Employee Experiences

Celebrating Father’s Day

Rebekah Stewart



Father’s Day is a time to honor the dads in our lives and an opportunity to recognize all their contributions. With many countries around the world observing Father’s Day in June, we want to celebrate all of the amazing dads at Expedia Group. We hear what Father’s Day means to them, particularly this year during COVID-19. Cheers to all the awesome and heroic fathers around the globe!

Fernando Fletcher | Field Sales, SME

Having lost my own father before my sons were born, Father’s Day is always bittersweet for me. This year, I think of others who miss their fathers on this occasion, perhaps because of COVID-19 and I value the time I spend more with my two boys. This pandemic has actually given me an opportunity to understand them better. At Egencia, I have a weekly 1-on-1’s with my boss and I took that same principle and applied it to the boys. We have a daily 1-on-1’s where I ask them what they are excited about, what makes them sad, what they really want to do tomorrow. They are too young to serve me breakfast in bed – and that would be unlikely in any case since I am an early riser, I am usually up very early. This year, I look forward to going for a walk to the pond that is near our home, to race the boys down the track at the school grounds – as I keep reminding them why they still cannot go on the swings or the slides. I look forward to simple pleasures like digging up earthworms in the yard. The simple things in life is what I value the most, spending time. Last year in class, they both made me a Father’s Day card, and it meant a lot to me. I don’t expect one this year, but who know what they will make.

I have the most amazing team mates and Director. My manager goes out of her way to ask if there is anything I need, she has even moved an internal meeting that conflicted with my son’s weekly online call with his teacher. The team has also been very understanding when I occasionally get interrupted by my son saying “Dad, my call is over, can I watch my show on the iPad now?”

Dave McNamee | Sr. Director, Corporate Communications

My team couldn’t be more supportive in helping me as I brave fatherhood for the first time. To set the stage, I returned from paternity leave during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and it was nothing short of a frantic and apprehensive effort trying to get up to speed and dig into work all while not being able to work in an office. That said, despite gargantuan demands on the business and the corporate communications team, paired with trying to manage a new life of working from home alongside my wife (who was also working) with no childcare for an 8-month old infant, the team effortlessly rose to the occasion and welcomed me back not only with open arms, but patience, humility and kindness. And while the pandemic has wreaked havoc on the world and torn loved ones from families and friends, I spend a lot of time reflecting on the immense privilege I have to lead a team who has been so patient with me as I write this new parenting chapter of my life (that they are all now apart of). I am deeply thankful for the support and will spend much of my first Father’s Day feeling a world of gratitude for the remarkable corporate communications team here at Expedia Group (and honorary member, Tarran).

Steve Haines | Integration Consultant

Father’s Day during this covid crisis has taken on a deeper but simple appreciation for a those who call me, ‘Daddy’.  In years’ past, Father’s Day was something which meant dad would get the primary focus and celebrate me. This Covid- Father’s Day is a focus of investment into the lives of my 4 kids who look to me as their dad. Spending the day with each of them, individually hearing them – seeing them – understanding their hopes, fears and dreams. Seeking how best to support them, not just financially but as an individual person- as they seek to find their way in this world.

My team is managed by such a caring and supportive person, Erin Meagher. I was on a family camping trip when our office was closing due to Covid. Erin texted me, providing me work details but was equally focused on how best I should take care of my family during the uncertain times. It has been months now as we’ve worked from home. My team and Erin are my work-family and they are so interested in my at-home family. This interest and supportive vibe are all caused by Erin’s leadership. During this crisis, I have never felt judged or awkward when I let the team know that I had to help deal with unruly kid issues. Our team works very hard, hits our goals but knowing we can call a ‘time-out’ means the world me. Erin’s leadership style is fostered by her Leadership. They invest in her, she invests into us- we invest into others. This is the EG culture: One-Team – we are a work-family all in this together.

Joe Seng | Recruiter

Father’s Day this year is exceptionally special for me as I will be ‘promoted’ to be a Father in the weeks to come! Thank God for this special gift! This year is also a challenging year for us as we face the global pandemic that has forced us to accept social distancing and adapting a “new normal” lifestyle. I’ve learnt that in order to thrive in anything we do, we need to adapt and embrace changes quickly. Behind every challenge is a new opportunity to learn and shine!

I’m also very thankful for the New Parent Benefit Program & Maternity Coverage that Expedia Group has, which ease our financial load so that we can focus on the joyous journey of becoming new parents. On top of that, the 12 weeks paternity leave is really helpful during this transitional period. As a first time Dad, I’m sure there will be many new challenges. I’m glad to have this time off to be with my wife and focus on our newborn together.

For that, I’m really happy to be part of Expedia Group and to have a team that is very encouraging and supportive of me during this period. Wishing all Dads and Daddys-to-be a Blessed Father’s Day!

