By Valerie Vinyard
Doting on Daughter by Doing Kid Stuff
Tony Finley is a down-to-earth, affable sort of fellow who’s quick with a laugh.
He and his wife, Nicola, are the parent of 12-year-old Campbell “Cami,” who’s a sixth-grader at The Gregory School.
“I’m the cooler parent – I make things fun,” he said with a laugh. “Mommy has to do the heavy lifting. There are only so many times I have to say ‘no.’
“I don’t want to be the parent that tells her she can’t so something. I’d like her to choose already. She’s a very good kid to begin with.”
Finley helps make sure Cami remains a good kid by monitoring what computer games she plays – by playing them himself. Right now he’s playing “The Sims” on his phone to “make sure it’s appropriate,” he said. “I play the game and call it good parenting.”
Finley’s not sure who nominated him for Father’s Day Council 2019 Father of the Year, but he’s appreciative of the honor.
The 50-year-old dad grew up in Los Angeles and was the middle of three brothers. The 12-year CFO of Long Realty holds a degree in economics from University of California, Santa Barbara and an MBA from the University of Texas.
“My dad grew up in a different era, so it was harder,” said Finley when describing his life growing up. “Part of my philosophy is that I was going to be happy and make life a very positive experience for my daughter.”
Apparently, Cami agrees.
“Daddy understands what it’s like to be a kid,” she said. “He knew that I would like boogie boarding on the Flowrider (surf machine), and he did it with me.”
She added that her lanky father also is “really good at sports.” “Whenever I try out a new sport, he helps me,” she said. “I’m doing softball now and he took me to the batting cage – and we practice throwing inside the house.”
What seals it is that her dad is so likable.
“When we meet anyone (like a store clerk), he talks to them and you can see them smile,” she said.
Finley’s wife, Nicola, is lavish in her praise of her husband of 15 years.
“He is good at his job because he puts the interest of others first and is invested in others succeeding,” said Nicola, who works in integrative medicine at Canyon Ranch Tucson. “Tony is a great person in addition to being a great father. He is warm and thinks of our family first. He is so helpful that some of our friends call us ‘Team Finley’ because we share responsibility of parenting so well.”
Nicola appreciates her husband’s skill in math so he can help Cami with homework.
“I love the fact that he helps Cami with math since he is good with numbers,” she said. “I could help her with math, but he looks forward to reviewing her math homework. He loves coming up with creative ways to explain math.”
Finley thinks he has done a good job at teaching Cami to be level-headed and to be herself. “The best teaching is by example – by being a good husband and a good father,” he said.
“I hope she sees the way I do things and she does it right because it’s the right thing to do.”
Finley also does a fair job of impressing Cami. In 2017, his daughter watched her dad complete an Ironman triathlon in Phoenix, a grueling event that requires a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile run. Finley said Cami already stands at 5 feet, 5 inches, so there’s no telling what she’ll potentially accomplish in athletics.
But Finley cemented his hero status with Cami when it came to procuring tickets to the Taylor Swift concert. He participated in a promotion to get better seats, by watching hours of music videos for weeks.
“When he came home from work, he set up a computer with the Taylor Swift concert site up, muted the sound and repeatedly pressed play for the multiple videos,” Nicola said. “You only got credit up to a certain number of videos, so he kept track of videos for the given day. I’m not exaggerating – Tony watched 500 Taylor Swift videos over a period of weeks so we could get better seats.
“Even though he did such a good job getting us tickets, I didn’t ask him to go to the concert with us.”
That’s dad – always going the extra mile with a smile.