Interviews / Marketing & Advertising

Balancing the Grind with Ai San Beaumont, Marketing & Communications Director, La Prairie ANZ

Ai San Beaumont is the Marketing & Communications Director for luxury skincare brand La Prairie Australia and New Zealand.

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

For the last 20 years, I’ve enjoyed some amazing roles in marketing and communications, with the last 17 years being in the beauty industry.

Early on in my career, I worked in luxury auto and FMCG, but then I fell into a role at L’Oreal Luxury which started my journey (and love affair) with the cosmetics industry. I’ve been lucky enough to work on some beautiful brands with extraordinary heritage including Ralph Lauren, Thierry Mugler, Hermes Fragrances, and now La Prairie.

I’ve been at La Prairie for 12 years, and truthfully, time has flown. It’s been varied and challenging and my role has evolved during that time.

I am currently the Marketing and Communications Director, and together with my team, we look after E-Commerce, CRM, Public Relations and Store Design. All brand presence and client experience fall into my daily job scope.

My main job is to support our team in terms of strategy, decision making and flexible thinking, ensuring the very best client experience.

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

My day starts early around 5.30am – I have two kids, so the usual morning chaos is pretty normal, but I try to get to the office between 7.30am – 8am. This usually allows a few hours of quiet time before meetings.

Meetings and my day are varied, they could be with the team to discuss executing events and client communications, planning for our e-commerce channel or retail activations, or with journalists for media discussions.

I try to finish around 4.30pm each day in the office so that I can spend time at home with my family. Evenings usually consist of virtual meetings with our regional or global team – Zoom and Teams have really allowed us to connect globally.

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

Remote working has definitely allowed us to evolve the way we work with our team working 1-2 days from home at the moment.

We all have the equipment we need to work from home and it definitely suits me to have time on my own (so much more productive to write copy and presentations) but as a highly collaborative team, nothing beats being there in person and having face to face time.

As a mum, working from home also has its benefits, when you can multitask and get things done in a quiet house.

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

I strongly believe that you can have it all – just not all at the same time. So, for me, when I’m at work, I’m focused on trying to be efficient with my time and be as productive as possible.

Once I’m home with my family, I want to be present and enjoy the moments while my kids still want to hang out with me – I know that won’t be forever. I’m proud that our work culture strongly advocates well-being so having a balance is something we all strive for and encourage each other to have.

Even before this year, our workplace has offered well-being sessions, nutrition, massages and yoga.

And sometimes the day doesn’t go as planned, and the wheels just fall off. And I’ve learned that that is OK too. Tomorrow is a new day.

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

Prior to this year, I travelled internationally a lot. Nearly monthly for about 6 months, and then domestic travel for the 2nd half of the year.

I’ve loved the forced slow down and being home. This year has been a blessing in so many ways with lots of time at home with my family. I’ve really learned to appreciate every moment.

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

I have quite eclectic taste in podcasts – I listen to them all the time while I walk the dog or drive to work.

A Bit of Optimism– Simon Sinek is a really thought-provoking speaker on leadership.

No Such Thing as a Fish – love it for useless but super interesting trivia.

Other podcasts that I’ve loved: The Dropout (about Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos), Bunga Bunga (about Silvio Berlusconi) and Dolly Parton’s America (she is such a force).

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

Everything in my life for work and personal appointments is in Outlook, and are colour coded. Because there is always so much on, juggling life, I need to be organised. I’m also constantly connected with my family, team and friends via WhatsApp.

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

I think for perspective, I’d love to read about more women who work full time in senior roles and how they manage the daily juggle with work and family.

Ultimately everyone is different and trying to do their best, and it is great to see insights into how others are managing it and making time for all the things (I realise they probably aren’t).

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

Work life balance is such a fluid thing. I’m a big believer of finding a good equilibrium.

Balance: When you are at work, be focused – and sometimes if your job takes you out of the traditional 9-5 working times (events, meetings, zoom, travel), then you should be able to have balance at another time for personal life, for well-being and family.

Scheduling in “free time” is a trick I use for time to think or do life admin – otherwise your calendar becomes full with back to back meetings.

Love: I think it’s important to find happiness in what you are doing, so that you can say that your heart is in the work and you love what you do.

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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.