Interviews / Marketing & Advertising

Balancing the Grind With Samantha Dargan, Marketing Manager at Life Resolutions

Samantha Dargan is the Marketing Manager at Australia’s leading network of professional psychology practices, Life Resolutions, managing all marketing and communications projects.

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

My journey first started while studying at University for my Bachelor of Communication, majoring in public relations. At this time, I was a senior sales assistant for five years working for a global retail company before I chose to pursue my dream career in marketing.

Even though I was degree qualified in public relations, I found a burning passion for the marketing industry since I started my placement at the head office of this global retail giant. I was given this opportunity after my Manager had recognised my need to get my ‘foot in the door’ and he helped by recommending me to the head office team.

Soon after, a Marketing Assistant role was created especially for myself after the completion of this internship and that is how I realised that the wonderful world of marketing was for me.

It was only due to traveling so far for this role that I started to look elsewhere. I then landed a new role as an Assistant Commercial Manager at a digital media company, where I worked for two of their online digital publications.

I trialled this role to gain a better understanding of the commercial landscape and where I wanted to excel in terms of my marketing career.

After this trial, I had a better understanding and applied myself in a new role as a Marketing Executive at a marketing agency. In this position, I had seen my passion for marketing come to life while working with 5-10 different clients at one time.

I was working with some of the best in the business, in a range of industries. I worked on multiple projects for my clients involving: marketing strategies, social media, copywriting, proof reading, editing, event management, EDM’s, website management, research, analytics and much more while working with my clients, design teams and suppliers.

This helped me ignite my natural flare and passion as a marketing consultant within the industry, as I really enjoyed the “no day is the same” culture and the variety of different projects I worked on.

I will never forget an incredible day for me working in this position when two of my clients at the time had reached out to let me know I had made them both 5 million in revenue since signing on with me in 4 months, my clients success equalled my own and I was very proud when I received this feedback.

In this role, I also helped manage the internship program at the agency, assisting determined marketing students both nationally and internationally by working closely with them on marketing projects, supplying feedback and assisting them with advice on how to get their foot in the door themselves.

Now having a taste for the agency life, I ventured off yet again and landed another role as a Marketing Coordinator at Life Resolutions. Life Resolutions is a national chain of private practicing psychology practices made up of many experienced psychologists.

This was a new area for me to gain exposure in and I’m known to never be the type to shy away from a challenge. I was passionate and applied myself to get this role as naturally I am a strong advocate for all thing’s mental health. I felt that I was a great fit for this position as I am naturally aligned with the companies overarching goal, which is: “To provide the highest quality in professional counselling services to help improve the mental health and wellbeing of our society”.

I wanted to do my bit and help reduce the stigma tied to getting mental health support, while also wanting to use my marketing skills to help educate others on where they can get the best mental health support from. As a natural people person, this role helped me find purpose and also gave me a sense of belonging, knowing that my work now helps others live healthier lives.

After finishing my role as the Marketing Coordinator, I was then promoted into my current role, as the Marketing Manager at Life Resolutions.

I continue to enhance my marketing and communication skills in the allied health industry, managing many psychologists as my clients and managing all marketing and communications projects for the Life Resolutions brand.

In 2016, I finished University and in a span of 3 years I managed to work hard and achieve my goal of becoming the Marketing Manager I am today.

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

A typical workday in the life of Samantha looks a lot like a jigsaw puzzle, every day I work on a different piece to complete a puzzle, however each piece contributes to a number of different projects. No day is ever the same and I am forever busy so completing a puzzle doesn’t just happen in a day, not for me anyway!

My typical working day does range, however it could look like: planning and coordinating tasks, client meetings, team meetings, calendar coordination, client management, call centre management, emails and EDM’s, research, analysis, reporting, social media, supplier engagement and management, designing marketing collateral, coordinating marketing collateral for suppliers and clients, website management, internal communication, practice management, marketing strategy, AdWords management, blogging, public relations, SEO, event management, copywriting, proof reading and editing content for the business as required.

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

Yes, I am fortunate enough to have a flexible working arrangement in my current role at Life Resolutions and have the ability to work 2 days a week from home. Working for a company that supports mental health, we pride ourselves on looking after our own also with healthy work-life balance working arrangements.

This does help me and fits in with my life and routine as I can achieve great work, not only by working in my own environment but I can also plan my week in advance to ensure I can still have a healthy life outside of work.

I used to work endless hours in my previous roles naturally not needing or wanting to be payed overtime because I’m a hard worker, who is passionate about the work I deliver and am always dedicated to my client’s needs. I found myself to be burning out a lot faster often due to this approach and struggled to find a healthy balance, it was all work and no play.

However, now I have made my role my own, working with my colleagues as a team to have these flexible arrangements to assist in better work life balance. Working from home has improved our working culture, it helps alleviate stress and also allows us to be more ‘human’ rather than ‘robotic’, allowing us to work with the clock rather than against it.

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

A healthy work-life balance to me more simplified – is looking at a set of scales. If one side weighs to heavy on work, then the other side being life won’t be level and outweighed with too much work which results in burnout, so you are working more than living your life.

