Any parent affects the lives of their children. In the case of fathers, conversations tend to revolve around the influence they have on their sons. But research has shown that fathers affect the lives of their daughters in often surprising ways. For example, fathers are now shown to have a large impact on their daughters’ academic and career choices.
Certainly, that is true of Bank of Singapore colleagues that we recently spoke to. These two high achievers draw firm parallels from how their fathers were in their youth, to their attitudes and ethics at work today.
And although both colleagues have not seen their dads in over a year because of COVID-19 restrictions on travel, they make it a point to stay in touch regularly through video calls. They are not going to miss out on celebrating Father’s Day this year, either.
A work ethic, installed by dad
Ng Ping Ching, better known as PC, is Head of Creative Marketing at Bank of Singapore. Here, she leads and manages a team that supports the bank in key client communications, including the development of corporate and marketing collaterals, and videos that help inform and educate clients on the bank’s research insights and wealth management solutions.
Behind the scenes, PC is extremely organised and meticulous. These are traits instilled by her father, she says.
“He always thinks two steps ahead – often more,” she says. “That was definitely a plus for me to grow up around. It has become part of my own character, which helps in my line of work which can involve many stakeholders and project management deadlines.”
When she was a child, her accountant father would help take care of PC and her younger brother.
“Mum was a nurse who worked shift hours, so Dad was a rather hands-on father,” says PC, whose family lives in Subang Jaya, a city in the Selangor state of Malaysia. “He did things like make sure our cups were dry and clean before we drank from them, label our toothbrushes with our names so we wouldn’t mix them up, make sure the air conditioning was turned on so our rooms would be cool enough for us before we went to bed, and ensure we had our keys before we left the house.”
Those little things led to PC feeling “safe, protected and cared for” throughout her early life. He does these little things even today, says PC.
“Whenever I make a weekend trip back and stay with my parents, my father will still make sure there is a spare key for us and enough petrol in the car should we want to head out. Nowadays, even my husband’s toothbrush is labelled with his name!”
Such consistency in thoughtfulness and attention to detail she has observed throughout her life has been impressive, and PC strives to emulate her father, especially at work.
“My father being the way he is taught me to always have accountability in whatever I do. I aim to get things done properly, and ahead of time. I strive to never cut corners. This helps me manage tough projects, from ideation to execution and completion.”
When it comes to leading her team, she aims to anticipate their needs and have open communication channels.
“My parents were ‘cool parents’ as they allowed us to share our thoughts and feelings openly,” says PC. “Like in my own family, my team members and I do not have to agree on certain things, but I intentionally create an atmosphere where things can be talked out.”
PC has not seen her parents since early 2020 when movement restrictions were put in place.
“We hang out together on twice-weekly video calls, along with my brother who also lives in Singapore,” she says.
And each Father’s Day is an opportunity to fete her dad, she adds. She feels this keenly as in 2019, she almost lost her father to a heart attack. PC says that harrowing time was a sobering reminder to never take a loved one for granted. She had made an effort to visit her parents more, until the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
This year since she cannot travel, she will try to surprise them in some way.
“I’ll have to figure that one out, since I cannot visit. Perhaps one of my cousins will be able to help me bring something over and leave it at my parents’ house, for that personal touch,” she says.
Her father inspired her love of tech
Namrata Pathak is an IT executive at Bank of Singapore, where she heads the Digital Channels cluster. She says that although it was highly unusual for women to be put on a science, technology, engineering and mathematics path (STEM) path when she was growing up, her father gently steered herself and her siblings towards these subjects.
“I grew up in central India at an army base,” says Namrata. “There was limited exposure to the outside world. But my father was what I call an enlightened parent.”
Namrata describes her dad as a forward-looking person. He holds a PhD in Chemistry and was selected for a post-doctorate fellowship in London in the 1960s. Namrata remembers growing up surrounded by books and lively conversation that had herself and her siblings thinking about their futures.
“My dad always kept an eye on what the future might hold, and what skill sets might be needed,” says Namrata now. “He instilled a curiosity and awareness of technology, computers, engineering and science in general. He could sense that in the time from our childhoods to when we were grown, applied sciences would rule the world.”
Namrata recalls that other parents at the time might encourage their daughters to get married or settle into more ‘typical female-oriented careers’ like those in civil service. However, her own dad would quiz his daughters on their interests in science and technology.
“We would have quite intellectual discussions, including why we were drawn to those interests,” says Namrata. “It was never forced down our throats – these conversations were simply in the spirit of inquiry.”
Namrata, who moved to Singapore in 2003, was the computer whiz in the family.
When Namrata displayed an interest in these man-made marvels, her father got her a book called Working With Computers when she was just 14. She also begged her dad to buy her a computer.
“He got me an Apple Macintosh 401,” she says. “It was very expensive and Dad told me I could not ask for another gift for a long time. I told him I did not care for anything else.”
Namrata would go on to focus on mathematics in school. At university, she was one of two girls in her maths major classes, out of 25 boys. She would go on to receive her Master’s in computer applications and begin work in research and development teams working on real time operating systems. She would be part of the revolution of Internet implementation at several companies including a major telco, and would help drive mobile banking and digital commerce for a global bank.
At Bank of Singapore, she looks at emerging technology capable of driving digital portfolio and programme management. She leads the client and the front office digital banking experience.
Namrata has not seen her parents since they last visited two years ago, due to the challenges presented by COVID-19.
“My family and I video-call them every day,” says Namrata. “They get to catch up with their grandchildren – my two daughters – and my husband as well. My siblings make it a point to call them often as well. We will certainly be calling my parents on Father’s Day to say a special hello to Dad.”
On how her dad guided her career choices, Namrata says: “My dad says it was simply his job as a parent to inspire his kids by looking at their interests, and aligning them with future prospects.”
“It has been my dream to work in this field from a young age, and to see the landscape evolve at such exciting junctures. It continues to do so, and my passion for technology is constantly at a high. Thanks, dad. I owe this one to you.”
Here’s wishing your dad, and all other dads, the very best.Disclaimer applicable to recommendation
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