Caroline Addy is the Managing Director of UK PR agency, Milk & Honey PR, where she is currently heading up their Australian office, launched in January 2020.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
Landing in PR over a decade ago was simply a ‘right place, right time’ scenario. I’ve worked on some amazing clients with some fantastic teams.
In 2018, I moved back to the UK after spending four years in Sydney. I heard about a new PR agency called Milk & Honey PR. After meeting the founder, Kirsty Leighton, decided it offered me the chance to join an ambitious, female-led environment.
The following 12 months were a rollercoaster of client and team growth. We took on a new hire each month throughout 2019 and doubled our revenue. I’ve never worked so hard, learnt so much or been so proud.
Unfortunately, while the decision to move back to the UK felt right at the time, we just couldn’t settle. My husband and I made the decision to move back to Australia.
Amazingly this wasn’t the end of my Milk & Honey journey; it was just the beginning. Six months on, I’m now managing director of our Australian office with a fantastic client director by my side.
If someone had asked me a couple of years ago whether I’d consider launching a company, my answer would have been ‘not a chance’ but I love it.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
Milk & Honey launched over here in January 2020. What a crazy year to start an agency!
My ‘day in the life’ has evolved on a weekly basis since January as we signed new clients and navigated our way through the lockdown.
I work really closely with our client director, Maggie. Between the two of us we do it all. From one hour to the next I can be doing finances and new business through to HR and client content creation. Not forgetting the stationary orders! So, the most important part of our workday is communication.
Around 4.30pm the Milk & Honey UK team start coming online so I also like to make sure I’m staying in touch with regular video calls.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
Even before Coronavirus, we had the infrastructure in place to allow people to work remotely when they wanted to.
I’m a big advocate of flexible working. I love to lock myself away some days to focus on pieces of content or plans. Remote working should be an option for everyone, rather than something that requires a reason. It only works when there’s trust.
Lately though, there’s been far too much remote working! The idea of working from home forever does not inspire me and we won’t be going down that path post-pandemic. Ensuring a good balance means company culture can still thrive.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
Too often, the harder you work the more that’s expected of you and it’s a difficult cycle to break. For a while, early on in my career, I prioritised work over life in order to be seen as reliable and hard working. However, putting off things like dentist and doctors’ appointments was the wrong way to go about it.
Now I’m in a leadership role I understand the importance of maintaining that balance; not just for me but for the team. We only have one body and one family. So, I will continue to lead by example when it comes to work and life – even if that means life pips work to the post more often than not.
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?
Surrounding myself with people who inspire and challenge me and believe in me. The people around you can have an immeasurable effect not only on your success but also your mental state of mind.
Embracing being different. I’m an introvert, but for a long time I tried not to be. It was very tiring! Being honest about when I need help. I had to learn this one the hard way!
6) Are there any books that have helped you improve over the years?
I’m a thinker. Even when I’m trying to sleep, I’m usually thinking! Books are my way to switch off. I love reading books set in an era when ‘always-on’ technology didn’t exist.
Ken Follett is one of my favourite authors. His stories date back centuries. I can pick any of his books up and completely lose track of time. This escape route from such a fast-paced industry might not improve me in a conventional way but the impact it has on my state-of-mind is just as important.
7) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?
Have a cup of tea and read or watch the news. It’s simple but those first few minutes of the day are the best and it’s not often you get them again once the day has started.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
I watched an interview with Mike Cannon-Brook, CEO of Atlassian, at a tech conference a couple of years ago. His net worth is something crazy like US $11 billion but several times he referred to his wife and child who were sitting in the front row. I’d love to see more authenticity like this around the realities of maintaining a work-life balance.
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