Directors / Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind With Jessica McLeod, Founder of The Conscious Space

Jessica Mcleod is the Founder of The Conscious Space, a three day event uniting over 150 brands and providing a platform for thought leaders and brands to bring their message to a wider audience.

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

Sure! My background is in events. My first business was an events company, we styled and planned weddings and corporate events. This led to launching a wedding fair alongside two business partners. The wedding fair evolved into a large scale event that we ran in most States of Australia and for three years in New York.

One year after launching the wedding fair we introduced a baby fair that we ran in Sydney and Melbourne. At one point we were running over 9 events per year, seeing a huge amount of people attend and working / partnering with a lot of stakeholders.

My current role is back in the launch phase which is super exciting. I am working on a new event, called The Conscious Space and Conscious Work. Alongside my fabulous team we are bringing over 150 brands together with curious and conscious consumers for a weekend of conversation and discovery.

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

I am finally at a place where I am fortunate enough to design my own life / work day. I do not take for granted what a privilege this is.

Mornings begin bright and early with our two girls jumping into our bed, Steve makes me a cup of tea before he leaves (he is a builder so is often onsite by 6.30am) and the girls and I chat and hang out for awhile.

We have breakfast and then the girls usually head out and play in the backyard. I take the opportunity to catch up on emails and social media paving the way for a clean slate once I get into the office.

Then, depending on the day it’s school and preschool drop off. Currently I work 4 days and have Wednesdays with my youngest. The eldest is at school from 9.20am – 3.20pm.

My work day is then spent either in meetings, in person or by zoom. Catching up with staff and working on pulling the event together. Writing pitches, scheduling marketing, keeping an eye out for new and interesting brands that may be a good fit for The Conscious Space. Coordinating photoshoots, building content, creating the programming for the weekend event and other key logistics.

The day flies by and I walk back to collect our eldest from school. She attends a mindfulness class on a Monday so that buys me a bit of a longer day. We made a conscious decision to live and work within walking distance of school / preschool, to avoid wasting precious time on commute!

The afternoons we spend together, doing homework, swimming etc. Then I will generally jump back online once they are in bed. Screens are banned in our house during the week, so I have to try really hard to stay away from my phone in the afternoons / evenings.

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

Short answer is yes, it does. But often the nature of running my own business means I am never truly not working. I have to make a conscious decision to focus on being in the moment and creating clear boundaries in my day.

Our work / employee policy is very flexible too. One of our team is a yoga teacher who runs lunchtime classes, so she adapts her day around those. Our CFO works remotely, we catch up Mondays via email and are always in touch via WhatsApp and Monday (team management software).

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

I’m not too sure if there is ever a balance and it’s helpful to keep an eye on striving for that. I believe it is unattainable!

I do know that I have been through patches in the past where the balance was way off, I lost sight of my priorities and that was unhealthy for me and my family. I have learnt over the years that practising gratitude is the best kind of balance.

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 learnt over the years that practising gratitude is the best kind of habit. We can always want / have more. And it just never seems to be enough. I have learnt to appreciate exactly where I am in this moment. To stop comparing and focus on my own game.

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

  • Work Strife Balance by Mia Freedman
  • Winging It by Emma Isaacs
  • Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard
  • Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek

And I’m looking forward to reading Reboot: Probably More Than You Ever Wanted to Know about Starting a Global Business By Jodie Fox.

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

I try and have a big block of focused time early in the morning. No emails, no social media. I guess it’s that ‘eat the frog’ mentality. Get the big / challenging tasks knocked over first, then it’s smooth sailing! Well, that’s the intention anyway.

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

Hm, maybe a shift worker, a parent who juggles the day to day with children but also is employed in a role that involves irregular hours.

Or CEO’s / managers that have employed a four day week, or even a 5 hour work day. I know of a few law firms that are doing this and its so great to see. Our worth is not measured by the time we spend at a desk.

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

I believe that people work best when they have the space to do so. Whether that is physical space or mental, i.e. a calm environment for both body and mind. This may look different to different people so I believe in the freedom for individuals to choose.

Our worth should not measured by the time we spend at a desk.


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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.