Celebrating Father’s Day and Life at DHG as a Parent
Brandon Brake is a Senior Tax Manager in the DHG Raleigh office. He has been with DHG for more than 10 years and is a member of DHG’s Parents Professional Network (PPN) Common Interest Group (C.I.G.). He and his wife have a son, Jaxon, with another son on the way.
As you reflect on Father’s Day, who are some important people in your life that have shaped who you are today?
My dad instilled a strong work ethic in me and my brothers, even at a very young age. He worked full-time during the week, and then we mowed lawns during the summer and cut and delivered firewood during the winter on the weekends as a side business. He passed away when I was 9. My older brothers really helped a lot after that. Three of my older brothers served in the military – one served in the Navy, one in the Air Force and one in the Marines. My eldest brother, David, served in Desert Storm and Operation Just Cause.
My mom always was (and still is) very level-headed and steady no matter what was going on. She probably influenced my leadership style the most. She is really the backbone of our family. My family members were all huge influences on me and really shaped the person that I have always strived to be.
In thinking about Father’s Day, what does it mean to be a father in your family and how do you plan to celebrate this Father’s Day?
For me, it’s about consistency. One of the most important lessons I learned growing up from my mom and older brothers is the importance of being dependable and consistent. Not that I always get it exactly right, far from it, but I always strive to be the support system that my wife and son need. I try to be present and attentive in order to identify what that consistency needs to look like day-to-day. Understanding how to assess different situations to determine when I need to be the fun dad, counselor dad, disciplinarian dad or some variation is something that I really focus on.
My wife also works full-time. We are pretty equally involved (or do our best to be) with school drop-offs and pick-ups, doctor appointments, soccer games, parent-teacher conferences – all of the day-to-day adventures in parenting. We are expecting our second son in July and are looking forward to being a family of four.
For Father’s Day we typically celebrate as an extended family. We normally get together with my mom, my brothers and their families for a cook out. My wife, son and I will probably also do something separate with just the three of us, like dinner at home on our back porch, and just enjoy some good weather hopefully. My wife and I didn’t travel much growing up, so we are making that a priority now.
At DHG, we are working on providing an awesome employee experience for our people. How have you lived your Life Beyond Numbers by being flexible for DHG and then witnessing DHG also being flexible for you?
There are definitely times where both are necessary. This past busy season was particularly challenging. The last few weeks before a deadline typically require all hands-on deck to get things over the finish line. This naturally will cause you to have to be away from a few things at home.
Last summer, I had an awesome opportunity to present on tax reform at a national industry conference for the first time. It conflicted with my son starting school, but after discussing it with my wife, we both agreed that the opportunity to present at the conference was something that I shouldn’t pass up. I was able to FaceTime with my son for the few days that I needed to be away, so I didn’t fully miss out. My wife helps shoulder much more at home with our son Jaxon in those situations, and I honestly couldn’t make it work without her support.
DHG is definitely flexible with me as well at other times. Even during busy season, I make it a point to have dinner at home most nights during the week. I have the flexibility to make it to just about all of my son’s soccer games and school events. I work from home if he’s sick and my wife needs to go to the office. The same industry conference that I spoke at last year is coming up in the next few weeks, and I was invited back. This time it conflicts with the arrival of my second son, so I won’t be making the trip this time around.
As you work with many people on your teams, what value do you see in benefits DHG has offered our people this year like MyTime and enhanced parental leave for both moms and dads?
I do appreciate the expanded paternity leave with a new son arriving soon. I will take off three weeks in late June or early July when my second son arrives and then take three more weeks when my wife goes back to work in October. This expanded benefit will really help our family with a smooth transition as much as possible when we have a new baby at home.
How are you involved in the Parents Professional Network Common Interest Group and how does your involvement help you with life at DHG?
I think the C.I.G.s are a great idea to bring us together around a common purpose or around something we are experiencing together like parenting. Learning how my team members are approaching parenting while working and seeking advice from some of our leaders will help me through this season of my life and career. I am also excited to offer some of my experiences and growing pains to new parents as well.