Interviews / Marketing & Advertising / PR & Communications

Balancing the Grind with Annike Morgan, Group Director at Society Marketing Communications

Annike Morgan is the Group Director at Society Marketing Communications, an integrated, creative marketing communications agency with offices in Adelaide and Sydney.

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

I’m currently the Group Director at SOCIETY Marketing Communications. I’ve been with the team for just over a year, prior to that I was with WPP PR Agencies, PPR and BCW for just over 12 years. I started my career in Fashion, Lifestyle and Beauty PR, working in-house and in agencies before joining PPR.

My career focus has been on connecting organisations with their consumer audiences. I’ve been lucky enough to create and run some awesome retail, lifestyle and travel & tourism communications campaigns.

From driving Aussies to travel in South Africa, ski on the slopes of Vail Resorts and book a trip to emirates Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa, or invest in tourism in North East England and Dubai, to driving Aussies into McDonald’s and Subway for the latest tasty treat, or Dymocks for the hottest read, I’ve done it all.

I’ve also revelled in promoting the good work these organisations do in the community via programs like McHappy Day, World Sandwich Day and Dymocks Children’s Charities. I’ve learned from the best Zumba instructors in the world. I’ve promoted appliances, pet products and clean and green lifestyle products.

Right now, our team at SOCIETY is working with some of the best Aussie brands including Woolworths, San Remo, Robern Menz (Violet Crumble, FruChocs & Polly Waffle), Bickford’s, METS Ignited, Vesparum, Nectr, Spacetalk and more. 

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

Mornings I’m up early (I have a 2 and 5 year old), quick walk, smoothie, school or childcare drop offs and back at my desk.

The beauty of working in an agency is the variety – so really, no two days are never the same.

I could be talking through briefings with clients, discussing PR campaigns with the team or checking in on integrated media or digital results. My role means that I’m across both our offices in Sydney and Adelaide, so there’s a few video conferences and lots of messaging on Teams to keep the email levels down.

We also use some other digital tools to keep WIPs online, in real time to manage our capacity and team or client activities.

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

I’m lucky, because even before COVID, I made a conscious decision to look for flexibility in my role, and having two young kids made having flexibility a priority. 

That’s why I landed at SOCIETY. Dena (our Founder and MD) has created a workplace that puts its people first. So, you could say we were ahead of the COVID curve when it comes to using technology to get the most out of the team’s productivity and allowing flexibility in the work day, or throughout the working week.

I still work flexible Fridays and move my hours around to suit our client and team needs.  It gives me the time I crave with my children, but also the freedom to adjust as their needs do.

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

Keeping an eye on my wellbeing is extremely important. An early walk is critical, to clear my head and get me refreshed for the day ahead. 

I’m also a big fan of popular culture (hello reality TV), and switching off from the demands of work when I can, but also find excitement in being on top of the latest on social media. We have an awesome team atmosphere at SOCIETY, and we hope to nurture that even further as we come out of the pandemic. 

We have a Facebook Group for our team to share the weird and wonderful of the internet, and we understand each other’s home life and are each actively interested in making sure we are all achieving that work life balance.

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

I’ve become more mindful of my phone time in front of the kids. My dog is definitely the happiest he’s ever been and his morning excitement helps keep the walks a regular occurrence. 

Learning to work with the kids and family in the background has had its challenges, but I love that our working society has become accepting of the occasional wave from my kids in the middle of a video call.

I think the best new routine of the last 12 months, is not working late, and being home for an earlier dinner each night.

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

I love to get lost in trashy novels, you know by Jackie Collins or Danielle Steel. But I also love travel and travel writing.

I’m currently re-reading a collection of short stories from travel writers from across the globe. Especially now, when international travel seems so far in the distance, it’s amazing to lose yourself in their adventures.

Local Australian travel writers are also the best, and I will pick up any of their books when I can to support them (I was previously a PR Committee member on Australian Society of Travel Writers board).

One thing our MD also encouraged, when SOCIETY was awarded the Telstra Emerging & Energised Business of the Year (SA) in 2019, was subscribing to Letters from the Universe. It’s a little daily pleasure, and I wait patiently for my update from the universe each afternoon.

Most days they are vague and open to interpretation, but I like to think that the universe is watching and cheering me on.

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

I think in my line of work, you do become addicted to social media, however it’s less of an addiction for my personal life, and more about keeping on top of the latest influencers, the news, and what could be important to our clients.

WhatsApp has also become important, to keep in touch with friends, but also the school community, so I don’t miss a thing for the start of school for my girl. My favourite app will always and forever be Solitaire.  

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

In Australia, I think there are some incredible women who balance their professional and personal lives well (at least publicly they seem to).

A couple that come to mind are Janine Allis, Zoe Foster Blake and Carolyn Cresswell. They are also very open and honest about their good and bad times of managing the balance.

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

In the end we need to remember that work and life don’t sit separately on either side of the see saw, it’s all part of life!

I’m a firm believer that life is what you make it, so if your priority is to focus on life, then that’s great, get out there and focus on loved ones and wellbeing – but on the flip side, if you are focused on work (whether that’s in a particular week, or you have some professional goals you want to achieve in any one year), then that’s great too.

I don’t think there’s a standard formula for all, and as we each evolve our priorities change. In the end though, no one will remember you for that awesome spreadsheet, the bottom line you managed to save or the discounts you negotiated.

They will remember the kind of person you were, how you supported your team members, how you positively made an impact on others lives. And that’s what stays in the back of my mind when I’m considering the kind of legacy I want to be leaving on this world.  

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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.