With the work and responsibility that Gov. Ralph Torres is faced with every single day, one would think that he wrestles and struggles to balance work and life. Living in the public eye can have different effects but Torres said that no matter what, family comes first.
“My schedule is very hectic everyday and my wife Diann is a big factor in reminding me to prioritize our children. She reminds me that if we do not put our children as our priority, they will grow up and I will be missing a big part of their growth and journey,” he said.
“With that, I make sure that there is balance in doing my work as governor and my responsibility as a father. Time with the children is important to me so I make sure that my calendar is marked for any of their school functions. When there are government functions on the weekends, I tend to take them with me,” he added.
As a father, Torres is very intentional and present in the lives of his six children—Ralph Jr., Vaniqa, Deon, Tristan, Divannie, and Ryan.
“When we go home we actually just lie down together, laugh, and hang out. I have dates with the girls, like we go out watch a movie and the boys we take them fishing, we take them to the beach or farm to just hang out. After school, I take them out to get ice cream and hang out.
“Wednesday is when our nannies take the day off and, in the evening, the whole family is together. …I am responsible for bringing the kids to school so that drive time is there, personal time with daddy. I am a hands-on dad in school functions, awards, ceremonies, games,” he added.
Torres lives up his role as a father based on how his own parents raised him and his siblings.
“Growing up, [we were] a regular family. They…worked two jobs. They argued, don’t get me wrong, but one thing that we never lacked was love and respect. That kind of set and laid down the foundation of all our family goals and priorities,” he said.
“Our love and respect for each other will always be there and that overshadows the negative part. In the end, we sit and talk about our issues as brothers and sister. Together with my wife Diann, we instill these in our kids, no matter how young they are,” he added.
Putting pressure on their children as to what they ought to be when they grow up is not part of Torres’ parenting style.
“We are just simple people, we just want to see our children grow, work hard, and wish them the best in what they want to become as we encourage them during the process. I don’t think Diann and I will ever tell our children what they ought to be. What we want is to encourage them to be the best in what they want to be, regardless of what occupation, because every occupation is important,” he said.
“We want to enjoy the children as they grow and enjoy each other as we grow older. We are always there for our kids, teaching them the right things. …When people ask me about wealth. I tell them that monetary-wise, I am as poor as one can be, but in terms of love and respect, we have an abundance at home and I consider that we are wealthy in that aspect,” he added.
Family is the reason why Jim Arenovski, president of Delta Management Corp. and Island Training Solutions, has been in business for 20 years now.
“Family is why I work so hard at my business, although at times my kids may have felt I could have been home more…Family is first but there are times and situation where business issue require my personal attention. I am fortunate to have a team at work who are experienced and trained to handle most issues,” he said.
Arenovski’s children are mostly on their own. His eldest daughter, Amy, graduated last December with a Business Management degree from Boise State University in Idaho and now lives in China, while Nicole will be a senior at the University of Nevada, Reno.
“My journey had a lot of turns, ups and downs. I want my kids to follow a path and have aspirations, but also understand that changing course and taking unplanned opportunities is what makes life exciting,” he said.
“Perseverance is key as life is hard and being in the habit of quitting makes life even harder. Of course, when situations and people become too much, you have to make a move,” he added.
Arenovski is proud of being a husband and a father. “I am most proud of my 20-plus years marriage to the love of my life, Jill, and that we have raised two wonderful young women who are making contributions of their own to our world.”
McDonald’s president and owner Joe C. Ayuyu loves spending time with his family.
“It’s a challenge, especially with a company that is one of the largest in the Marianas, so it’s been very difficult but when I have the chance I really take it… From time to time, we go on vacations and that’s my way of spending time with the children. That time is strictly being with them and not mixing with business,” he said
“I fly back and forth from Saipan to Guam and despite the fact that I am very busy, I do try my very best to spend time with my youngest daughter, Maria. She’s 15 and the only one living with us and my two granddaughters. I am supposed to fly back to Guam today but I said to myself the weekend is coming so I will just spend time with the children,” he added.
When a business matter and family matter compete for Ayuyu’s attention, the latter is the priority.
“Family is always important as we need to take care of issues in the family. A lot of family issues are not difficult to take care of so I prioritize that way. After that is settled, the business comes second. A long time ago, when I started my career in business, I made it a priority but, as you become older, you start to realize that family comes first,” he said.
“But being focused on the business doesn’t mean one wants to make a lot of money. A lot of it has to do with responsibility. Having up to 450 employees altogether is a big responsibility because these employees have been working a long time and they all depend on me for their livelihood. Some business people would take it to the extreme but I try to balance that because I also have to take care of my family.”
Ayuyu’s No. 1 goal for his children is a good education.
“Just like other parents, we want our children to finish high school and, at the minimum, finish college, because nowadays when you don’t have a college degree it is difficult to grow in your chosen profession…I am the first one in my family to graduate from college so I see the importance of it,” he said.
“I am grateful to my children for following my recommendation, to stay away from trouble and now help with the business,” he added.
If there is an important life lesson Ayuyu wants to impart to his children, that would be to become good people.
“I want them to be nice to other people, to be humble, especially since my children are working in the business. People know you, so you don’t have to show off. I came from a poor family but it just shows it doesn’t matter where you come from, as long as you have the determination,” he said.
“I always tell my children that the community made me successful. That means when I am successful, I have to go back to the community and help them out. You can see that with my children, like my son Joe is not only running the business, but is also the chairman of the Liberation Day committee…and this is the kind of stuff I teach my children: Be involved with the community because the community needs you,” he added.
For Ayuyu, building his company with his children is the legacy he wants to fulfill.
“I am building a business that can support their life in the future and if they want to join me in this journey with the business into the future, they are more than welcome to join me. Most of them are with me except one who is in the mainland, but they like the trip that I am making in terms of getting them involved in the business,” he said.
“With that, I am a happy camper and if I were to say one concern, I have to watch myself because I am very demanding and I just hope that I don’t burn out my children. …I try to make it fun for them…and my hope is that they continue the good work that they do and nurture the business that we work hard to build together as a family,” he added.