Tam Tran came home one night several years ago and heard his 7-year-old daughter crying. He went in to comfort her and ask what was wrong. “She said, ‘Daddy, I don’t see you anymore,’” Tran recalled.
It was that moment that prompted Tam, our Lead Dad of the Week, to begin rethinking how he was approaching work and what he wasn’t doing at home.
Tam lives outside of Los Angeles, with his wife Tiffany – who runs an e-commerce business – and their four children. He’s a West Point graduate who served in the Army for five years and then went to work in the oil and gas industry.
Having survived layoff after layoff in that industry, he always agreed to take on more responsibility, at one point managing two different oil fields. But it affected how he showed up for his family. “I was all about growth, but it didn’t quite fit with the homelife.”
The son of Vietnamese immigrants, he had always been driven to succeed. He embraced his West Point class motto: “never falter, never quit”.
But when his fourth child was born, shortly after he came home to his daughter crying, he began to make changes. He took all of his parental leave – 8 weeks – for the first time. He got reengaged with his family. The time also prompted soul searching.
“I always envisioned myself being focused as a dad,” he said. “That’s why I left the Army. I wanted to be an involved dad.”
Six months after his son was born, he left a career where he had been regularly promoted and rewarded. He knew it was a risk.
Today, Tam is a successful executive coach and the COO of The Huuman Group. “I have the ability to set my own schedule,” he said. “I can plan my coaching sessions around the pickups, the drop-offs, the activities.”
He’s also leaned in to being more open about his responsibilities as a Lead Dad. And he found that the more open he was about the importance of being a father and a husband the more coworkers and coaching clients opened up to him. No one thought he wasn’t a committed worker.
“It’s about values,” he said. “It’s who you are today vs. who you aspire to be. As a coach I bridge that gap.”
Best of all, he’s the dad he wanted to be. Welcome, Tam, to The Company of Dads!