Kurt Gies is in his fourth season with the Philadelphia 76ers, currently working as the team’s Senior Social Media Manager. He is responsible for directing the digital team, which involves the ideation, creation and distribution of content across all social media and digital platforms. Kurt travels to about 20 away games per season, plus playoffs, summer league, and the draft and digital conferences throughout the year, which results in more than 40 total days away from home each year.
Name: Kurt Gies
Location: Outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Job: Senior Social Media Manager for the Philadelphia 76ers
Family: My wife, Amanda; one-year-old daughter, Hazel; and eight-year-old dog, Roo
Has becoming a parent changed the way you work?
Becoming a parent has changed just about the way I do everything. When it comes to work, it’s made me want to work harder and be better to provide a better life for her and make her proud, but it’s also put everything into perspective for me. It’s easy to get caught up in work, especially something as demanding as my job, but at the end of the day it’s just a job and my daughter, my wife, my family… that’s what’s most important.
Do you have any special family rituals?
We have these very tall, almost floor-to-ceiling windows in the front of our house and every morning when I leave for work, our daughter stands at the window and waves… and I wave back… then she smiles… then I smile back at her… then she laughs… and I laugh… then I walk to the car and turn around and wave emphatically back… and she does the same. It probably takes me an additional 15 minutes to leave, but it always starts my day off right.
How do you divide household/childcare responsibilities with your partner?
I feel like we do a pretty good job of dividing and conquering. I work odd hours and am on the road pretty frequently, so my goal is always to take on as many responsibilities to give my wife, who’s a stay-at-home mum, a break when I’m home. Luckily, the 76ers are very family-friendly and recognise our hours and travel, so I’m able to work from home, and go in later to pitch in around the house and spend as much time as I can with our daughter. Even before Hazel was born, our motto has always been GSD… Get Stuff Done. Doesn’t matter how, just get down to it and get it done, and we’ve stayed pretty true to that.
What tips or tricks do you have for staying connected while you’re away?
Technology is really a beautiful thing sometimes. FaceTime is essential for us. We’ve been doing it ever since I started travelling again when Hazel was three months old. It went from really just fulfilling my needs to talk to my wife and see Hazel to now her grabbing the phone and looking at me and babbling to me and waving goodbye when we’re done.
What are the gadgets, apps, charts or tools you rely on?
Funny that the digital / social media guy and his family doesn’t use any gadgets, apps, charts or tools but we’re pretty old-fashioned. My wife uses a little chalkboard in our kitchen to write out the week’s dinner schedule. We have a 76ers magnet on our fridge to keep track of all the games and a free Humane Society calendar on our fridge to track appointments, travel dates, the dog’s medicine and anything else that can be written with a Sharpie.
What do you want your daughter to learn from your example?
It may be an odd one but perspective. I’m not perfect, but I always try to stay pretty even; not too high, not too low and I think it’s really important to keep everything in perspective. Whether it be what’s happening at school or work or out in the world or on social media… nothing is the end of the world.
What’s your favourite part of the day?
Coming home. It’s probably an obvious answer, but when I get home each day our daughter is so excited and turns into a little ball of energy, yelling “Dada!” and running around the house, smiling, laughing, bringing me books to read and climbing all over me. It’s the best.
What is the one thing you would tell other parents who are juggling a career?
Similar to my answer about perspective: When you strip back all the layers of life, remember what’s most important… and it’s not work.