Balancing the Grind with Amanda Siqueira, Co-Founder & CEO at VAPAR

Amanda Siqueira is the Co-Founder & CEO at VAPAR, a deep-tech start-up enabling water utilities worldwide to keep their underground pipes serviceable longer.

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

I’m one of the two co-founders of VAPAR, a deep-tech start-up enabling water utilities worldwide to keep their underground pipes serviceable longer. I sit on the subject matter side of what we do, as my background is civil and environmental engineering, an area of engineering that deals with the engineering challenges of water.

I graduated from the University of Technology, Sydney and moved to New Zealand to work as an environmental engineer designing and building underground pipes. I was obsessed with my work, but decided I needed a change after a couple of years.

I applied for, and got into, a program in Bangalore, India where I worked in a social impact investment firm focusing on the challenges in education. I was super inspired by all the entrepreneurs that I worked with, and their passion drove me to channel my passion into starting VAPAR with my co-founder, Michelle.

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

VAPAR has teams in Australia and the UK which apart from being separated by thousands of kilometres, is also separated by 11 hours’ time difference during the UK winter. I live in the UK, so a typical day starts with 6-6:30am meetings to catch the end of the Australian day at 5:30pm. Starting early means that I break up my workday a little bit more so that I get some time away from my desk when needed.

I work from home, so I make a point of going for a walk/run, or going to the gym, so that I can leave my apartment at least once a day. I also do a bunch of travelling around the UK and the US for business/market development, so if I’m not working from home, I’m out trying to share the message with other water utilities about the new way they can manage their underground pipe networks.

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

Being able to contribute meaningfully to things that I enjoy outside of work is something important to me. Admittedly, I don’t always strike the balance, and sometimes work ends up taking up too much of my headspace. Working from my home means that there is not as much of a separation between work and life.

Because of this, I have to be vigilant in allocating time for non-work activities and making sure that I am not sitting at my desk for 12 hours a day. Making time for hanging out, sharing meals and cooking with my husband, reading books and learning to paint are things that I enjoy and try to make more time for, especially on weekends.

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

Because I’ve been working remotely from my home, this year I started playing social sports after work so that I can get to know other people that live in the area and get some exercise in at the same time. I’ve also found that shutting down my laptop and configuring settings on my phone to limit notifications and access during certain times of the day has really helped with creating more of a mental and literal separation between work and life.

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

I just finished reading Start with Why by Simon Sinek, which I got a lot out of from a business and team building point of view. The book promotes the discovery of the answer to each person’s motivations (i.e. their ‘why’) behind not only work, but life. I found the book helpful to reposition the way I think and talk about why I do what I do as a CEO and as a person.

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

I’d be keen to hear and learn from anyone running their own business, particularly founders that are in the Series A stage of business.

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

Like anything worth doing in life, striking the balance means that you have to work at it constantly. I don’t have it right a lot of days, but I was more driven to find the middle when I started realising that it isn’t fair to myself, or people close to me if I didn’t make proper time to switch off. If it’s a ‘work in progress’ for you, that’s okay too. It’s hard, but a worthy pursuit.

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.