Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind With Jessica Arvela, Co-Founder of Project Everest Ventures

Jessica Arvela is the Co-Founder and National Head of University Engagement of Project Everest Ventures, a company which develops sustainable social ventures to solve some of the most pressing social problems facing communities across Asia, the Pacific, and Africa.

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

I am currently with Project Everest Ventures (PEV), a business I co-founded in 2015. We create solutions to social issues with a business model.

My background is in casework, with Asylum Seekers in Community Detention, Shelters for women experiencing domestic violence or homelessness, and international aid.

My study has been in International Development, a BA Degree, a Graduate Certificate in Peace and Conflict, and a Master’s Degree in Human Rights (yet to complete this – I’ve relocated states with PEV twice which has made this difficult to finish).

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

This is a tough one as I ensure there is no fixed routine, if it’s not sleeping, training, or nutrition, I am very much resistant to a ‘typical day’ at work.

I could be in another country: in Malawi, Timor-Leste, Fiji, or India.

I could be in the Melbourne-based office, or on one of the University campuses, I could be in Adelaide having coffee with stakeholders or team members, or at the PEV Headquarters in Sydney.

I could be working from home, or I could be at our Team Leader Training, which keeps us in the bush for a week!

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

I think the above question answered that one! PEV is highly agile and outcomes focused. If you get the results, what desk you sit at, and when, really doesn’t matter.

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

It means living more than working, and it means ensuring what you do for money provides fulfilment.

I am clear on what I want from PEV, I am confident in what I can deliver, and I know where we are going.

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?

I have felt the most align when I listen to my intuition, create strong boundaries, focus on what gives me energy (outside of PEV), and whatever I do, I do it passionately and completely.

I have had to learn and grow a lot, I have made so many mistakes, so much so that I don’t recognise my younger self. It’s all a process, and what I do now (PEV) is the best tool I can think of to create a positive impact in the world.

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

  • Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard
  • The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay
  • Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  • Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia by Jean Sasson

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

Have a great coffee early, plan, with first and second priorities, have strict timings, and have a great team. Asana and Slack are effective apps.

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

Yvon Chouinard or Elon Musk.

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

Use a diary, unfollow everyone who doesn’t lift you higher, get off Facebook, don’t be the smartest person in the room, be outside more, be open to being wrong, stick to your morals, be plant based, give everyone a fair go, invest in your team, and read more.

If you’d like to have a conversation with us about how you balance the grind, get in touch with us!

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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.