Changemakers of the Agency: Jareth Cheng
March 29, 2023
Jareth Cheng, Senior Manager
Joined: June 2020
Let’s face it – we are going to need all hands on deck for us to move towards a more inclusive and equal world for everyone, regardless of gender or background. That’s why our final #IWD2023 changemaker is Jareth Cheng, who isn’t just a kick-ass senior manager, but also a dedicated husband and father to a baby girl.
Most working parents will tell you that the journey isn’t easy, but having flexible work arrangements have allowed him and his wife to be present for their daughter’s special moments. In his words, that makes all the challenges they’ve faced worth it.
In a world that may not always be the kindest to women, Jareth shares how he supports his wife on their brand new parenting journey, and how he’s playing his part in building a better world for his daughter.
Tell us more about your journey in parenthood as a working father.
It’s a struggle. Every day, all I want to do is spend time with my daughter (as tiring as it is), but that’s not an option. It is not as challenging now as in the beginning, but there are still times where tough choices and sacrifices have to be made.
I can’t really imagine what it was when flexible working arrangements were not a thing. I’m already pretty lucky that both my wife and I have jobs that provide flexibility, and that we are surrounded by understanding colleagues. This has certainly helped us balance our responsibilities as parents and employees.
At the end of the day, being a parent is a choice, and there’s nothing quite like seeing your child grow and develop.
How do you and your wife support each other in your personal and professional journeys?
We try our best.
We come from different backgrounds and have quite contrasting personalities – anyone who knows us can attest to this – and this often leads to varying, if not conflicting, perspectives. But I think that we just try to communicate as best we can – we are communicators after all, haha! – and do our best to empathise with one another.
At some level we both understand that things will change, and we will not always ‘get’ where the other person is coming from, but that’s okay. As cliché as it sounds, it’s comforting to know that there’s always someone in your corner supporting you, no matter what you do. That’s the least, but sometimes the most, we can do.
Tell us more about your wife and other female figures in your life who have shaped who you are.
There are many who have influenced who I am today. I can’t really point out any major events or milestones, but what I do know is that those closest to me are those that I have to appreciate the most, as they’ve given me the space to learn at my own pace, and make my own mistakes.
Meanwhile, my wife and I very different – she’s an ENFJ, I’m an INTP. This somehow works out, as our varying personalities mean that we approach challenges from different starting points. While this does lead to some disagreements, it ultimately also ensures that we cover each other’s blind spots.
How are you shaping a more inclusive future for your daughter?
There will always be prejudice and biases, but my hope is that I’m able to teach my daughter to understand and recognise such behaviours. This, of course, starts with me and my actions – and being cognisant of my own behaviour and how seemingly harmless actions can be a negative influence.
There is only so much that one can control – but the one thing I’d like to achieve is for my daughter to be confident just being herself. As Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet: ‘This above all: to thine own self be true’.