CEOs / Interviews

Balancing the Grind With Annie Gibbins, CEO of Glaucoma Australia & CEO of Lipstick Consulting

Annie Gibbins is the CEO of Glaucoma Australia, a not-for-profit dedicated to raising awareness about glaucoma, as well as the CEO of Lipstick Consulting.

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

Although I always wanted to do business, for a variety of reasons I started out my career as a registered nurse aged 21. At age 23 I had twin boys and then at age 25 I have twin boy girl – 4 kids 26 months apart!

Most people would think my career aspirations were dashed however I just kept focus and always took opportunities where I could to keep developing my options.

Over the next few years I worked part-time as a registered nurse, usually on weekends when hubby was at home for the kids.

I thought it would be good to become a nurse educator so I enrolled in and completed my Graduate Diploma of Education. This enabled me to get a job as a nurse educator at TAFE NSW and I loved being a teacher.

I then enrolled in and completed a Masters of Education and this enabled me to become a National Education Manager for the Australian Orthopaedics Association.

After being in this role for a few years I started to entertain the idea of becoming a CEO for an organisation which needed a Health Educationalist.

To equip myself and add to my resume I enrolled in and completed the Australian Institute of Company Directors Course and Lean Six Sigma courses.

I was fortunate to secure a role as the CEO of the Australasian Society for Ultrasound in Medicine where I stayed for 5 years and thrived on the personal and professional development with came with this position.

I left this role to gain more experience in the private sector and became CEO for the Australia Institute of Ultrasound and the set up my own consultancy business Lipstick Consulting Pty Ltd.

In 2018 I became the CEO of Glaucoma Australia which is an eye health charity working to save sight for those affected by this insidious disease.

I love this role as it allows me to ‘make a difference’, ‘work for purpose’, ‘promote early diagnosis and treatment adherence’, ‘continue my grow in the challenging charity sector, ‘save sight for people who could otherwise go blind’,

I then developed my Lipstick Consulting business into an online business model ( which has enabled me to improve its scalability and go global as a thought leader and influencer in the positive growth mindset space. It also allows flexibility, efficiency and increased service provision around my busy life.

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

My son drops my granddaughter off at my home 6:45am. She plays with her toys while Nanna gets ready for work and has breakfast (back up ABC TV) and then I drive her to kindy 8am on my way to the office, leaving time to get a takeaway coffee to enjoy on my way. I often speak to a board member or mentor client while driving to work.

My 9-5 position at Glaucoma Australia is used to manage the office, team, volunteers, organising board and committee meetings, meetings with stakeholders, speaking at events and conferences, writing media releases, magazine articles, new campaigns and projects.

As I often have teleconferences and webinars in the evenings and speak at conferences and events some weekends, I use my time in lieu to work on my online business social media, webinars, course development, mentoring and charity treks during this time.

To keep fit I hike on coastal bush trails 3 times per week Monday and Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings which allows me to get our in nature, build up more positive endorphins, and catch up with like-minded friends and my hubby of 33 years.

I try to keep Saturday afternoon and Sundays free for family time, socialising and blitzing the house and washing buildup – We all try to make it look like we are ‘on top of everything’ right?

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

Yes. And this is very important to me. I have the ability to use my time flexibly across the 7 day week and wherever I am located (as long as I have access to the internet) I am available (well unless I’m booked out of course!)

4) Do you have any tips, tricks or shortcuts to help you manage your workload and schedule?

Do everything as efficiently as possible e.g check emails once an hour rather than constantly. I find you get a lot more work done not being constantly distracted.

Choose what time/s you want to check on your social and how much time your want to spend here and for what purpose.

Have a crystal clear plan for your business and life and then triage the zillions of daily requests for your time around what will fit into your plan and not theirs.

Definitely use an online calendar which gives reminders

Learn from others who have been before you – get a mentor e.g

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

I live my life with the words Purpose, Passion and Power

Having 2 businesses, 5 children, a granddaughter and pets means I need to get this balance right or my Purpose Passion and Power suffer and so do and those around me!

I therefore choose to preschedule and outsource what I can to free up time for the ‘things which spark joy’ for me. For example I schedule my social media and block out personal time in my diary before it gets jammed with other ‘important things. ‘

I try to eliminate spending endless hours on things which zap my energy and put me in a negative mindset as I find they always hijack my true purpose and passion.

I have learnt to say no if the ‘opportunity clashes’ with my true purpose and passion and this has been a real breakthrough for me.

There is only 24 hours in each day so we need to use them wisely.

6) What do you think are some of the best habits you’ve developed over the years to help you strive for success and balance?

Clear consistent decision making and actions! I clearly map out my strategic path for the way I want to grow myself both personally and professionally and I choose to build on these every day ‘even when I don’t feel like it’

I then work backwards as I know where I want to be and this strongly drives my thoughts, decisions, actions and results – success.

If I relied on my raw emotions I would struggle to consistently commit to daily habits which bring be toward and not away from my goals like:

  • eating healthy and exercising regularly
  • believing in my abilities
  • guarding my values and boundaries
  • using my strengths and developing my weaknesses
  • reflecting on and responding to feedback
  • exploring innovative future thinking
  • responding to the hard things early in the day
  • turning my back on fear
  • embracing failure as a learning opportunity
  • committing to big scary goals which take my out of my comfort zone
  • being sincere and kind to others

Success rarely happens over night, it usually takes a steadfast commitment and tireless energy with a pinpoint focus on your intent and purpose.

7) Are there any books that have helped you improve over the years?

How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie.

Autobiographies which clearly show high quality leadership framed around intent, purpose, passion and power. For example: The Power of One, Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama.

8) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?

I start the day reflecting on things I’m gratitude for. This practice puts positive thoughts in my mind ‘before technology infiltrates and influences’ and helps to frame my day around around working to my strengths and the things I love as well as being a blessing to others around me.

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

Your heart is your compass, so lead with your strengths and turn your back on limited belief systems which hold you back from achieving your dreams.

I encourage you to make self care a necessity and not a luxury, get a mentor who can help you to develop a road map which will take you on an empowered journey which will lead to success as defined by you.

If you found the above conversation helpful and inspiring, be sure to check out Balance the Grind’s guide to achieving a healthy work-life balance.

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.