Vishal Desai | Consulting Manager

As a father of two girls, aged 2 and 5, for me “everyday is a Father’s Day”. So in a word it means “everything”. On this special day though, the feeling of being appreciated, celebrated and pampered, is priceless. The crisis period has thrown a new perspective to life- allowing me to spend more of something that no one can buy with a trillion dollars – TIME. Spending time together with girls, being part of the activities they do, telling bedtime stories, teaching them about our culture, short picnics, little games… everything is a permanent happy memory created during these challenging times and shall remain engraved in their minds eternally.

As a team we have shared and exchanged ideas and tips which have been extremely helpful pumping some variations into day-to-day children’s activities and exploring their interests.

Nicolás Peñaloza | Associate Market Manager

Father’s Day is a very special day for me, where I can be with my kids, enjoy them from the beginning of this day until we go to bed… and my 4-year-old daughter makes a big effort to celebrate with me: preparing breakfast, giving a present, playing with me. I feel so grateful for all this!!!

This is a special year of course because of COVID-19, but my manager always asks me how I am with them (I am divorced) and I appreciate them. At the office, my coworkers gave us a present and decorated a wall with photos of all the fathers in the office with their children.

Humphrey Roria | BI Developer

Father’s Day this year in particular has been difficult and different in some good ways. As we settled into a new, temporary norm, we found many inventive ways to be productive and patient. All that said, we still have our share of tears, hurt feelings, slamming doors, and the need to have some “alone time.” But at the end of the day, when Covid is over, it will be the bittersweet memories I will have with my children. I worked with a bunch of dedicated teammates that are willing to step up whenever anyone is in need. That helps to provide flexibility at home as my wife and I juggle our new daily schedules.

Daniel Wathen | Director, Market Management

Managing through COVID as a single gay dad is rough.  It’s very interesting to balance the higher level of connection with your kid but also try and keep as engaged in our new virtual landscape.  Normal wouldn’t ever have my child sitting on my lap during the most important call I’ve had this month, but this picture shows that just happening.  What I’ve also learned is that children have a sixth sense for your change in focus and that’s usually when they have decided to have a meltdown over Legos. My advice to anyone now is to roll with it, give yourself some breathing room and be vulnerable enough to tell those on the line what you are navigating.  As we approach Father’s Day, the time I’ve been with my son over the last two months will be what I remember.  The number of interrupted calls, exclaiming some bathroom incident, or screaming at the top of his lungs every single time I jump on a call or bluejeans video: those will be the memories that will survive this, with a big smile on my face that we all survived, came out of it as a stronger father, came out of it with a stronger bond with my son. Plus I will use it to embarrass him when he grows up.

Jason Wong | TPM

On Father’s Day my daughter Janet will be turning one year and one day old, and I almost missed being with her due to flight availability (or should I say scarcity)!! Over this past year, this rookie dad’s fond memories include holding his girl for the first time, trying to take a selfie while feeding, flipping the house at 3AM to find the mosquito that is targeting my dearests, post-dinner StoryTime, and yes – cleaning up after “accidents.” I am also grateful for my amazing (and forgiving) wife, much love and generous gifts from family and friends, and flexibility and support from my team that allows me to be there for my wife and Janet for workday appointments.

I also recognize that fathers have a unique role in a child’s life, and to be the best father I can be, first I need to be the best husband I can be.

Some inspiration helping me to be the father I am made to be:

  1. How to be a Hero to Your Kids (J. McDowell)
  2. Courageous (the movie)
  3. And yes, your wisdom and advice! Thankful for dear colleagues and friends that share honest feedback with me, and speak into our lives 😊

Matt Callanan | Sr. Software Dev Engineer

In Australia we celebrate Father’s Day on the first Sunday of September – I know, I know, things are upside down in the Southern Hemisphere! We usually celebrate by throwing a few snags (sausages) on the barbie (BBQ) and having lunch with family.

I have four kids, aged one through eight. My two school-aged daughters are given $10 each to spend at the Father’s Day stall at school. It’s always fun to see what they buy. Last year I ended up with two identical gifts for my office – you can never have too many light-up nordic stars to remind you that you’re still a super hero in their eyes! And I always enjoy adding specialty Father’s Day mugs to my collection.

If you’re a dad, take some time to appreciate yourself this Father’s Day. In his book “Coherence,” Dr. Alan Watkins discusses how he teaches senior executives around the world to unlock their potential by understanding the ways our minds and bodies work. I love this quote: “Most people are their own worst critics and have spent years judging themselves and creating a belief structure that they are, in some way, not enough. As an antidote to this tendency, which drains energy, limits growth and interferes with creativity and innovation, it can help to develop the ability to appreciate ourselves.”

Likewise give the gift of appreciation to father-figures in your own life, whether it’s your biological father or someone you respect. Later in the same book, Dr. Watkins notes that appreciation of others is also key, even in the demanding world of executive leadership: “Appreciation is a powerful antidote to judgment or any negative emotion and can radically influence your ability to create strong working relationships.”

What I’m looking forward to most this Father’s Day is the opportunity to take a breather. To stop everything and to appreciate my role as a father, to remind myself of how lucky I am to have four healthy, beautiful, loving, wild, crazy kids. And while they do drive me up the walls at times, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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