Everyone knows being a parent is a full-time job. When you are managing your career, entrepreneurship, and three kids, you learn a thing or two about time management — especially, if you have to care for one of your children around the clock. That is the case for Dominique and Donovan Boyd whose youngest child and only daughter Drue was born with a rare heart disease.
In 2016, Drue Boyd became the newest addition to the Boyd family and the reason they had to reprioritize their lives. She was born with one blood vessel opposed to the two most people are born with. The condition is known as truncus arteriosus or congenital heart disease.
In short, the Boyd’s have learned the essence of work-life balance. Donovan Sr. has written about it extensively as a way to help parents manage all the aspects of family and business in his book Clock Management, which is dedicated to Drue and expounds on the lessons their journey has taught them.
“I wrote Clock Management as a result of being more present with family and having to play a major role in Drue’s care, as the condition requires trusted around-the-clock care. I dedicated this book to Drue because she’s the strongest person I know. Ultimately, if she has the courage to keep fighting through her illness, then I could have the courage to pursue my business full time so I can control what my life looks like; and as parents, we had to make sure she knows she’s not fighting alone—that we’re fighting for her through pursuing and providing the best opportunities available,” says Donovan.
Family comes first
By day, he is a marketing coach, author, brand consultant, and BE Modern Man. His wife is a human resources professional. As a team, they work relentlessly together to make sure they both advance professionally — despite transitions and challenges that arise. That is why Donovan left his 9-to-5.
“I wanted my next title to include my family and what I was experiencing during that time of being around my children more. I spent so much time away from them working a job I was missing precious moments in their lives. I believe God used Drue to help me understand what was important, I think he used her to sit me down to help me re-prioritize my life and to help me put into perspective what is important and that’s family and not slaving for someone else’s company.”
As a millennial mom who is climbing the corporate, Dominique has experienced unique work challenges. She candidly spoke about an experience she had with a manager after sharing personal details, regarding Drue’s health conditions during the Black Men XCEL Lunch & Discussion: “Busting the Corporate Pipeline: Meet the Next Generation of Black Leaders” presented by JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Honesty is the best policy, but it works both ways
“I applied for a promotion in a brand new department that was being started. My supervisor at the time was sad to see me leave, but gave me such a great recommendation that I did not need to interview in person. I was offered the job and I accepted. What I did not know was that my old supervisor had informed my new supervisor about my daughter. When my new supervisor brought up job expectations and my work accommodations, she also mentioned my daughter. My mouth dropped. I did not want her to have that information. I did not know her well enough and I did not want her thinking I could not do my job because of that. I immediately let her know that my daughter has never held me back from accomplishing anything in life and I am a stronger employee because of her.”
Dominique was rightfully in shock, and just five weeks after that experience she was met with disappointment. She was told she received a strong recommendation from a regional director to become the president of the African American Business Resource Group at her company, but was blocked from the opportunity because of Drue’s health condition.
“My heart was broken and that was the first time in my life I was hit with the reality that people will try to decide for you what you can and cannot do based on the information they have about you so it is best to keep it to yourself,” says Dominique.
Donovan adds, “For Dominique, keeping appointments comes at risk of not being able to step up and be in leadership positions. We’ve successfully implemented a system that will allow us to effectively raise our children and pursue our business interests. The system came with trial and error and it was not easy and it came with great sacrifice.”
Setbacks are setups for step ups
Despite the heartbreak and disappoints, Dominique continues to kick down doors, and she’s working towards a new certification in her field.
“To the women struggling to move up and further your career because of a limitation someone else has put on you, just know that it does not define you. Keep pushing!”
As a part of that system they make time to help other parents and parentpreneurs who live similar lives.
“If you’re reading this, you are not alone! Juggling career and family can be trying to say the least. Add a sick child, and sometimes life can feel hopeless! But there is hope and it can be done. If you have the resources, do the research to become totally informed about whatever you’re going through, and do not let anyone make you feel like getting a second opinion is wrong because you have to do what’s best for your child as you are their only advocate.”
In spring 2019, the Boyd’s will be relocating to Houston, Texas, to be closer to the number one children’s hospital for pediatric cardiology. They are excited about their fresh start.
If you’re interested in learning how you can find more balance in your everyday life — or if you’re looking to support black business owners this holiday season — pick up “Clock Management: A Parent’s Guide to Managing Family and Business” and 100% of the proceeds will go towards Drue’s medical expenses.