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Interviews / Marketing & Advertising

Balancing the Grind with Carrine Eng, Marketing & PR Lead at XanPool

Carrine Eng is the Marketing & PR Lead at XanPool, an open finance infrastructure company that makes sending all forms of money across the world faster, cheaper, and lower risk.

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

I am the Marketing and PR Lead for XanPool, a cryptocurrency payment software startup that aims to make entry into the crypto world seamless and easier for users.

Under XanPool, we also have a non-crypto B2B payment gateway for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), XanPay, to accept local payment methods – which is a growing alternative payment method that is preferred by the locals over credit cards all across Asia.

In the short 3 months since I have joined, it’s important to wear multiple hats quickly in order to piece things together. What was important when I first started was to understand and establish who is the target audience and which channels to focus on to grow our community.

I was very happy when Tech in Asia announced our Series A funding last month! The news was also picked up by tech media giants like TechCrunch and crypto media such as Cointelegraph and Coindesk.

With a startup like XanPool, it is crucial to pick up fast, problem solve and execute ideas quickly. Reaching the right audience with the right channels are very important. The priorities are different compared to when you are in an MNC or SME, which makes up the bulk of my career background. 

During my time in an MNC like NTT Ltd., my role is more specialized. 

  • Although I was lucky to get exposure in many aspects of marketing. I got to learn best practices from other marketing teams globally and know which processes worked well. 
  • They taught me how to see things in a macro way. 

In a medium-sized company at Sage Asia, my role covers multiple areas.

  • I plan for campaigns and virtual events end-to-end, ensuring they are executed timely and with quality. 
  • They taught me the importance of cross-team communication to deliver quality projects on time. 

My goal at XanPool is to set directions aligned with business development and build processes and structures that are scalable with measurable marketing ROI as we grow.

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

My day is very simple. I like to spend my Monday mornings doing planning, reading and setting up to-do lists for the week.

It’s when my mind is most fresh, so a lot of prioritization and thinking are done in the mornings. After setting the to-do’s for each week, I will set targets on when to complete these tasks and block time on the calendar to accomplish them. 

At the start of the week, the different teams will gather in a meeting to share their priorities for the week and voice out if there is any help needed cross-functionally.

At the end of the week, we convene to share what we accomplished. I will share quick statistics on paid campaign performance such as how many MQLs we’ve received this week and the changes in CPA. 

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

Yes, definitely! I enjoy the flexibility of choosing when to come back to the office. 

Recently, I signed up for a gym with classes at 7.30am in the morning. After shower and breakfast, I will reach the office at around 9.30am ready to kickstart the day! As long as I manage my time and meeting schedule, it is absolutely a great benefit that XanPool allows flexibility in this area.

Between WFH and working at the office, I do personally prefer the office just because I love face-to-face interactions and there are definitely some things that virtual communication can’t replicate. But there are colleagues who are based overseas and we connect via Slack, sharing cool stuff and discussing crypto news updates!

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

My definition of work-life balance is 70% work and 30% me-time. I really enjoy my current role because we want to provide greater financial access to the unbanked and underserved regions. It’s a good cause and targets a niche audience who may have been discriminated against by the legacy financial systems because of how they are built. 

Being a curious learner, I like to consume content from different areas. From politics to startup stories, there is always something to learn and new perspectives to discover, so reading content that is related to work after work-hours doesn’t feel like work (although it kind of is haha). 

I have my me-time in the weekday mornings, after work-hours and weekends. My weekday mornings start with an intense workout; in the evening, I unwind by catching up on the Netflix series that I enjoy. On weekends, I will either catch up with friends or read a book at home and check in on a mini eCommerce store I own on Lazada and Shopee.

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

Who hasn’t! I have definitely started to exercise a lot more and make personal goals to do what I like. For example, I enjoy outdoor activities and hiking, so I make a point to do at least one hike or one outdoor activity each month. It has definitely made me more fulfilled.

I used to travel at least once a year. With the pandemic restrictions, I have changed that goal to encourage myself to try new things locally. In 2021, I tried wakeboarding, mangrove kayaking, axe-throwing, spinning class, exploring abandoned WWII tunnels to name a few; and I have an upcoming candle-making workshop which I will be giving to my parents as a Christmas present!

Since the pandemic, mental health has become such a big topic because we all used to ignore it. Because of WFH, some find it difficult to separate time at work and time at home. Knowing all these, I consciously make sure I always have time for myself, even if it means doing nothing. By taking care of myself, it will be the best gift I can give to myself.

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

I really like reading. My mom cultivated the bookworm in me ever since I was 3 years old. For non-fiction, I enjoy inspirational stories and figures. When I want to “escape” from real-life, I do love a good fiction book.

Startup stories are interesting to me because of how ideation came about and learning how they overcome obstacles. Some of my favourites are:

  • That Will Never Work: The Birth of Netflix and the Amazing Life of an Idea by Marc Randolph
  • No Filter: The Inside Story of Instagram by Sarah Frier
  • The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon by Brad Stone

Fictional books that I recommend:

  • Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
  • The Muse by Jessie Burton
  • The Confession by Jessie Burton

I am still trying to find a podcast series that I will religiously tune into, I would love it if any readers of Balance the Grind have recommendations for me!

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

Two things:

  1. My iPhone is 100% the gadget that is almost always with me. I spent most of my time on Instagram, not only to connect with friends but I get a lot of my bite-sized news and updates from there too. 
  2. My favorite candle, To the Moon & Back by Nine Wicker Ave. is something I couldn’t live without. It instantly calms me down whenever it is lit up. Pair it with some good music and my day is complete!

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

I would love to read any kind of interview from AOC, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She is an American politician and I admire her passion for serving and fighting for the general public. She articulates facts and figures with key points so impactfully, I can’t help but be in awe of the amount of work, effort and practice that goes behind it. 

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

Everyone has their own definition of work-life balance, there’s no right or wrong answer. 

The term work-life balance is highly subjective. To parents with kids, their work-life balance could mean prioritizing quality time with the family. To people who prefer to keep life and work separate, it could mean they like to ensure work does not diffuse too much into personal lives. 

What’s important is that you know what work-life balance means to you.

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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.