“[W]ork hard, parent hard and enjoy each and every moment – they grow up so fast.”
Jackie Doak is known to most as the President of Dart Real Estate, but at home, she’s just “Mom”.
Often described by her peers and employees as a superwoman, Jackie humbly concedes it isn’t easy juggling work and home. “With today’s technology and 24 hour connectivity, the concept of ‘work/life balance’ doesn’t exist; for me it’s work/life integration,” she said when asked how she fulfils the roles of president, wife and mother. “I carefully choose how I spend my time.”
Jackie, her husband, well-known local architect John Doak, and their children, 14-year-old Cameron and 12-year-old Jackson, face the same challenges as most other working parents, particularly finding quality time amidst the other demands of life.
Early on, John and Jackie agreed that when the children had week-long holidays during the school year and for three weeks in the summer they would take a trip. “We find travel allows us to be present and focus on family, it prevents us from getting caught up in our usual routine, checking emails or tackling the things to do around the house.” So what about the follow you everywhere technology? Jackie often places her phone in the hotel safe and family, friends and work (for emergencies) know they can reach her on John’s phone.
Jackie is a morning person, she enjoys seeing the sunrise, reading or getting some work done before the rest of the family wakes up. “We are fortunate that our children love going to school, they are both up and ready before 7am. I have friends that have a difficult start to their day, and it can make you very stressed which can spill over into your workday. Not for me; our morning routine is calm and we have found that breakfast is the new dinner. Although I try to leave the office at 5pm, that’s less controllable than my mornings, so we spend time together as they get ready and gather in the kitchen for breakfast. It really sets the tone for my day.”
While she’s busy leading a team of over 100 people at Dart Real Estate, Cameron and Jackson attend Cayman International School and have been with the school since it moved to Camana Bay 10 years ago. “They have grown up along with Camana Bay and experience first-hand the vision and results of my 14 years with the company developing the Town. Camana Bay facilitates my philosophy of work/life integration. I will be downstairs in a meeting room and I see the kids walking by as they head to the Town Centre with their friends. I am known to pause the meeting, pop out, give them hugs and talk about their day and then resume the meeting inspired by the spontaneous moments with the kids.”
Even though Jackie is focused on keeping her family at the centre of her own heart, she appreciates that it takes more than her own efforts to raise her children. “It takes a village. John is a great dad and their older siblings Johnny and Jaime are instrumental in their growth. As for the logistics of all that has to happen during the working day we have an awesome nanny and I have a strong network of moms and we all support each other.”
Jackie admits that when you’re in the moment, it’s easy to be critical and unsure if you’re doing it right, being a working mom. “Whether you are a working mom or a stay-at-home mom, we’re so hard on ourselves… and then one day as you look at your children, who are smart, kind, funny, polite and fiercely independent, you realise that you’re pretty good at it. So work hard, parent hard and enjoy each and every moment – they grow up so fast.”
Reflecting on her own childhood, Jackie shared that her parents divorced when she was very young. “It was hard for my mom, but she was an extremely strong woman and made her own way with two small children. I learned, and continue to learn a lot from her – I’ll always be grateful for that. Happy Mother’s Day to my mom and all the moms out there.”