Interviews / Marketing & Advertising

Balancing the Grind With Louise Tran, Head of Purposeful Marketing at ForPurposeCo.

Louise Tran is the Head of Purposeful Marketing at ForPurposeCo., a a sustainable, socially focused, profit-generating business that is focused on food and waste technology.

ForPurposeCo. exists as a profit-for-purpose social enterprise to increase funding for OzHarvest, the first perishable food rescue organisation in Australia.

Balance the Grind spoke to Louise about building the foundations of OzHarvest’s brand, leading the ForPurposeCo. business, work-life balance as a part-time working mum of a toddler and plenty more.

This conversation is brought to you by HelloFresh, delivering delicious ingredients and simple recipes straight to your doorstep each week.

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

I am a marketing, communications, PR, events and brand strategy specialist. Over the past 10 years I have been marketing for global FMCG brands as well as working with for-impact organisations such as OzHarvest, R U OK? and others.

I am passionate about the for-impact sector and started working with OzHarvest in 2013 as its first in-house marketing employee.

Having led OzHarvest’s Brand, Comms, Events and Marketing direction for over six years nationally, I am proud to have played a key role in building the foundations of OzHarvest’s brand, which is now globally recognised as a leading organisation in food rescue, education and sustainability.

Starting as a solo-staffed marketing team, I slowly recruited (sometimes hiring or respectfully poaching many people I worked with at previous companies!) and built a passionate team dedicated to expanding and sharing OzHarvest’s mission and purpose. We were behind a number of recognised large-scale events like the CEO CookOff™ and Think.Eat.Save.

As an official partner of the United Nations Environment Program, I also led and delivered large-scale awareness activations in Lima, Peru and Bangkok, Thailand and hosted an event in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam spreading the food waste message to a global audience.

I have since shifted focus to OzHarvest’s newly established social business and innovation arm, ForPurposeCo™.

Currently one of two members leading this business, we have a mission to diversify and create sustainable revenue streams for OzHarvest through social enterprises. We are focused on bringing to life, exciting innovations in food and waste technology.

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

My day-to-day looks at helping to discover or create food and tech related social businesses and innovations that have the potential to help OzHarvest create further impact. Profits generated by ForPurposeCo. goes to OzHarvest.

I lead the marketing, brand and communications side of the business however as a small agile team, I am also very hands with the operations, logistics and admin side!

We launched ForPurposeCo.’s first social enterprise Juice For Good, Australia’s first OJ vending machine with purpose, in December 2018. Six-months on, it has delivered more impact than we could have imagined.

We have some more ideas in the pipeline that we look forward to sharing with the rest of the world! Stay tuned, or check us out at (I’m always ready to plug whatever it is I’m working on).

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

The start-up we have created ForPurposeCo. has been running for a little over a year. Right now we’re working on scaling up our first social enterprise business, Juice For Good, which is Australia’s first fresh orange juice vending machine that uses blemished fruit.

Myself and my colleague are currently very hands on with this business, as its success is critical to the success of our unique start-up model. We didn’t start with a single idea or product, we started with a vision to bring to life many products that could do well in Australia – that will generate revenue for OzHarvest so it can deliver more impact.

On top of building up a brand (or 2 in our case) from scratch using all the social and digital tools available to any business, we need to make sure our product is accessible. And that people actually like it.

So, this week as an example, I’m getting ready for the team to install more vending machines around Sydney. We have an operations team who install, maintain and refill our vending machines and ensure that customers have fresh juice.

I negotiate the relationships with our locations – including shopping centres, construction hoardings and private businesses – and ensure we have lovely welcoming homes for our wonderful machines so that our customers can enjoy fresh orange juice that delivers impact.

When we started the business six months ago, I was also the Juice For Good Hotline – so any customer calls would come straight to my mobile – even those juice drinkers at 3am in the morning!

Thankfully, as the business has grown, we’ve been able to outsource this!

I really have loved being hands on from the beginning, it really gives great insight into the world of start-ups and a glimpse into building a social enterprise from scratch.

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

My calendar rules my life. As a part-time working mum of a toddler, I need to know important things like when to pick up my child from daycare!

I use my Google Calendar for work-related appointments as well as life appointments. As our family schedule changes weekly, the digital calendar helps me with practical things like not forgetting my child.

Louise Tran, Harvey Pembroke (Juice For Good Operations Manager), Mary Sue Rogers (ForPurposeCo. Catalyst) and Leap Vann Norm (Juice For Good) at Rabobank Farm2Fork event Cockatoo Island, Sydney – March 2019

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

Spending time connecting with loved ones is important to me. Also making sure there’s time connecting with new people who inspire me in all aspects of professional or personal life. I am a people person and I love food – so getting together over food is a great way to connect and be energised by human connecting and conversation.

Recently I experienced pretty severe back pain, which was my body telling me I was not looking after it! So I have taken that on board, and have committed to doing Pilates, yoga or barre classes weekly, when I can fit it in.

Sneaking in holidays is always a nice way to re-balance yourself too. I’m always encouraging of friends and colleagues to take some time to unwind. I’m also usually the one organising weekend-aways!

6) What does work life balance mean to you?

I love my work, it’s meaningful and brings lots of joy to people, so I do not look at “work” strictly as working 9-5pm then switching off. Being able to work flexibly is a blessing to me and allows me to be there for my toddler, but also allowing me to work when it suits me and my family.

Balance to me means waking up everyday, having a choice and intentionally putting your energy and effort into things you really care about – whether its your job, your hobbies, extra curricular interests or sport.

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?

Be kind to people. Always be grateful. One of my old bosses used to ingrain in his workers – “Always say thank you – no matter how big or small the act is, always be in debt.”

A little note, a text message, a phone call or an email goes a long way. It’s stuck with me and I think it’s so important when we’re always rushing to finish something and move on to the next thing, we mustn’t forget to appreciate and thank all those who helped along the way.

Be authentic and build authentic relationships. You never know when you might cross paths with someone in future who will play a part in bringing to life your visions or ideas!

A talented friend recently taught me that leadership requires an open mind, open heart and open will. You see the world differently looking through this lens.

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

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

Strong soy latte please.

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

It sounds cliche but life is too short to wake up everyday and not enjoy what you do. If you can find work that adds meaning or purpose to your life, or to others – give it a try, you might find yourself not being able to turn back.

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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.