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Balancing the Grind with Bron Penhaligon, Head of Growth at Drive IQ Technology

Bron Penhaligon is the Head of Growth at Drive IQ Technology, a digital platform built to simplify and streamline asset finance.

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

I’m Head of Growth at Drive IQ and love working in the fintech space. As someone who is action orientated and solution focused, the challenges of carving out our own patch in this dynamic industry keeps me on my toes. 

Fresh out of Uni with a shiny new Communications degree under my arm, I started my career working with the wonderful John Hutchings in his publication’s advertising department.

With a deep desire to create integrated ad campaigns, I jumped into agency land and stayed there for the best part of 15 years. I worked in boutique agencies and design studios, loved a good rebrand and became known for watertight project management.

Before COVID hit, I’d moved to the client side and grabbed the wheel at Drive On.

The company’s founders navigated the COVID pandemic with strategic diversification and I now solely look after the Drive IQ brand – the technology platform we’ve built to streamline asset finance. Since the first lockdown, the team has grown from 6 to 25.

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

Every morning begins with walking my dogs; then it’s either a yoga session, coffee and working from home or doing the commute to the office. 

I’m very goal driven so I start my mornings with an action plan and make sure I build in time between tasks to reset my energy. 10am and 2pm meetings seem to be firm favourites, so I typically manage my day around those time slots. Depending on what’s happening, I could be preparing for a keynote, briefing the design team or chipping away on the deliverables of our strategic plan.

I change hats and switch focus to the family by 7pm. My husband and I have a teenage son, so evenings are usually filled with lots of food, joking around and Seinfeld episodes.

A glass of red, some dark chocolate and a chapter of a novel tends to close out most days.

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

I’m in the office two days a week and spend most of that time bouncing between meetings and collaborating with the team. The vibe, banter and communal lunches are definitely worth the commute.

My days working from home are divided into big time blocks where I focus on meaty project deliverables. Home days also give me more capacity to look after my physical health and juggle the workload that comes with family. 

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

For me, work-life balance means honouring the whole person and remembering that balance is a fluid concept. Some days will be incredibly dollar productive, others the body will crave quiet reflection and restoration. It’s important to listen to those cues.

To combat adrenal fatigue and overwhelm, I book something every month that’s restorative – whether it’s a hike, a yoga retreat or weekend with my girlfriends. 

I am also very lucky and grateful that I have the flexibility to be able to adapt my workload as I need to. In this way I can keep moving forward from a place of authenticity.  

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

Like a lot of people the pandemic lockdown gave me time to reflect and make adjustments that are more supportive to my physical and mental health. 

I quickly noticed on the days I started the morning with good self-care (dog walking, yoga, meditation, etc.) I saw a direct correlation to productivity and positive mindset. The ROI has been a source of motivation.

I’ve also embraced the fact that I am the fulcrum of my family unit and know I need to look after myself in order to be able to support them. Consistently making the decision to start each day with ‘me’ as the top priority has genuinely changed my life.  

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

Read: Wild by Cheryl Strayed – a great book that got me inspired to go on solo hiking adventures.

Subscribe: Yoga with Adriene on YouTube – her huge library of online classes obliterates any excuse you can come up with.

Listen: Fintech Insider podcast for industry insights and trends. The Fintech Founder Journey podcast to peek behind the curtain with Mike Scott.

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

I’m on a bit of a health kick so I am constantly tethered to my iWatch. I also recently discovered guided run podcasts and am a bit obsessed. 

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

It would be fascinating to hear from Robert Bell, the founder and CEO of 86:400. I was so impressed by his achievements and the pace of growth he maintained since starting the company.

I’d also be keen to hear New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s comments on the topic. The strength and grace with which she leads is inspiring. 

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

I often hear people comment negatively on how others choose to devote their time. “Dave has his priorities wrong”, “Julie works all the time”, “Sam doesn’t put in enough.”

Enough. Stop judging. Respect that we’re all on our own journey.

Also, please stop glorifying the grind. There’s nothing impressive about burnout. 

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About Author

Balance the Grind is a work-life balance publication on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.