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Interviews / Marketing & Advertising

Balancing the Grind with Ashton Tuckerman, Chief Marketing Officer at Gathar

Ashton Tuckerman is the Chief Marketing Officer at Gathar, Australia’s leading platform for booking amazing private catering experiences.

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

I’m the Chief Marketing Officer at Gathar – a private chef and catering startup based in beautiful Brisbane, Australia. In our early days, people started calling us ‘the Airbnb of dinner parties’ and that’s probably still the best way to describe what we do!

On my recent one-year anniversary at Gathar, we announced our partnership with Michelin-starred chef Curtis Stone, who is joining us as our US co-founder for our launch into LA. So, it’s safe to say it’s been one heck of a year!  

Over the past decade I’ve moved between being a marketing generalist and specialist. The specialist roles have been focused on content, social media, PR, and brand marketing.

I’ve worked in-house for brands like Flight Centre and Youfoodz, and at agencies that have ranged from boutique Brisbane-based outfits to global powerhouses (Red Havas). 

That’s my 10-year journey in a nutshell since graduating from the Queensland University of Technology.

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

Now that Gathar is a global team and I work across both the Australian and US markets, I’ve structured my week to allow a good amount of facetime with our team in LA. This means working slightly earlier hours from Tuesday – Friday, and moving all of my meetings to mornings. 

My 10am is LA’s 5pm at the moment, so I’m usually wrapped up with US meetings by mid-morning and am focused on Australia from lunchtime. When I start my day, the LA team has already been working for 5 or 6 hours, so I wake up to an inbox and Slack full of items that need immediate action while the team is still online. 

We’re only a few weeks into being a global team but I’m focused on balancing synchronous vs asynchronous work (work where you need to collaborate in real-time vs work that can be handed back and forth).  

When I’m in the office, I make sure I go for a walk along the Brisbane River at lunch to reset for the afternoon. Evenings are all about giving my brain a break to process all the day, usually involving cooking and quality TV time, then a solid 8 hours of sleep.

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

Our core team in Brisbane has a hybrid work week where our office days are Monday through Wednesday. We also have staff who are totally remote, including our LA team. 

I personally prefer being in the office.That’s a bit of a contrast to most people these days, but I’ve had my fill of working from home over the past few years! I love the dynamic collaboration and problem solving that happens when we’re together as a team. Being together in person, at least for a few days a week, is a must for the pace we work at. 

In a serendipitous turn of events, my husband and I work around the corner from each other, so we get to commute in together and start our workdays with a coffee from our favourite local cafe.

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

Work-life balance is about setting boundaries and making sure you clearly communicate them to the people around you.

I’m at the stage of my career where I believe working a little outside the 9-to-5 comes with the territory. When it’s the right place and right role, you don’t feel like you’re being taken advantage of if you need to put in an extra time or be contactable after hours.

I’m happy to manage our social media accounts in the evening or check in on weekends (when most of our private chef gatharings take place) because I’m truly passionate about what we’re building and I’m putting in that little bit extra because I want to – not because it’s expected. I think there’s a big difference there.

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

I finally committed to a 12-month membership at a hot yoga and pilates studio near work I’ve been going to on-and-off but had stopped during peak lockdown. I haven’t managed to go as much as I’d like lately, but at least I have the membership to keep me accountable! 

I read something once that said exercise should be a celebration of what your body can do – not a punishment. Once you find a way of moving you like, it’s worth the investment because you’re more likely to stick with something you actually enjoy! 

I also use the Calm app for regular meditation and have recently tried the Balance app to compare. They’re both great, but I’ve been using Calm for so long I couldn’t imagine life without Tamara Levitt’s soothing voice.

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

Three books I have read and I still often think about are:

  • The Making of a Manager: What to Do When Everyone Looks to You by Julie Zhuo
  • The Middle Finger Project: Trash Your Imposter Syndrome and Live the Unf*ckwithable Life You Deserve by Ash Ambirge
  • Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight

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

Notion, Slack, and the ‘time limits’ setting for managing my app usage and downtime on my phone.

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

Kim Teo, CEO & Co-founder of Mr Yum. Mr Yum has seriously taken off over the past couple of years and Kim is still so active with her public presence and brand promotion, sharing job announcements, doing speaking gigs, carving out time for all of this during such a high-growth time for the business is really impressive. 

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

I’ve been part of a mentorship program called Assisterhood for the past couple of years, which is designed to help aspiring womxn in media, marketing, digital, and creative industries navigate the early stages of their careers. It’s something I would have absolutely jumped on if it had been around during my early years in the industry. 

I would absolutely encourage everyone to find mentorship, whether it’s through a formalised program or just with a business leader you look to for guidance in your own workplace or network. 

My last couple of job opportunities have come through personal connections. Like anything, it can be hard to ‘fit it in’, but I’ve found the time I’ve invested into networking always comes back to me tenfold. 

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About Author

Balance the Grind is a work-life balance publication on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.