Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Alice Williams, Founder at Ovira

Alice Williams is the founder at Ovira, a company that has developed a device called Noha, which stops period cramps.

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

I’ve had endometriosis for years, and struggled to find a way to effectively manage my pain. Before I founded Ovira I worked in film production and more often than not, my manager would need me to come to work despite being in debilitating pain.

In my search for a solution to the pain I discovered that TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) technology could be effective in relieving period pain. I was frustrated that society never mentioned it to women so I decided to take things into my own hands and started Ovira in March 2022 with our first product: a period pain relief device.

I had no experience in business or marketing, and had no idea how to run a company. What I did know was that I was passionate about women’s health and wanted to do whatever I could to help the billions of women out there suffering from menstrual pain.

Now, I’m the founder of Ovira and work across all parts of the business from product development and finance to supply chain, with my biggest focus on maximising our impact and helping as many women as we can all over the world. 

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

Most days I get woken up at about 6am by my dog Soko begging for pats. We like to start our day with a big 10km walk along the beach, taking in the fresh air. I then drive to the office and prepare myself for the day by setting daily goals (which are about three or four things that I absolutely must get done).

My inbox is usually filled with emails from the day before, so I like to do a big clean first up. Then I sit down with Vicky from our growth team and chat through our Facebook ad account, any optimisations that we’d like to make and brainstorm any new ad creative that we’d like to test.

I have recently started to get back on the tools and have really enjoyed getting back into all the nitty gritty details. We’re also in the process of getting a bunch of new products on the market at the moment, so I’ll then probably jump on a call with our manufacturers to chat through all the things that are involved in product development. 

At 12pm on the dot, it’s lunch time. After lunch, I’ll get back into more growth things and chat to Millie and Shanky about TikTok content and website things, and do a deep dive into what’s working, what’s not and how we can make things better so that we can get as many eyeballs on Ovira as possible.

I’ll then wrap up my day with a couple more emails, follow up with Sue our bookkeeper about finance things and chat to Sam about all things supply chain. I’ll then drive back home, take myself and Soko out for another walk, unwind and switch off for the day. 

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

Work-life balance implies that one of those things is negative. My goal instead is to achieve work-life harmony, where work enriches my life. To achieve this, I don’t set strict rules around when I should be working, how many hours I should be working etc. as I find that having these rules stifles my passion.

Some days, I wake up and want to start work at the break of dawn so that I can get moving on an exciting project that makes me happy. Equally, if I want to hang back a little later to finish off a project, I do because that makes me happy. Other days I do the standard 9am-5pm or even log off early because I need me time. I trust myself and my team to do what brings joy. 

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

About a year ago I invested in a lock box for my phone as I found that I was incredibly addicted to it. It was the first thing I’d check in the morning and it was the last thing I’d do before going to bed at night.

Having a few hours to myself and my thoughts for a couple hours at the start and end of each day, free from any screens, social media etc. has made all the difference. We’re so attached to our devices and more often than not, I would find myself doom scrolling or constantly pulling out my phone only to completely forget why I pulled it out in the first place. 

Also, being out in nature has done wonders for me. It wasn’t until lockdown that I first started to get into walking but now if I don’t go for a walk in the morning or after work, I feel restless and crave being out in the fresh air. Being able to completely switch off and take in the beautiful surroundings calms my mind and always makes me feel at peace if I’m ever feeling frustrated or anxious. 

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

The Serial season 1 podcast is the series that first got me hooked onto podcasts so I’d definitely recommend that. I also loved The Dropout podcast about Elizabeth Holmes and the Theranos drama. Anything with a good narrative, good journalism and good storytelling, I’m all for. 

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

There are so many people I know who hate what they do for work, however they don’t do anything about it which I think is a product of society normalising the ‘grind’ and capitalist mentality.

But when we think about it, we spend most of our time working, so being passionate about and actually enjoying what you do is so important to me. Although it might feel like the scariest thing in the world, when you decide to quit a job with nothing else lined up, I think it’s an ultimate act of bravery and when you do find that thing that actually enriches your life, you’ll be so glad that you took that leap of faith. 

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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.