Robert Hemsen

“Growing up I never wanted to be a Dad,” said Robert Hemsen, a husband and father of two boys. “Even when I started in corporate America, I didn’t understand why people left work to get their kids.”

Now, the long-time Pepsico executive and our Lead Dad of the Week has brought mathematical precision to the drop-off-to-office calculation. “If I have a meeting at 9 am, I know the school doors open at 8:24 am and it takes me 26 minutes to get to the office and 3 minutes to walk to my desk. So I can be on a Zoom at 9 am.”

Rob’s been doing this more since his wife got a promotion at Diageo. “The two best performance reviews I’ve gotten have been in the past few years,” he said. “It was at my wife’s highest elevation at work, and I’ve been doing more and more for the kids.”

Born in Rhode Island, raised in New Jersey, educated in New Hampshire, Rob and his family live in Riverside, Conn. But it was his wife’s promotion from a job in Chicago to one in Nashville, Tenn., that established him nearly a decade ago as a Lead Dad – and pushed him to be honest with his managers.
Pepsi had an office in Chicago so transferring there had been easy, but they didn’t have an office in Nashville. At the time, his account was Target, which is based in Minnesota, so he asked to work remotely back when few people did. He had two bosses – one said no, the other said yes, and it worked. To this day, he remains grateful for the boss, a father, who understood that doing his job and supporting his wife were not mutually exclusive. “This company has been so great to me,” Rob said.

When his wife’s next promotion brought them back to the New York area – Pepsico is based in Purchase, N.Y. – he was able to move to a hybrid work schedule.

“When we got married, I had no idea where this was going to go,” he said. “This has worked out so well.”
It helps that his focus is on his family and his work, not what others think. “I went to the parent coffee this year, and it was all ladies except for me,” he chuckled. “It was like, ‘Who is this weirdo who is standing here?’ It’s just rolling with the punches. My wife and I have an understanding that one of us is going to be here.”

We applaud that quiet confidence. It’s a model for every father. And we’re proud to welcome Rob to The Company of Dads.