CEOs / Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Aaron Zelman, Joint CEO & Co-Founder at Willed

Aaron Zelman is the Joint CEO & Co-Founder at Willed, a company making end-of-life services easier, friendlier, faster and more far more affordable for Australians young and old.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

I joined ANZ’s graduate program back in 2001 which led me to a career in life insurance and financial advice. I was self employed for many years before co-founding Willed in 2019 where I am joint-CEO.

2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

My day is highly diverse and can include team meetings, investor presentations, pouring over financials, automating processes, pitching to corporate partners and can even include calls and chats with our retail customers (whatever it takes!). I try not to have more than 3 meetings on any given day but things always come up.

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

Living in Melbourne and having 4 kids and a partner who have all had COVID at different times means I’ve had to work remotely for a good chunk of the last 2 years. There are pros and cons of course.

I generally like remote work but in a fast growing start-up there is a big need to collaborate in real time and I find video conference and chat can sometimes be more obstructive than just calling out to a colleague a few metres away.

4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

I enjoy working so sometimes ‘life’ can seem to get in the way! That said, work-life balance for me is about feeling happy and stimulated whatever the balance may comprise. 

5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

My wife and I try to walk our cavoodle Dash every day. She works at all hours herself so that really helps us to stay on the same page and properly communicate.

6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

Making music is my happy place and I recommend the podcasts Strong Songs and Switched on Pop as well as the Youtube show Professional Musicians React. 

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

Literally, I could not live without my type 1 diabetes apps including my insulin pump! I’d say that Youtube is a product that is so incredibly helpful and informative that I’d really struggle without it (as would my kids!).

8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?  

I do wonder how Mark Zuckerberg learned Mandarin in his spare time. I’d love to read how he actually spends his time.

9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

I suppose that as a parent of teenagers I’d like to stress that investing time and effort in their early years is both crucial and rewarding (even if it feels overwhelming and exhausting). Try to enjoy it while it lasts.

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.