Creative Directors / Interviews

Balancing the Grind With Jessie Jordan, Creative Director at gyro APAC

Jessie Jordan is the Creative Director at gyro APAC, a global brand within Dentsu Aegis Network. She also writes and produces video content on the side for her production company, Top Dog Productions.

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

I started in advertising when I was 18. I snuck my way in by first working as a PA for the Finance Director at Clemenger BBDO Sydney, and slowly made my presence known to the Creative Director with creative timesheet chasing and finance reports.

Looking back I have no idea how I even coped in that department. Me and numbers are not friends. And don’t even talk to me about excel spreadsheets *shutters*.

After completing Award School and finally landing a job in the creative department at 20 years old, I spent the next 4 years learning everything I could about the industry and both sides of the creative coin (Art Direction and Copywriting) before setting off to other agencies to grow my skillset and experience.

I worked my way up from junior burger to Creative Director by the age 30, and landed a role at a marketing to women, digital agency in Melbourne where I built and led a team of exceptional creatives.

It was from that moment I knew I had more to give than simply conceptual development. I had found my passion in leading and mentoring.

From then to now, so much has happened. I moved back to Sydney, had a short stint on radio, was on a TV show, because, why not?!

Started a production company and am now leading the creative department at gyro APAC. Life has definitely not been boring.

2) What is your current role and what does it entail on a day to day basis?

Currently I’m the creative Director of gyro APAC. And no two days are ever the same.

If I were to top-line my responsibilities, it would be to meet with clients, work with Strategy and Account Service on developing a brief.

Then conceptualising with my team, finding creative ways to bring their brand or offering to life.

Once we nail an idea, I would present the ideas back to the client and on approval, take them from concept to completion, which could be anything from producing and creating an online video to putting an activation or event together.

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

Up at 5:30am, head to F45 for 45 minutes of torture.

Head to work at 7-7:30am and swear at other drivers who cut me off on the Harbour Bridge.

Smash two coffees before 10am.

Get together with the team for WIP. Work out what’s on for the day and everyone’s deliverables.

Tackle any briefs that are on – find creative ways to sell, sell, sell!

Lunch time – what is that? I usually cram a meal in at my desk.

Everything after lunch is usually deliverables – getting work out the door and in front of clients.

Aim to leave work by 5:30pm, usually leave by 6:30pm.

Swear at cyclists on my way out of Walsh Bay as they illegally ride over pedestrian crossings.

Enjoy listening to murder mystery podcasts on my commute home for an hour or so.

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

Writing lists, save my life. Knowing what I need done at the start of each day, keeps me focussed. And there’s nothing more satisfying than crossing those bad boys off when they’re done.

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5) In between your job, life and all your other responsibilities, how do you ensure you find some sort of balance in your life?

I make sure I make time to exercise. It’s super tempting to sleep in, but I make sure I get myself up early when I can, so I’ve done something good for myself.

I’ve also made Saturday mornings, my time. I don’t book anything in and make sure I fill it with whatever chills me out – acupuncture, walking my dogs, coffee out in the sun, etc.

It’s so important to take time out for yourself, before you can give your energy to everyone else.

6) What does work life balance mean to you?

It means being able to switch off when you leave work. And actually leaving work at a reasonable hour.

When it gets busy I’ll often find myself getting home around 8 or 9pm, cramming in dinner then wanting to go straight to bed, which basically means you only live your life on the weekends. Which is rubbish.

So having my evenings and mornings to remember why I work in the first place, is really important.

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

Waking up early to exercise, setting boundaries with clients so they don’t think they can contact you at all-hours and making sure I get enough sleep each night to kick ass the next day.

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

I like to get my hippy on every now and then, and a podcast that I love to listen to on my way to work is The Stacey June Show.

She’s a woman I personally know who has been in the media and entertainment industry for a long time, who finally followed her spiritual heart and ditched her day job to create a podcast where she talks about the power we have in ourselves to change our lives – and no, it’s not your typical self help stuff.

This chick is funny. She interviews a load of awesome people about what tools they use in their life to create balance and it’s totally worth subscribing to.

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

Try and be present. Even in the mundane stuff. I find if I take the time to pay attention, my days are way more fulfilling.

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

Unless you’re the luckiest person in the world, you’ll never get everything you need out of your job. And that’s totally OK, as long as you’re finding those things elsewhere.

To keep my creative, playful mind satisfied, I make sure I do things outside of work to keep my blood pumping. I sing in a band and make video content on the side.

I also do what I can for charities I’m passionate about. All of this, along with my day job, keeps me feeling full and not like I’m wasting any talent or time.

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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.