Amelia Kirby is the Communications Lead at Tiliter, a Sydney-based AI tech company that makes computer vision software for retail that identifies products without barcodes.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I have been working in tech for over twenty years, predominantly in the not for profit sector, with a focus on communications, learning and customer service. I’ve always been passionate about the power of words and storytelling to connect with people, so I focused my career on digital content writing and content marketing 6 years ago.
I’m always drawn back to tech, however. My role as Communications Lead at Tiliter allows me to combine my love of writing and technology, with the added bonus of working for a company that can make people’s lives better.
2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
I have two kids, so the day starts with getting them ready for and off to school. I have been working from home extensively over the last few years, so jumping on the laptop before I get up is a good way to check messages and get mentally prepared for work before the morning rush.
My workdays are very varied. We work to tight deadlines in Marketing and have a variety of channels to reach our customers through.
A typical day can include planning content strategy to support our marketing objectives, writing content for a newsletter for customers, preparing a case study, and writing more technical documentation to support our sales team and engineers. Slack is always on well after 5pm so plans for the next day are often underway and the night before.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
My role is fully flexible in terms of when I work my hours, and remote working is also supported. Due to COVID we have all been working from home since June this year. With a young family, managing my own hours gives me the ability to do school runs and be present for my kids as well as having a full time, fulfilling career.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
The work-life balance is essential for me. For too long, working parents, and women in particular, have had to choose to be a present parent, or have a great career. Doing both within the restrictions of a 9-5 workday was impossible for many women.
I make sure that I plan ahead, focus on deadlines and deliverables, prioritise meetings, and work outside of the 9-5 to get things done. The structure to support this is fully in place at Tiliter, so we are empowered to sensibly manage our days.
That trust creates a culture of accountability and our success over the last year has been a great testament to what can be achieved when people don’t have to stress about making time for the things that happen in life.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
As a passionate flexibility champion, I have always tried to ensure that my working life and home life work well together. So while I haven’t really changed any routines dramatically, the ongoing restrictions have meant supervising home-schooling and fitting in some walks before or during the day to keep a healthy mind!
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
I’m a big reader, I could go on forever, but my favourite book of all time is The Catcher in the Rye. I’m trying to get into podcasts – I’m loving SmartLess with Jason Bateman because it’s my kind of humour. And Louis Theroux’s podcasts are very engaging.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
I run my whole life from my iPhone, so it’s in my hand most of the time! Trello is a great app to manage all your projects – work and life. And I’m a bit of a Tetris addict – it’s great to wind down with.
I’m also a huge fan of Tiliter’s product recognition tech. I’m a tech geek at heart and I love how our AI can help people in an everyday supermarket setting. I’m quite impatient, so not having to search through those annoying menus on the screen is a dream.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
I would be interested in hearing about how Jacinda Ardern manages the responsibility of running a country with a young child. Male and female roles have changed, but there’s still a long way to go, even, I expect, for a Prime Minister. She’s in a unique position and she must have some interesting stories on balancing the load.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
It took a pandemic to level the playing field flexibility-wise. Every manager who had ever had doubts about implementing flexible work arrangements suddenly had no choice but to support remote working.
And with that came more of a focus on deliverables, because there was no way to check bums on seats. By focusing on outcomes rather than presence, and using the great tech we have these days to communicate, companies could still kick goals and stay connected.
With that change, came the natural progression towards people managing their time differently. Taking time in the day to exercise, help a child with homework or get to a dentist appointment while still delivering at work means people have got used to managing their time more effectively. What used to be a women’s issue is now a seismic shift in working arrangements for everyone.
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