Balancing the Grind with Alison Greer, Founder at GoKinda

Alison Greer is the Founder at GoKinda, a booking platform that supports stylish, eco-conscious hotel stays that are kinder to people and the planet.

Let’s start with your background! Can you share with us your career journey and what you’re currently up to?

I fell in love with travel at an early age, growing up hearing stories of faraway places from my grandmother, so it was probably inevitable that I would end up in the travel industry. I spent 18 years working for Flight Centre travel group in various sales, product and leadership roles.

My last role was General Manager for Flight Centre NSW/ACT where I led the business through the first year of Covid, including redundancies of about 70% of our workforce. I took time out in 2021 to have a baby and felt that if I didn’t make a move then, I probably never would. 

While Flight Centre is a big company, it has quite an entrepreneurial spirit, so in some ways I feel I got the best of both worlds during my time there, which is perhaps what inspired me to start my own business. I’ve always been passionate about beautiful hotels, and I was becoming increasingly aware of the damage that travel can cause to the planet.

I knew to keep feeling good about travel, there needed to be a better way to do it. I founded GoKinda in early 2022, a collection of stylish and conscious hotels for thoughtful travellers, and we launched in July this year. 

We’d love to know what a typical day is like for you. Could you describe a recent workday?

A typical day is me either working from home or the Sydney Startup Hub when I need a change of scene. With much of my work spread around the world, I can really be anywhere and still get the work done. I try to limit my commitments to other people (meetings, calls etc) to two a day, so that I make sure I’m always allowing enough time to work on the priorities of GoKinda. 

Can you define work-life balance for yourself and share with us your approach in maintaining it?

Having the flexibility to find space for the things that keep me well, like yoga and spending time with my people, is really important. But of equal importance is enjoying the work I do and feeling like it is impactful. I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy work for most of my career, and it’s not something I’m willing to compromise on.

Having boundaries like this has always helped me maintain a level of balance. I think it’s also important to recognise and accept that the concept of balance is fluid and not expect that it will always be perfectly 50/50. When things blow out one way or the other (usually work!), I try to find ways to give life some more time when the opportunity arises. 

Change is constant, and it’s essential for growth. Have you made any lifestyle changes in the past year to improve your work-life balance?

I’ve always worked in a team environment so working largely on my own has been a big change for me since starting GoKinda. I realised that without external input I needed to regulate myself and my time much more than in the past to remain effective but also not overwork, given that the work in a startup is never done.

I adopted a bit of a traffic lighting system to help me with any overwhelm, and categorise things as urgent, important, and future. This has helped me to prioritise and also realise when I’m spending too much time on things that are not overly pressing. 

We’re always on the lookout for new resources! Can you recommend any books, podcasts, or newsletters that have helped you in your journey towards balance?

A good friend and mentor of mine, Kylie Paatsch, is an expert and advocate for living and leading well. She shares simple and practical advice in her weekly newsletter which is definitely worth signing up for. She’s also a very good human.  

Before we wrap up, do you have any final words of wisdom or insights on work, life, or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

I do have a few things that I try to live by:

  1. Accept that work-life balance is not always perfectly balanced, but be conscious when over time it is leaning too far one way or the other. 
  2. If you do recognise an ongoing imbalance, do something about it – it could be as simple as making time everyday to go for a walk, or it might require a bigger change. Either way, I would trust my gut in these situations. 
  3. While it’s a cliche, having something to look forward to (that’s generally travel for me!) is a must. 
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.