Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Bree Pagonis, Co-Founder of WIRL

Bree Pagonis is the co-founder of WIRL, the world’s first mental wellbeing app fuelled by food and driven by the gut-brain axis.

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

I’m a food & mood expert and co-founder of the VC-backed start-up WIRL: the world’s first mental wellbeing app fuelled by food and driven by the gut-brain axis. You could call me the WIRL CTO/CFO but we don’t really have titles as such! My role with WIRL is focussed on strategy, technical product build and commercialisation.

I have a degree in nutrition & dietetics (aka I’m a dietitian) with over 10 years’ experience working in the field of FMCG marketing, regs and policy within food & mental wellbeing. I’ve launched and worked within some of the biggest household food companies eg: Yoplait, Swisse and many, many more.

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

I’m an early riser and like to ‘eat the frog’ as they say:

  • Administrative tasks with my morning coffee
  • Some yoga/meditation or a swim/run with mates after that
  • My days at the moment are spent fundraising for our startup so loads of research, investor meetings and outreach!
  • I also lead our technical product build atm and manage any contractors we might engage along the way!
  • I’ll finish my working day by walking my dog Remi!

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

I live about an hour from the city so flexible working works for me! I have 2 days in a shared office space- one with my co-founder and one alone!

I enjoy having people IRL around me to bounce ideas off and gather energy from! I find it super refreshing! I also enjoy working from home as it allows me to work super flexibly and fits my lifestyle!

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

I’m a task orientated human, I enjoy setting really clear goals and working towards them in a structured way so I feel like I have a great sense of when work is work and life is life!

I definitely make the most of the start-up life being my own boss and ensure that I’m balancing my home life as much as possible- spending quality time with friends and family is super important to me so I actively prioritise activities that bring me joy within my working day!

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

Started: I do yoga every morning 

Stopped: Using social media everyday 

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

  • The Happiness Lab – podcast by the incredible Dr Laurie Santos on mental wellbeing 
  • The Daily Aus Newsletter – I’ve stopped using social media, so loving their newsletter for all the updates 
  • Also the love Shameless podcast for a bit of goss

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

I used stacks of tools in work and personal life that I would highly recommend:

  • Wordle (for morning joy)
  • Downdog (for my yoga) 
  • Nike Run Club (training for a half marathon atm)
  • Trello (to organise all the to-do’s @ work)
  • Slack (to keep connected with all the start-up networks and beyond)

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

Rupi Kaur – how does she do it all?! She sheds light on such important topics and has managed to build a business from her passion/creative outlet.

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

If you can work on something you love, it will feel less like work and more like living out your dream! I feel super fortunate to be in the position that I am, working in my dream business, solving a problem super close to my heart!

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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.