Fatherhood Interview: Shereef Hosny talks fatherhood and flexible working
ParentFolk talks to Shereef Hosny, development manager for Toddler Fun Learning, about fatherhood, flexible working and finding the work life balance.
The role of dads is changing, and not before time. In the past, many were a family’s sole breadwinner, while mums had little choice but to stay at home. Nowadays, just as many women want to pursue their careers outside the home, and dads are keen to be actively involved in raising their children.
Shereef Hosny is one such dad. As development manager for Toddler Fun Learning, his days are spent working on creative, educational and enjoyable programmes for children. But he’s keen to make sure it’s always balanced with looking after his daughter Alela, two, and soon his son, expected any day.
“I am a massive advocate for flexible working and can see why it has become so much more widespread in recent years,” Shereef explains. “Having flexibility is hugely empowering and in my experience, it increases focus and improves output.
“Flexible working allows for balance for both parents and promotes a move away from an over reliance on mothers for childcare. Practically this means, at the very least, sharing pick-ups and drop-offs at nursery and being home in time for bath time. Having more quality time with Alela has unquestionably strengthened my relationship with her.”
Working at Toddler Fun Learning – founded by parents Amalie and Christian Hughes – allows Shereef and his family a more progressive approach to work/life balance.
“As a team of parents, we have a feedback council made up of our own kids who run the rule over all our content – and believe me our team of little critics are not afraid to give their truthful assessments,” he laughs.
“This regular feedback gives us a real insight into what works for them, which in turn helps us to shape the content for our audience of future leaders. “I feel that I have found my calling – it almost feels as though I have designed my dream job. My daughter also thinks it’s pretty ace that her dad ‘makes cartoons’ for a living.”
Shereef and his wife Steph were already fans of Toddler Fun Learning before he joined the team.
“Toddler Fun Learning had been on my radar for several years,” he says. “Before I joined the team, it had been my go to YouTube channel to watch with my nieces. “I loved the fact that in a galaxy of poor quality content aimed at young children there was content out there that was engaging, fun and at the end of every episode they had learnt something new.
To discover that this incredible company was based on my doorstep gave me the incentive to make my approach and see how we could work together. Toddler Fun Learning is a truly global business we have over 230,000 subscribers and over 200 million views on our YouTube channel alone. We recently launched our ad-free app at the ParentFolk summer weekender which has a rapidly growing subscriber base.”
“It’s a very exciting time to be part of the Toddler Fun Learning family at such a pivotal time of its growth. We have so much planned for 2018 and I am enjoying every second of this adventure.”
Shereef began his career in law, working in private legal practice in a civil litigation department where he managed a team of more than 50 people. From there he went to Liverpool agency Mashbo, working as Studio Ambassador, before becoming Operations Manager at Can Cook in south Liverpool.
“I was immensely proud to have been part of a team that distributed over 23,000 meals to hungry families around Liverpool,” he says. “When I left the role, I was asked to join its board of directors and enjoy continuing to make a positive impact to families in difficulty.”
Shereef is clear that becoming a dad has had a positive impact on the way he works.
“Becoming a father is just such a game changer in terms of priorities and perspectives,” he explains. “In many ways being a dad to our little hurricane Alela is the greatest and most rewarding challenge of them all.
“Being so happy in my work life can only be a positive when it comes to being the best dad I can possibly be. I am unquestionably happier and more enthused now than I have ever been before and I put that in no small part down to having found a hugely fulfilling job which affords me more time and space for my number one priority, which is my family.”
Working flexible means he’s also been able to achieve some other ambitions along the way too.
“There has been a noticeable trend of people in my network setting up on their own,” he says. “I tend to work four days a week, which has allowed me to provide support to some of them. One such supportive role is adhoc commercial services to Skeleton Key Records, a record label set up by James Skelly from the Coral to support local and emerging talent. Music has always been a major passion of mine and I’d never have had the opportunity – or energy – to do this in my previous 9-5 Monday to Friday roles. Back at home we have created space for Family Fridays where we try to have some fun together before the weekend madness ensues. I know how precious these early years are and feel very fortunate to have established genuine balance between my professional and personal life.”