Editor’s Note: Dove Men+Care is an NYC Dads Group sponsor. As always, the views expressed here are authentically our own.
We’ve made no secret of the fact that we had an excellent experience at the inaugural Dad 2.0 Summit in Austin last March. One of the highlights for me was Unilever VP Rob Candelino’s presentation of Dove Men+Care’s new “Journeys to Comfort” campaign that urges men to “get comfortable in your own skin” (literally and figuratively). I was especially impressed with Rob’s deep connection to his work. As he talked about the research behind the campaign, he showed a picture of Drew Brees holding his son above his head as he celebrated the New Orleans Saints Super Bowl win in 2010. Rob struggled to talk about the picture because he too was a new father and he could identify with the pride that Drew Brees was feeling as he was able to enjoy that moment with his new son. In his role as a senior marketing executive at one of the largest consumer products companies in the world, Rob has an opportunity to reframe how men and fathers are portrayed in advertising, and he and his team are using that platform to encourage men to be the best men, the best fathers, they can be.
Rob is getting comfortable in his own skin as a new father, a journey that is effecting not just the content of his work, but how he approaches his job as well. Recently, we had the opportunity to interview Rob for our article about working fathers for New York Family Magazine, In The Balance. Rob opened up about the challenges he faces as he tries to excel both as a dad, and a senior leader at Unilever. Somebody in Rob’s position five, ten, or twenty years ago might have been expected to make his job his number one priority, but Rob shared that he has scaled back the intensity of his job since the birth of his son. In a job that could be 24/7, he frequently leaves early, and importantly, he makes it clear to his colleagues why he can’t schedule a 5:30 meeting– he’s going home to be with his wife and child.
The “getting comfortable in your own skin” message strikes a chord with much of what we are hoping to do with the NYC Dads Group. Many of our members are working dads conflicted over work and fatherhood. Many of our part-time and full-time at-home dads are making choices that are contrary to the expectations of their families, friends, and perhaps even themselves. It matters when men in the workplace announce that they are prioritizing family, and it matters that companies and colleagues are supportive. It matters when consumer brands portray men and fathers as capable and caring. For these reasons and many others, we are proud to know Rob, and especially proud to have Unilever and Dove Men+Care sponsoring our group.