In the first of our collaboration with U.S. Polo Assn. spotlighting some of the most-known successful men in Egypt, we talk to Hassan Abaza about style, balancing business with parenthood and playing with his son Momo...
Only in his 30s, Hassan Abaza is the Managing Director of Rimedia Events and a proud family man. Stylish, elegant, and with the sophistication only a father could have, we meet up with him at his Mohandessin office, where he’s bouncing his two-and-a-half-year-old son Momo on his lap, as we team up with US Polo to find out what it means to be a father in this day and age…
How did having children change your personal and professional life?
When it comes to my personal life, it has made me so much more responsible. Back in the day you could afford to not care, to be wild, but now, there are obvious responsibilities. I worry about him, I worry about myself. Interestingly with work it really motivates you, you want to give him everything, you look at his future before you look at yours. Your own future no longer matters and his begins, you are now working towards your kids’ future. It changed me. I am a different Hassan; calmer, there’s now something in my life I love more than anything. Any decision I make Momo pops in my head. I really feel a sense of fatherhood...Momo and I...well Momo is very important to me.
You talk about him as if he were your friend…
I’m a father and a friend, I will be there for him and help him all the way. I expect he will get into trouble as we all did but I will raise him by teaching him not punishing him.
If you could go back in time, how would you prepare for fatherhood?
I was never prepared (laughs). I never expected this – this love. When Momo came he changed my life. I always loved children but not to such an extent.
What is the biggest lesson you learned from your own father?
I was always so curious to the extent that my father was overprotective because he loved me. I didn’t understand it but now that I have Momo, I get it. Every time I love Momo is every time I remember my own father and why he would do what he did. Even the things my dad would do in front of my friends, I now do with Momo; it was so interesting for me to find myself involuntarily doing what my father would do with me.
So you became your father?
Yes, I would hope so, he is my idol in everything.
How would you feel having Momo see you as his idol?
That is what I want and what I am working for. I do not want to disappoint him.
How do you balance work and family?
Simple: I don’t put myself under stress, I am flexible, I do not want crazy work hours. I mean you only live once. I can skip a meeting to sit with Momo. (Laughs) I may go as far as not taking Momo to nursery and keeping him at home with me – of course that’s wrong but once in a blue moon is fine. I refuse to allow work to interfere between Momo and me. But also keep in mind my work is pretty flexible anyway.
Is it more important to teach or play with your son?
Both. You can do both. You can play with your kid whilst teaching him as well so it’s about making him happy but getting him to learn at the same time. That way he will enjoy learning. You can always compromise.
How do you see yourself in your son?
(Hassan’s eyes twinkle) Well, he has my same left dimple...I am very proud of that. My wife and I get into debates about who he looks like more. I feel like I’m watching myself as a kid when I look at Momo.
How important is image in your industry?
It is important for my industry. But personally I don’t care. I will wear what I want when I want I don’t care for what people say. It’s all about confidence. If you have confidence you’re dressed well that’s my rule.
What are your style essentials?
Classics. I can get the cool and funky but I always fall back on the classic look. Just as I keep balance in my life I like balance with my wardrobe. I like suits. I mean, it’s about what I’m feeling – I may decide to wake up and want to wear a suit...so I’ll put on my best suit, that simple.
What's more important for a busy businessman - comfort or style?
Comfort. And again what I’m feeling – even if I have a meeting with a minister I will dress well but comfortably. Besides you shouldn’t be judged by what you’re wearing.
20 years from now - where do you imagine your son?
I want him to do what he wants to do, if he wants to be a cab driver, I don’t mind. As long as he is happy and comfortable. If he has passion for something he will do well. If I push him to do something he doesn’t want I will be ruining his life.
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