Teachers, Mentors, and Role Models

by Contributor
Fou Hamilton remembers his walks to and from high school. Although he only needed to walk two blocks, times were tough because he and his family were living in the back of a U-Haul truck. Despite his family’s financial situation, and his father not being present for much of his childhood, his father did teach him the value behind hard work, persistence and perseverance.

Hamilton took those lessons from his father and today, helps manage one of the largest field offices at Unum.

“My father taught me how to navigate through those tough times and to work hard for what I want no matter what life threw at me,” said Hamilton, director of Market Development at Unum.

Hamilton has a strong relationship with his children and knows life can throw curveballs. It’s impossible to map out his children’s lives completely, but he’s always there – visible, involved and present.

“They will come across unexpected things in life, and some lessons must be learned though experience,” said Hamilton. “As a father, I’ve learned to help them navigate through it.”

Rick Shadrick, manager of Benefits Services at Unum, also has a close relationship with his children.   He’s proud to be a protector, confidante and friend to his four children.

Lessons in Gratitude

Shadrick said one of the greatest lessons he learned from his father is humility and gratitude. He seeks to give the same to his children.

“We text and call each other every day,” said Shadrick. “My children know they can come to me in confidence, and that I will always be there to give them advice and be a shoulder to cry on.”

“My father passed away when I was 20 from cancer. Since then, I’ve been steadfast with practicing gratitude and being thankful for what I have in life,” said Shadrick. “I passed down this lesson to my children because life is precious, and we need to be humble and thankful while we still have the opportunity.”

For new fathers like Mauricio Galindo, director of Inclusion and Diversity Education at Unum, paid parental leave can help the transition into fatherhood.

“Parental leave was a big help, if I had to go back to work right after my son was born, I would’ve been playing a lot of catchup,” said Galindo. “Paternity leave helped me be in the right mindset to succeed both at home and at work.”

Other Unum leave and family support benefits include inclusive family support for bonding after the birth of a child, reimbursement for adoption and surrogacy expenses, mental health resources and caregiver leave.

Lessons in Patience

Many fathers agree that fatherhood provides numerous life lessons that transfer into their professional careers. They learn patience and open-mindedness firsthand from their children, which strengthens their ability to connect with peers.

“I am action-oriented, and I make decisions quickly,” shared Tim Smith, vice president and chief privacy officer at Unum. “My daughters have taught me to slow down and consider different viewpoints. It is an important lesson I continue to follow.”

Fathers are teachers, mentors, role models and provide support throughout life’s ups and downs.

“It’s been wonderful to see my daughters evolve as human beings and gain independence and self-confidence,” said Smith. “I love seeing their success and I feel grateful for them. That is what gives me the most joy about being a parent.”

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About Unum Group

Unum Group (NYSE: UNM), an international provider of workplace benefits and services, has been helping workers and their families for 175 years. Through its Unum and Colonial Life brands, the company offers disability, life, accident, critical illness, dental, vision and stop-loss insurance; leave and absence management support and behavioral health services. In 2022, Unum reported revenues of about $12 billion and paid $8 billion in benefits. The Fortune 500 company is one of the 2023 World’s Most Ethical Companies, recognized by Ethisphere®. 

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