and the daily lessons parenthood provided, whilst reminding us that it was something women tended to experience in the traditionally accepted status quo of modern society, often at the expense of their working life or career.
It’s sadly still surprisingly rare to see men take this step, particularly at such a stage in their career, given how much Simon had achieved in his industry ahead of becoming a dad. However for Simon, taking leave to look after his daughter turned out to be a delightful decision and he endlessly promotes the benefits to his friends, peers and anyone who wants to hear!
It isn’t a topic spoken about enough amongst men as it’s typically women who ‘sacrifice’ their career to care for children, so coming from an all boys’ school, a topic like this should, in my opinion, be brought to the table for conversation.
And just to show that anybody taking leave to look after a child doesn’t have to see this as a career ‘sacrifice’, Simon is now juggling parenting with the launch of his new business venture WorkCap (an ethical, reputationally conscious business consultancy with a focus on credit control and debt recovery), aimed squarely at helping small/medium sized businesses survive the pandemic and be set for growth when we’re out the other side. His website can be found at workcap.co.uk/about-us.
It’s another admirable action that sums up Simon’s outlook and mindset, aimed at having a positive impact on people and their livelihoods, something we all saw in Simon very early on in our Whitgift journey!
I hope you find this content useful, but if not then I’m just happy to share it with the reader, letting them know there’s Whitgift alumni out there pushing to promote positive perceptions and doing good things to help others succeed.
Stephen Nemeth, OW (1998-2006)