Alice Clark is the Founder & Director of Oomf, a boutique creative consultancy based in Melbourne and Sydney, working within the design, branding, digital, advertising, retail, and fashion industries.
This conversation is sponsored by graphic design platform Canva. Empowering millions of people around the world to design.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I wanted to be a dancer growing up, or do something with people, but took the conservative route through business and majored in marketing. I took a well-paid customer service role in financial services and within 18 months landed a fantastic role within their marketing team in Sydney.
The corporate life taught me a lot but I left to be a Contiki tour guide and ended up the next 5 years in London, working in a whole range of environments both agency and in-house and finally in creative recruitment.
I set up Oomf not long after returning to Melbourne in 2008. We specialise in the creative industry across digital, design, marketing and advertising, helping to connect people with businesses who are looking for fantastic people.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
My day usually starts with a strong earl grey tea and getting my two boys ready for school. We live just across the road and we struggle to get there before 9am! Once at work it’s a catch up over coffee with my staff and to plan our strategy for the day. We’re a small team and I absolutely adore them.
No day is really ever the same, but typically I’ll have several meetings, 3-4 candidates with various backgrounds like UI/UX, branding or packaging design, illustration, copywriting, animation, strategy or client services, depending on which roles we have on. Maybe a client meeting or two.
It’s so fantastic to meet so many creative specialists, passionate about what they do. If we pick up a freelance brief that becomes the priority if its urgent.
Joshua and I will usually have an amazing lunch that he prepares (spicy sirena tuna, hommus, chilli, eggs, steamed broccoli) and Jenny always brings in her food but we eat together. Then it’s home to run kids to soccer or singing, to cook dinner or grab takeaway, to play, read and cuddle.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
Because it’s my own business and we are now a relatively small team who really appreciate and value each other and our lives outside of work, it does. I always found it harder to add more flexibility to my role, the bigger my business got.
You think as a business owner that you employ people to free up your time but It’s a conundrum in the sense that they need a leader. If they’re not the right people too they may resent you taking time off, when they have to work.
But the entire world has changed over the past several weeks. We’re all forced to become flexible and adapt, to take time, and to think. It’s good to see the positives that are coming out of this. More communication. Less travelling time. More planning. More bonding time with family and kids.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
It means a very happy medium of working hard but enjoying life by rewarding yourself too. I work hard to provide my children with a great life.
I work hard to deliver strong professional outcomes and I love what I do. I also work hard to have a bloody good time. My children act as life-anchors, I often wonder how I would switch off, without them.
5) What do you think are some of the best habits or routines that you’ve developed over the years to help you achieve success in your life?
A positive mindset, a fit body, a healthy diet and lifestyle and keeping strong. Taking ownership and responsibility for outcomes. Creating my own reality. Having a dance once a week. Worshipping the sunshine and getting out of town often.
6) Are there any books that have helped you improve over the years?
I’m a big fan of Life of Pi. So articulate, whimsical and imaginative. The same story can be told in so many different ways. I’m also digging Alison Roman. Her recipes have helped me make some deliciously fancy meals in half the time, and a focus on developing skills.
7) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?
I think it’s an appreciation of life, kindness, and the people I am lucky to have in my life. The joy in helping others. Understanding the impact and the positivity that I can bring to others.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
I’d have to Google that! Really, anyone who has something really interesting to share.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
Life as we know it is changing. I think there will be a bigger shift and focus towards community, our environment, work life balance and how we can all work together to make the world a better place when we get through this difficult time.
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