Alexis Ohanian took 16 weeks parental leave to ‘show up’ for Serena Williams and Olympia

Alexis Ohanian opens up about the importance of "showing up" for your partner. (Photo11: Paul Kane, Getty Images)

Alexis Ohanian has made a lot of important decisions in his life: marrying tennis great Serena Williams, creating Reddit and taking parental leave after the birth of his daughter.

In an essay he wrote for Glamour in which he discussed how he keeps the romance alive in his marriage, the Reddit co-founder said oftentimes it was the “simpler things,” like showing up for his partner and family, that mattered most.

“My understanding of showing up and being present for my wife was taken to a whole new level when Olympia was born,” wrote Ohanian. “I was able to take 16 weeks of paid leave from Reddit, and it was one of the most important decisions I’ve made.”

Ohanian and Williams welcomed their first child together, daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., on Sep. 1, 2017.

The CEO recognized his privilege in being able to take time off and not have to worry about jeopardizing his job and is trying to change the stigma around taking parental leave. 

“Many fathers in this country are not afforded the privilege of parental leave. And even when they are, there is often a stigma that prevents them from doing so,” Ohanian wrote. “I see taking leave as one of the most fundamental ways to ‘show up’ for your partner and your family, and I cherished all 16 weeks I was able to take.”

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2009 (freshfaced) on stage at @ted giving a talk about @reddit. 2019 (bearded with many grays) after countless speaking appearances, my toughest crowd is now convincing @olympiaohanian that raspberries alone are not a complete meal. In between these photos, I left Reddit, started some other companies, wrote a bestselling book, returned to help lead the Reddit turnaround, left again in order to do @initialized full-time, married the incomparable @serenawilliams, and — my proudest achievement yet — co-created this little human. Not a bad decade. I cannot wait for the next 10 years. #DadThings #10yearchallenge

A post shared by Alexis Ohanian Sr. (@alexisohanian) on

He added that just because his 16 weeks of parental leave were up didn’t mean he stopped being a “full-time” dad, he just pivoted to being a “business dad.” This means taking Olympia to work, working remotely and spending the day with his daughter when Williams has a busy schedule.

In addition to co-founding Reddit, Ohanian also co-founded early-stage venture capital firm Initialized Capital and has helped launch other startups.

“My partners at Initialized are used to seeing Olympia jump on camera — along with her doll Qai Qai — or hearing her babbling on a call. I tell them with pride, ‘Olympia’s at work today!’ Ohanian wrote.

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That feeling… like you're forgetting something…

A post shared by Alexis Olympia Ohanian, Jr. (@olympiaohanian) on

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