For Father's Day this year we interviewed one of our favorite couples, Kiah and Anna Jordan. Kiah is Parker Clay's CFO and the Jordans are great friends with our Co-Founders, Brittany and Ian. Between writing for Coffee & Crumbs and managing multiple financial ventures, the Jordans sat down with us to answer some questions about parenting, fatherhood, and the balance of it all!
Tell us a bit about your story and your family!
It’s a tale as old as time: we met, we fell in love, we got married at lightning speed.
We went to a bunch of wineries and read a lot of books and went on some great vacations -- then we had kids. We adopted our oldest son through foster care in Santa Barbara County, and then (surprise!) had two little girls the old-fashioned way. We still read lots of books, but now we drink wine at home and spend our weekends at soccer games and skate parks. Collectively, we love cheese plates, fancy olives, popcorn, and donuts. We spend a lot of time outside and seem to compulsively play “Would You Rather.” We’re so thankful for the kids we get to raise, and most of the time we’re pinching ourselves because we feel so lucky to be parents to these adorable, wild people (and the other part of the time we’re trying to get the kids to stop pinching each other because, you know, that’s part of life too).
Kiah carrying the Rincon Backpack at Disneyland
What is your favorite Parker Clay product and how do you love to use it?
We love and use the Rincon Backpack constantly. It’s our go-to bag for everything from beach days to Disneyland. It can fit all of our water bottles, bunches of snacks, sunscreen, jackets, and a blanket or several woven towels. Not only is it functional, but it looks great (we get compliments on it everywhere regardless of which one of us is wearing it).
Questions with Kiah:
Besides being the CFO of Parker Clay as well as managing other business ventures - you’re a father to three great kiddos, how do you find balance between work and family?
Honestly, it’s hard. I’d like to say it’s a phase and that working until midnight every night won’t be forever, but I’ve been doing it since 2002… Fortunately, I really enjoy the work I’m doing and the time I spend with my family. I try to make it home every night for dinner and to put my kids to bed, but if I have to work late at the office I strive not to do it two nights in a row.
We are sure that you’ve learned a lot from being a dad -- but what is one learning experience that you’ve been thinking about lately?
When I was 8 or 9 years old my dad would have to leave on Sunday nights to go practice with the music team from our church. I hated going to bed on those nights knowing my dad wasn’t home - I think my emotions were a mix of fear and emptiness. I often think about what my kids might be feeling, but can’t express in words or actions, which just highlights the importance and impact of my words and actions in their lives.
With Father’s Day in mind, what is your message to fathers out there?
Don’t try to raise your kids with the skills to succeed in the world you grew up in. Teach them how to work hard and never stop learning, so they can thrive in the world they will grow up in.
What is a vital lesson or mindset that you want to impart to your kids?
Most often we never know what another person is going through, so be slow to judge and quick to care for someone who is in need.
You are a fundamental part of the foundation of Parker Clay. From a father’s perspective why did initially you invest in the company?
Although most of the work I do is purpose-driven, Parker Clay has a very clear and understandable impact narrative. I hope that the investment of time, energy, and resources displays to not just my kids, but others as well that we must engage locally and globally if we want to see the world become a better place for all that live in it.
Do you have a special memory of your father from your childhood?
My dad bought me a glove and baseball when I was in kindergarten, when we lived in Seattle. We went to a Mariner’s game and Ken Griffey, Jr. knocked a foul ball just above our seats, right after my dad yelled, “This one’s for you, Kiah!” Even though soccer became my sport of choice and I never chose to play on a baseball team, we would still play catch in the yard until I was a teenager. I will never forget the joy I had throwing that baseball with my dad.
Kiah's graduation from USC Marshall School of Business in Social Entrepreneurship in 2016.
Questions with Anna:
How would you describe Kiah as a father?
I call Kiah the celebrity parent (as in, he is the one our kids are most excited about and I am… pretty basic). He works a lot, but when he walks in the door it’s like a movie star arrived. The kids will drop everything and mob him, and he is always excited to see them and engage with them. He spends a lot of time playing with them, reading to them, making them special waffles on Saturday mornings. He wrestles with them and throws them up in the air -- sometimes higher than onlookers are comfortable with -- but I can’t imagine a scenario where he wouldn’t catch them, and I know the kids can’t either.
We went to the La Brea Tar Pits as a family last year, and at one point during our excursion the kids started thinking about what would happen if they got stuck in the tar. They all agreed that Kiah would save them. They’re right; he totally would.
If it’s Saturday morning pancakes or Monday movies, what is one of your favorite Santa Barbara family activities?
Our family regularly goes “adventuring” around Santa Barbara. Sometimes, we head out to Ellwood Butterfly Grove to eat hotdogs on the bluff looking out on the water, or we put a few burritos in a backpack and enjoy them on the trail at Lake Los Carneros. Usually, we just wander around climbing trees and catching lizards. More often than not it’s exactly as magical as it sounds (which is to say, it’s medium magical, mostly regular, someone usually cries about something, but we’re together and can always try to make it fun no matter what).
We also go to Crushcakes Cafe for coffee and pastries every Sunday after church. Their Earth Bread is a family fave, and the kids love to play cornhole or color outside on the patio. This weekly tradition is all of our favorite.
You’re a writer for Coffee and Crumbs where you share about parenthood. Tell us one of your favorite moments from watching Kiah be a father?
One of my favorite memories of Kiah as a father took place in the hospital shortly after our middle daughter, Vivienne, was born. I’d handed a tightly swaddled Vivi to Kiah and went into the bathroom to take a shower. When I emerged (refreshed and clean for the first time post-labor) I saw them cuddled together in a rocking chair: Kiah had unswaddled our tiny 6-pound baby girl and had tucked her little body into his shirt. I loved seeing him rocking her skin-to-skin with her nose nestled into his neck.
What are your best Father’s Day tip for dads?
Father’s Day, like any holiday, can come with a mixed bag of emotions. Sometimes this day is tinged with sadness from the loss of a father or a broken relationship with a dad. Some Father’s Days are particularly sweet, like those with a new baby. Don’t shy away from the sentiments or emotions of the day. Take the time you need to acknowledge where you’re at. Spend the time with people you love. Eat something delicious. But mostly, remember that Father’s Day doesn’t have to look or feel or be any certain way. The Internet is filled with visions of what Father’s Day and fatherhood “should” look like, but who cares? Live your life. Stop reading this and go do something cool with your kids.