Interviews / Marketing & Advertising

Balancing the Grind with Becca Valle, VP & Head of Marketing at Aescape

Becca Valle is the VP & Head of Marketing at Aescape, a company building intelligent massage therapy to help people feel and live better, longer.

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

I’m a passionate marketer, brand builder, innovator and Vice President & Head of Marketing for Aescape. Aescape exists to help people live better, longer. We are a massage therapy solution to help hospitality, fitness and healthcare industries meet the growing demand for wellness.

These industries are facing massive labor shortages – up to 29,000 unfilled therapy positions in the US alone – and Aescape is solving for this with a fully automated massage and wellness experience that leaves members feeling healthier, happier and restored. 

Sports and wellness are personal passion points of mine and what drew me to Aescape – along with the opportunity to be a part of a trailblazing company and new-wave technology. 

As a young kid and athlete, I was always enamored by marketing – having grown up on the Chicago Bulls and Nike commercials. While I couldn’t articulate it at the time, I knew there was something special Nike was doing that made me believe if I wore Nike I would work out harder and become a better athlete.

That drove me to a career in advertising. I spent 12+ years on the agency side in Account Management building campaigns for some of the biggest brands: IBM, American Express, Gillette, Comcast, Visa and more. I was lucky enough to get involved in sports sponsorships with all of these brands, bringing together my personal and professional passions. 

My passion for sports marketing then took me to the New York Knicks where I spent 4 seasons leading the transformation of one of the biggest brands in sports: growing the Knicks social and digital storytelling capabilities, innovating ticket products, and reinventing digital platforms to provide fans with more access to the game they love. 

I’m fueled by curiosity and a drive to continually push myself outside of my comfort zone – this took me to Meta where I spent a year collaborating across Facebook, Instagram and Meta with the goal of accelerating product adoption. 

This same desire for learning and exploring new possibilities led me to the startup world and Aescape. I’ve been at Aescape for 4 months and it’s been absolutely invigorating. First, the technology is truly groundbreaking – we’ve built a fully automated massage experience that is helping multiple industries fulfill the rising demand for wellness solutions. The culture and team are outstanding – we’re young, hungry, scrappy, fun! and are invested in what we believe will be a category game-changer. 

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

I’m a morning person and find that days where I’m most productive start with a morning workout. It sets the tone for the day in that I’ve started my day with an act of self-care – if the work day gets crazy and I find myself working late, I’ve at least done something for myself that day.

I wake up with my partner, Craig, who leaves the apartment much earlier than me so we can wish each other an awesome day. Then, workout time. I’m a Peloton junkie and one of those people non-Peloton people love to hate: always talking about my favorite instructors and classes.

I leave my phone in the bedroom to allow myself to focus on ME. 

As any marketer and person living the startup life will tell you, no day is the same. However, I like routine and have adopted a routine that has carried across a number of companies and roles. 

  • It starts with a morning dose of news – through a quick scan of emails and social, I’m able to dive into industry news and personal interests. If there’s something applicable to friends or colleagues or both, I’m sharing it. 
  • My priorities list is always running through my head. While I’m still an old-school notebook user, I will jot down my top to-dos on my iPhone to help me prioritize when I walk into the office. I try to read on the subway to allow personal time before the grind of the day – sometimes I’m better at this than others. 
  • My day tends to be oriented around key meetings and priority deliverables. I measure my own personal success based on productivity. I’m getting better at giving myself “permission” to shut off at the end of the day at a reasonable time so that I can spend more time with Craig and enjoy my personal life. This takes intentional actions like leaving my computer at the office and turning off work notifications. 
  • My favorite parts of the day are people moments, like walking to lunch with a colleague or lunch with the engineering team. I become smarter from these lunches and love learning about people I don’t get to work with on a regular basis. 

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

You’ll notice that I use “passion” a lot throughout this interview. Passion is how I live my life and what I put into the world. Work-life balance is about putting as much passion into your personal life, relationships and interests as you do your work.

I recently took a strengths-finder assessment through work. My top strength is achiever – a nice way of saying over-achiever and workaholic – so balance isn’t always easy for me. It requires intentional actions to prioritize my personal well-being over professional productivity and accomplishments.

Things like leaving my computer at the office at the end of the day, pausing my slack notifications, NOT looking at work when I get home, and at times even asking my friends “can we limit the work conversation tonight?”

Areas I’m passionate about are traveling, skiing, hiking, running and family time – which I’m good at creating space for. I’ve become even better at not working during personal time off and saying no to work requests during that time Luckily Aescape is incredibly respectful of boundaries and this has not been a challenge as it sometimes was in previous roles. 

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

After listening to a podcast on the negative effects of caffeine, I cut out coffee. I feel less anxious and jittery and sleep much better as a result. I do however cheat when in a city known for coffee. 

I’ve also been on my phone WAY less – my screen time drops every week. It’s freeing. 

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

As the daughter of an English teacher, I’m a big reader – mostly fiction or a great autobiography. There’s no better way to “turn off” than to open a book during your subway commute or when you crawl into bed at night.

I tend to gravitate towards books with strong character building, and most recently more emotional plots. Like my movie preferences, the books I gravitate towards tend to be heavy emotionally, but they never fail to inspire and move you.  

A few over the last few years that stand out: 

  • All The Lonely People, Mike Gayle – I don’t want to say too much for fear of revealing what is a plot twist, although the description of the book doesn’t hint at it. It’s moving, both heartwarming and sad, and makes you believe in the power of love and friendship. I couldn’t put this down. 
  • Everyday I Fight, Stewart Scott – an inspiring autobiography from the legend himself on his fearless and unrelenting battle with cancer. This was gifted to me by a fellow cancer survivor during my own journey (and recovery) over the last year. Stewart’s words from his 2014 Jimmy V Acceptance Speech impacted me then and even more so now – “When you die, that does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live and in the manner in which you live.”
  • Bravey, Alexi Pappas – my cousin and fellow runner turned me onto this. Bravey is about so much more than running. It’s a book of confidence, courage, resilience and determination to be the best version of yourself, all through Alexi’s humorous and passionate voice. “We should never want to become anyone else, because the greatest fulfillment we can ever get out of life is by becoming the best possible version of ourselves.”

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

Sharon Otterman. Sharon was the Chief Marketing Officer at Madison Square Garden when I ran marketing for the New York Knicks. She’s now the CMO of Caesars Digital of Caesars Entertainment.

If you haven’t heard of Sharon that’s because she’s humble and gets enjoyment out of sharing the spotlight with her team – I should know, I experienced it firsthand. Sharon is not only a brilliant and savvy marketer, she’s a unicorn leader who puts her people and her family first.

She shared an anecdote with me one day that she left work early because her daughters asked her to go get ice cream – she never wanted to look back on the moment and say she was too busy to spend time with her daughters. This story continues to stay with me many years later – we need more Sharon Ottermans leading and setting positive work-life examples for us.

I’m making assumptions here, but to me, Sharon demonstrates that you truly can “have it all.” I’d love to hear more about how she does it. 

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

A mentor of mine once shared a phrase that motivates her: “This is not a dress rehearsal. We get one chance to live the life we want.” This advice was given in the context of my need and desire to create an equally passionate and fulfilling life outside of work.

It’s motivated me to ensure I’m putting as much passion into my personal relationships, ambitions and interests as I am professionally. I often find myself coming back to this saying when that balance between life-work feels off. Notice how I flipped it to lead with “life.”  

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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.