CEOs / Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Anna Robson, Co-Founder of Refugee & Migrant Talent

Anna Robson is the co-founder & CEO of Refugee & Migrant Talent, a social enterprise providing recruitment and technology solutions that raise the visibility of refugees, and other minority groups.

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

My background is in sports coaching and management, which is what I studied at university. I started off coaching kids’ sport, working in elite sport and then doing some travelling and working as an English teacher.

Following that, I landed a role with Save the Children working in the detention centre on Nauru. Working with people from asylum seeker backgrounds and seeing how we treated people like a problem instead of the skillful, talented human beings that they are, changed my life.

This is where I met my co-founder, Nirary Dacho, a Syrian refugee who came to Australia through the humanitarian program and struggled to find employment through the normal job platforms.

We came up with the idea of Refugee Talent – a national employment platform where companies can hire refugees with all different skills and talents.

I’m also now on the Australian board of Global Citizen – an organisation working to end world poverty, which aligns well with the work we are doing to change situations for people at Refugee Talent as well.

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

I’m normally up and having breakfast at 6am. Most days I’ll go for a walk before starting work at 8am.

I am generally on the phone and Zoom all day, chatting to colleagues, the government, businesses and community organisations across time zones including Australia, NZ, UK, Jordan and Lebanon.

Some nights I have late night calls and other nights I am relaxing, watching TV or spending time with family and friends.

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

Yes, we have always worked remotely and now even more so with the new COVID landscape. This actually fits well for me and I find that I can balance life and my work schedule much better.

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

Work-life balance means having interests outside of work and keeping relationships strong with family and friends. I like to make the time to spend with my family, exercise, hang out with my motorbike friends and also to enjoy some down time doing nothing at all!

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

I recently bought a boxing bag for my home and even a minute of punching it can release a lot of stress and calm me down!

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

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

The Headspace meditation app is a great one I try to use most days.

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

I actually read a good one recently by Yvon Chouinard who started Patagonia – he still goes out on adventures, which is what his company Patagonia is all about. I love that he is still living the mission of the company he founded.

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

Find the people that you like spending time with; the ones who support you and the interests that bring you joy and excitement – this has helped me to strive for a balanced life.

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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.