Balancing the Grind with Shivani Gopal, Founder at ELLADEX

Shivani Gopal is the founder at digital mentor marketplace ELLADEX, which combines the latest in data-matching and machine learning technology to create tailored education programs for women at all professional levels.

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

I’ve had an interest in finance since I was a young girl, so I started my career as a financial advisor when I was in my early twenties. After working my way up in several large organisations, I started to realise just how male-dominated the corporate world is and how few women were in positions of power.

Eventually, it clicked that the absence of women in senior positions wasn’t because they didn’t want to be there – I had plenty of female friends who were just as ambitious and driven as I was. The issue was that women faced hurdles in the workplace that men didn’t and they weren’t being given the right tools or resources to develop their professional skills.

This realisation inspired me to create The Remarkable Woman, which soon became a strong community of more than 25,000 professional women. We connected ambitious women with learning resources, self-development tools, and mentorships that would help them grow. Now we’ve rebranded into ELLADEX, which has a super-app that provides professional, personal, and financial development opportunities 24/7.

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

Over the past few months, my team and I have been preparing to launch the ELLADEX app, so this is quite a busy time for us. I usually get up around 5am and do some form of exercise, as I’ve found this is essential to get me energised and in the right mindset for the day. Sometimes I do a pilates class, while other days it’s a gym session or even just a good walk if I’m feeling like my body needs gentle movement.

Around 6.30- 7am I start to get ready for the day, which involves getting my toddler up and ready! Breakfast is usually a quick and healthy berry and oat smoothie while I listen to podcasts to catch up on the news and get my head around everything I have going on for the day.

At 9 am my team and I usually have a quick meeting. We try to keep this as short as possible, but it is important to know what is a priority and what may require extra attention on that particular day.

In the lead-up to releasing ELLADEX, most of my days have been spent curating every detail of the app to ensure it offers the best experience possible. This changes every day, but it can be anything from meeting with our product manager, to consulting with our head of learning and aligning content for the app, or conducting research and connecting with incredible businesswomen who can offer their professional insights to our community.

Having a toddler means I have a hard stop at 5pm so I can pick him up from daycare and be there for dinner and bedtime. I usually log back on after 7.30pm to clear my to-do’s and get in alignment for the next day before I unwind for bed. At this point, I do my best to switch off, sometimes with a glass of wine and a little TV or by reading a book.

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

As an entrepreneur, you can become so enmeshed in your business that it can easily start to feel as though your personal and professional life are one. It took me a while to realise how important it is to carve out quality personal time because I am so driven by the idea of growing my business as much as possible.

For me, work-life balance means nurturing the parts of my life that exist outside of work. Friends, family, travel, hobbies – all those things that can easily fall by the wayside as a business owner, but nourish your life when you prioritise them. 

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4) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

I’ve recently started setting myself a 15-minute timer on social media apps. It’s been a game-changer, as I didn’t realise just how much time I was wasting on them! Social media can be such a great business tool, but it can also be a massive drain on your time, energy, and wellbeing, so I’ve found that this stops me from falling into the trap of endlessly scrolling.

To make sure I’m taking care of my mind and body, I’ve also started meditating once a day – even if it’s just for five minutes – and making sure that I do one thing for myself once a week. As any business owner and parent would know, it’s easy to give everything to your work and to your little one and leave no time for yourself. So meditating and going to a pilates class is a way that I’ve established personal wellbeing habits into my routine.

5) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

I’m the host of the Leading Women podcast by Women in Focus, so I can’t go past recommending that! We’ve spoken to some remarkable female leaders about their experiences, so there are some great leadership lessons on there!

I love reading as a form of self-development, and one book I love is The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. It’s a few years old now, but it’s such a powerful reminder that we are our habits and how they can be used to live happier, more fulfilled lives at work and at home.

I also love Half the Sky by Nicholas Krisof and Sheryl Wudunn. It’s a great book on the power of women and the gravity of neglect of women’s rights around the world. My final recommendation is I Know This To Be True by Gloria Steinem – a fast but deeply powerful feminist read!

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

Richard Branson! He lives such a big life and is a fully expressed version of himself – in work and in life – and that’s my ultimate goal. 

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

At the end of the day, I want women to know that ambition isn’t a dirty word. We have every right to work towards our professional goals, and this doesn’t have to come at the cost of our personal lives.

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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.