Protiviti was recently recognized by Great Place to Work on the “Best Workplaces for Parents” list. We are honored to receive this accolade as we have worked together to build a strong culture of inclusivity, including providing support to our employees who are parents to balance their career. Today, we hear from Jose Behar, Protiviti’s Working Father of the Year, as named by Working Mother magazine. This is his #MyProtivitiStory.
Within the workplace, it is common to hear the phrase “work family” casually thrown around. The obvious intent is to describe one or more colleagues who are so close, they are almost like family. During my 16 years with Protiviti, I have used this phrase to describe my team and leadership, and I have lived through events that embody its meaning. The following is one of many examples that illustrate this throughout my broader story.
In September of 2017, Hurricane Irma toppled a 50 ft. oak tree, causing it to fall squarely onto the roof of my home in Orlando, Florida. Having lived in Florida all my life, I’d seen a lot of hurricanes come and go, but none affected me more than that storm. My wife and I had secured our two young daughters in an interior closet in our bedroom, where we imagined they would be safest – and this was the exact location above which the tree struck. Luckily, no one was injured, but we were all more than a bit rattled, and our home was a disaster zone. The psychological impact of this traumatic event remains ever-present in my wife, Simone’s, mind, even to this day.
The day after the storm, I found myself scouring Home Depot for a tarp big enough to cover the hole that was left in my roof. While I was there, I coincidentally received a call from Jordan Reed, a Managing Director out of our Houston office. Jordan had heard about my predicament and was calling to check on me. More than a little distracted, I explained to him what I was doing in that moment. We hung up and I went home, regrettably without the cover I needed.
The very next day, a package arrived at my doorstep from Texas. Jordan had located a 30ft x 30ft heavy duty tarp and shipped it for overnight delivery. It was exactly what I’d been searching for, and I was moved by his gesture – especially because, at the time, Jordan was dealing with his own disaster in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, which had devastated his family’s home. The fact that he still had the generosity of spirit to assist my family in our time of need was extremely humbling. I will never forget what it meant to us.
Less than a week later, Martin Nash, a Managing Director in Tampa, organized a caravan of Tampa and Orlando office team members to show up at my home on a Saturday morning to help clean up in Irma’s aftermath. They brought trash bags, rakes, chainsaws, and virtually every other piece of yard equipment that you could imagine. As I watched this army of colleagues work at our home for hours, I was overcome with emotion, gratitude, and even a little guilt as I contemplated how I could ever repay all of these people for their generosity. They demonstrated care and compassion for my family during one of the most difficult times in our lives.
I see parallels between my story and the story of the Protiviti Parents’ Network, because ultimately what we seek is a network big enough to cover us all, especially when it matters most.
Jordan, Martin, and I are all working parents, like many individuals across Protiviti. Being a working parent comes with its own challenges, particularly in the consulting industry, and I have been fortunate to have friends like them and others with whom I can share my experiences. Several years ago, Protiviti formalized an employee networking group for our community of working parents. I joined the Parents’ Network when it was founded, serving as the local champion for Orlando, and have since taken on global leadership of this group, in partnership with Barbi Goldstein out of New York. Through the Parents’ Network, we aim to be a space for the exchange of ideas and dialogue, a resource for knowledge and support, and a voice for working parents within the firm.
This year has been particularly unique in its impact to working parents. Around the globe, we are dealing with the uncertainty of the pandemic; juggling remote schooling and lockdowns; managing the fears and anxieties of our children (and also our own mental health); struggling to remain as high-performing and productive as we have always been in our careers. Feedback from our own engagement surveys reflects the sentiment we see in the broader workplace: people are experiencing stress and burnout on a greater scale than ever before, and this is an intensified issue for our working parents. We are all looking for solutions that we cannot easily find on our own, and we need one another now more than ever.
I have traveled extensively across our offices, and no matter who I connect with around the globe, I see the same love for family and commitment to life outside of work in addition to the professional ambitions that we all share. Perhaps it will always be a stretch to think that we can “have it all,” but I believe our chances increase exponentially when we care for and rely on one another. This is what the Parents’ Network has always represented to me: it reflects the collaborative culture we strive for across the organization.
If you are new to Protiviti; if you are a new or expecting parent; if you find yourself in a place where you cannot get the cover that you need during this difficult time; I want to be clear that you are not alone.
I am proud to be Protiviti’s 2020 Working Father of the Year and proud every day to work with this incredible team – a team that feels like family, with team members who, time and again, empower each other in work and life.
Want to hear more from Protiviti Parents? Hear from our Working Mom of the Year here.
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