Interviews / Marketing & Advertising

Balancing the Grind With Sharlie Raymond, Alliances & Marketing Manager at Outcomex

Sharlie Raymond is the Alliances & Marketing Manager at technology provider company, Outcomex, where she is responsible for driving the marketing and developing partner relationships.

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

I’m originally from Montreal, Canada and my first language is French. During my years in Montreal, I completed a Bachelor of Public Relations and Marketing.

I also tried my hand at a few different things; I was a Rep for a beer company, I worked a few years as a project manager for a marketing and event planning agency, I did press relations for the Museum of Fine Arts of Montreal, and finally I worked in Project Management for the National Bank of Canada’s IT department.

I moved to Sydney in early 2016 to complete a master’s degree in IT Project Management at University of Technology Sydney (UTS).

I’ve now been living in Australia for three and a half years and working at Outcomex, a technology company, for three of those years. At Outcomex, I’ve been able to put my dual background to use and occupy roles as an IT Project Manager and as an Alliances and Marketing Manager.

Since I started at Outcomex, for some inexplicable reason, I’ve been trusted with various unlikely projects. One memorable project that I was assigned early on, which I felt privileged to undertake, was to lead the rebranding of the company (new name, new logo, new image, new website).

I’ve also managed the opening of four new branches in three different states; from drawing their floorplans, to doing their interior design, to overseeing the construction teams.

On the other side of the spectrum, I’ve also managed teams of network engineers working on multi-million dollar Data Center refresh projects for different government entities.

Just picture a 20-something female with a French accent sitting at a table of middle-aged male managers. They smelt fear, so I had to learn fast and mentally use the phrase ‘fake it until you make it’ often.

I wouldn’t have had it any other way thought, as those initial years were very diversified and filled with exciting learning opportunities!

I believe the challenges I faced then (and still do!) steepened my learning curve and understanding of the Australian IT industry.

Which is why In May 2019, I was proud to be recognised in the 30 under 30 at the Australian Tech Awards for my contribution to IT Marketing, while in 2018 I was a finalist for the Rising Star award at the Women in ICT Awards in Australia.

The same year, I was awarded the Chairman Award at our company’s Employees’ Awards.

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

My current role is Alliances and Marketing Manager at the tech company Outcomex.

My responsibilities consist of:

  • developing relationships with our assigned partners (around ten different companies)
  • managing the marketing department with resources in Sydney and Melbourne
  • leading the opening of the company’s new offices across Australia (which has currently seen me board a plane eight times in the last two months).

On a day to day basis, I chat with my marketing team to know how they’re progressing on their projects and to see if I can provide any support.

Part of my role is to make sure my employees keep learning and improving, so I try to give them as many diversified tasks and projects as possible.

I organise engineering training for our staff with our partners and manage different rebates or compliance programs with them.

I also work on the company’s marketing strategy and planning – organise campaigns, conferences, shooting of customer case studies, customer workshops, etc.

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

A regular workday for me would be to wake up at 6:45am and take the train to the office. My commute is one hour so I use that time to get a head start on my day and read all my emails from the previous evening.

I get to the office around 8:30am. I leave work around 5:30pm after a day filled with various meetings.

After work, if I’m not catching up with friends, taking Spanish classes or playing tennis, my partner and I usually cook dinner and settle in front of Netflix for a quiet evening.

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

I’ve always worked with to-do lists, so the first thing I do everyday is to write down everything I want/need to complete by the end of the day.

The trick I use to avoid feeling overwhelmed by the number of tasks I have is to always add one or two tasks that I’ve already completed, so I can cross them off straight away. It works for me!

A year ago, I started managing a team spread across Sydney and Melbourne, and it became increasingly hard to track everyone’s progress on their projects and have visibility, so we started using Freedcamp, an online collaboration and project management tool.

There is various other collaboration software online (e.g. Trello, Teamwork, etc.), but after analysing the other platforms, I found that Freedcamp was the best option for my team.

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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 don’t have children yet, so I guess work-life balance is a lot easier for me to achieve than it would be for parents.

My way of having a work-life balance is to make the conscious decision to work for a company that actually values work-life balance, which means that I’m not expected to work 60h/week to prove my commitment to the organisation.

6) What does work life balance mean to you?

Balance to me means opportunity and possibility, or in other words: time and money. Realistically, work-life balance can only be achieved if the organisation your work for commits to it.

Opportunity: Having time left after completing a regular working day and all other obligations to do something you enjoy.

Possibility: Earning a wage that gives you the possibility to utilise your free time to do something you enjoy.

It’s impossible to have a good work-life balance if you have time, but not money, or money but no time.

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?

I love learning things that are unrelated to my work. It makes me feel accomplished, and it’s a big part of my work-life balance.

My best habits have been to take classes, whether it is Spanish or tennis, as well as to develop common interests and do joint activities with my partner, so we’re utilising the little free time we have left in the best possible way.

We travel and go on weekend getaways as often as possible, so we definitely make the most out of our weekends before starting another busy work week.

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

It took me a while to answer this question. Let’s just say that I’m not really one for self-help books, but sometimes you find growth in unexpected places.

One book that has stayed with me over the years is The Spinoza Problem by Ivin D. Yalom. This novel is a tale of philosophy, religion, and freedom. It’s one of those books that really makes you think.

It’s forced me to question everything considered a ‘tradition’, all those things that have been done the same way for years and have been collectively accepted as a norm.

I strongly believe that, as a society, we should re-assess our traditions, periodically, and 2020 seems like a good year to start.

In my work life, I question every process (or lack thereof), as well as any forms that bring little value but has been done the same way for years.

I’m constantly questioning the ‘why’ of everything to understand if we can do better; better as an organisation or better as a society.

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

My advice on work would be to never say ‘no’, even when you think you’re not ready.

It’s only when we get thrown out of our comfort zone that we grow and that we are able to realise our own potential .

My advice on life would be to question everything and learn as much as possible. We’re never too old to pick up something new or to change our ways.

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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.