However, the scales can reverse and be too heavy on life and not enough work, where you won’t be able to sustain a healthy life without the work needed to assist in paying for the everyday needs required to help you feel more fulfilled.

To me, finding a healthy medium to sustain a good level of both work and life is important for me to be able to continue to be happy in my role at work and in my life. I work to achieve this goal with the working arrangement I have currently made at work, working 2 days a week from home.

This gives me better use of my environment and to be able to do the things I love on my lunch breaks, such as: seeing family, reading, going for a walk or sometimes I can get some weekend errands out of the way such as appointments or enjoy spending my lunch break eating and catching up with loved ones.

This then allows me to free up the time I have on weekends, where I can now use them for relaxation purposes to refuel for the new working week ahead.

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 would say the best habits or routines I have developed over the years to help myself achieve success in my life would be to maintain three healthy meals a day – breakfast, lunch and dinner.

I do recognise that it can be difficult to get breakfast in for most of us and I am not always a morning person, so I have made the habit to then instead of skipping breakfast (the most important meal of the day) to taking my breakfast to work with me on the mornings I have struggled to make time to fit this in.

I have always been one to promote good health so keeping up with my vitamins and lots of water helps me restore a healthy lifestyle and recharge my batteries. I make sure I get enough sleep each day, I aim for 8 hours a night and I notice a significant difference if I don’t achieve that amount of sleep, as I feel more energised at work if I do.

I try to limit the amount of coffee I have in my daily routine, while this can prove difficult because I am a big coffee lover. Also, some days are hard on the grind, so I am forever a few steps forward and a few steps back with this habit – definitely a work in progress!

That’s some main pointers I take on for my daily routine to build a healthy body and mind approach to help me strive for success. Over the years I have developed more hobbies outside of working hours, this is to assist in more life balance. I found that even with a working arrangement like mine, it’s important to also “live” life, then just “do” life.

I like to go for jogs/walks around the park, I applied myself to a course outside of work to meet new people, I like to meet with friends for dinner and drinks, I enjoy reading books, watching movies and recently I have started to write my own book as a bit of a hobby.

I have a bad (but actually good) habit of writing down daily tasks in my outlook calendar, notebooks and post-it notes for tasks daily at work, so I have actually used this same routine in my life.

An example of this is when I map out the things I would like to get achieved on my days off – and I do my best to tick every single one of those off my list, as ticking anything off a list is a real feel-good and a good motivator.

Long term, every year I strive for 3 new goals as part of my new year’s resolution, I usually have this written up on a piece of paper for me to see by my mirror each day when I get ready for a new day and it inspires me to keep going.

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

I am a real book worm, so I can definitely recommend a few different ones on a range of subjects that have helped me improve my outlook on life and prepare myself for some of life’s hurdles. These are:

  • The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Dr Joseph Murphey
  • Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t – by Simon Sinek
  • Body Buddhaful Journal by Michelle Merrifield
  • The Barefoot Investor: The Only Money Guide You’ll Ever Need by Scott Pape

These 4 are probably my favourite as they are all self-help books, which I have used for my own self-growth to achieve success.

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

My number one thing I do to make sure I get the most out of my day is making sure I nurture my body and mind by doing all the right things to fuel them.

I meditate when I can, I listen to music, I eat the right food (not always but aim too), I drink lots of water and I also make it a daily effort to contact a loved one to chat as I believe it is important for anyone to be able to communicate, for me this instantly restores a healthy balance in my everyday life.

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

If I could pick anyone, it would be Ellen DeGeneres! I love her, the fact that she has turned her work into her life, and then using her work to improve other people’s lives is so inspiring.

I truly believe if we could get her to ‘wear the other shoe’ for an interview, as she interviews so many, it would be truly inspiring to hear her story and what she has done to achieve her success. To me she is a true role model!

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

I guess some last thoughts or advice I can give on work, life or balance from myself would be to work with your colleagues and build arrangements and plans to help them strive for success. I think it is important for everyone to help, identify and educate others on the importance of these three fundamentals to achieve a healthy balance.

I think being more mindful that everyone is human, and that life creates many challenges for us all. When looking at work and life balance, these are fundamental needs for anyone to grow both professionally and personally, so making this a priority should be necessary.

Being present in the moment and being understanding of others needs is important. Everyone is different, not all the things I have suggested would work for all.

I would recommend that if someone wanted to start maintaining a healthy medium between life and work to achieve a good balance, they should first work out their own goals and ambitions for both work and life, then as a next step I would map out any obstacles that could prevent you to reach these goals.

After this, I would then work out potential solutions or arrangements to help you achieve these goals. Finally, as a last step I would re-access these goals regularly to see if there have been any improvements – it is up to yourself to work out what works best for you.

For most of us, we spend majority of our time at work – so enjoying where you work and loving what you do at work should be essential.

However, putting strategies in place to ensure you can continue to love where you work usually takes time and sometimes, we can be reluctant to do this for ourselves due to things such as ‘time’ being an obstacle. It is our own responsibility to ensure we are happy with what we do to achieve our own success.

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.