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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?

My husband and I work around the corner from each other, so we commute in to work together and grab a coffee each morning from our favourite local cafe (which also doubles as a gallery and shared working space). 

I’m at my computer just after 8am to see what’s on the calendar, work through my inbox, and make sure today’s to-do list is all set. 

Around 30-40% of my week is meetings – I try to schedule meetings in blocks to allow good chunks of time for deep work and actioning all the things that come from said meetings.

At lunchtime I go for a walk along the Brisbane River and I wrap up for the day around 530pm. The evening is all about giving my brain a break to process all the info from the day, so it usually involves cooking and quality TV time, then bed at around 10pm for 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 some staff who are totally remote. Personally, I like being in the office and generally come in at least four if not five days per week.

I know that may sound strange when most people are leaning towards remote work, but I’ve had my fill of working from home over the past few years. I love having my proper desk setup and the dynamic collaboration and problem solving that happens when we’re together as a team. 

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

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.