Adele Moynihan is the Director of Recruiting at global VC & startup generator Antler. She was part of the team that launched early stage VC Antler into Australia.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
Inline with the unofficial rule of working in talent acquisition in Australia I am from the UK. There, I spent 6 years in an executive search company specialising in senior and technical hires into FinTechs, this ranged from established banks like Barclays to then scaling startups such as Braintree.
Arriving in Australia I joined now unicorn SafetyCulture in its scale-up phase going from 70 – 150 employees in six months.
From that I became fascinated with startups so joined BCG Digital Ventures, the corporate venturing arm of management consulting company BCG where in my one and a half years we built four companies from scratch.
My role was to put in place the founding team that took over from the BCGDV team when the new startup was incorporated. Then, I met Bede Moore who told me a new global early stage VC was being built and he was looking to form the team to launch Sydney.
I jumped at the chance and in my current role as Director of Recruiting I source the founders for our biannual programs. This means twice a year identifying and securing 80 – 100 people capable of building VC backable businesses.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
My role is centered around people. I am either interviewing for our upcoming program or setting the strategy for our next recruiting drive so it is very cyclical.
I am also very involved with the founders as part of our programs, supporting them on how to navigate finding a co-founder and other parts of early stage business creation. My days are essentially filled with conversations with potential or current founders all centered on building companies.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
Well, certainly post Covid! Like most offices we went remote early, an environment I found myself thrive in and maybe surprisingly as I am an extrovert. Conducting interviews virtually I found removed biases and also made the conversations more focused.
The main outcome though was that I gained something I had previously never thought possible, I was able to take my young girls to school everyday and do well in my job simultaneously. Before I had believed that to be a choice I had to make.
I am now fortunate that we have returned to the office three days a week so I can maintain a couple of days able to do the school run and enjoy that extra time with my children.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
When we were launching Antler into Australia it was a crazy time, a lot of hustle and leveraging everything we all had. I found that rewarding but unsustainable.
Now, work-life balance is essential to me. I also believe in my role, as it is so people focused, I need to be more holistic as a person and appreciate that in others. Having young children also highlights the importance of work-life balance.
My husband also works full-time and when I returned to work after maternity leave we promised each other that it would always be one of us getting our girls ready in the morning or putting them to bed.
This translates to one of us starting work early so we are home for bedtime, or later so we are the ones with them in the morning and then finishing later.
Also, my pro tip – every weekend I turn off the email and Slack notifications on my phone!
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
Covid changed so much! But thinking beyond its effects I am a happier person when I swim. I love the space it gives me when the rest of my life is so full of conversations or little people.
Carving out time to do this is important, at some points when work is at a peak (or it’s cold!) I stop, which I have learnt is not good. I feel much stronger physically and mentally when I swim at least three times a week so that is now a routine I maintain.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
I always want to have a better answer to this questions! I am currently reading Venture Deals to deepen my knowledge of investing as I work in VC.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
My wetsuit! As a person who hates being cold it is an essential for winter ocean swimming.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
Michelle Obama. I find her inspirational in many ways.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
What brought me into my profession was a belief that we gain much more than money through work, such as fulfilment and purpose. I have also seen people become defined by their jobs at the sacrifice of interests, friends and family which I see as too much to give up.
Like most things, key is striking that balance which can be hard when we can get consumed by responsibility and expectation. I would say to know that you will be a stronger overall operator by taking that break, playing with your children or laughing with friends. Mostly, be kind to yourself.
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