CEOs / Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Christina Gilbert, Co-Founder & CEO at OneSchema

Christina Gilbert is the Co-Founder and CEO at OneSchema, an embeddable spreadsheet importer and validator for product and engineering teams.

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

I’m currently the co-founder and CEO at OneSchema. We save software engineers years of development time with our suite of developer tools for ingesting CSV data.

Our flagship product is an embeddable CSV importer used by developers to launch CSV import capabilities in a day, instead of months of development time. OneSchema improves customer activation / import completion rates by automatically correcting customer data.

I founded OneSchema after seeing how painful it was for engineering teams to build CSV importers at pretty much every SaaS company. Instead of working on their core roadmaps, they were fielding spreadsheet parsing bugs. I wanted to make it easier for anyone to build a world-class data import experience in their product. 

I graduated from Stanford with a BS in Computer Science. After graduating, I worked at Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund. I then started as a Product Manager at Google, where I worked on YouTube and Chromebooks. 

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

I like to go for a run in the morning because it clears my head and it reduces stress for the rest of my workday. I typically start work with sales calls, as we have many customers in Europe or the East Coast who want to meet early. 

I try to split my time between talking to my customers, my team, and focused strategic work. At the beginning of each day, I write down the three most important things I want to get done and try to find time on my calendar for focused work to complete the tasks. This helps me stay focused on what’s actually most important to complete that day. 

I usually work until about dinnertime, and before I go to bed I always look at my calendar for the next day and make sure I’m prepared for all my meetings the next day. 

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

I focus on carving out time for my partner, friends, family, and hobbies. I always feel a little guilty if there’s work to be done that I’m not getting through, but I make an effort sometimes to ignore the things I could be working on to carve out time for the other things in my life.

Usually, they’re not so important that they can’t wait a day. Scheduling time to do things like read a book or make art (that wouldn’t normally necessarily be on your calendar) is helpful to me as well.

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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 started trying to set aside a little bit of time each day to do something for myself, by myself – like journaling, going for a walk, or listening to music. I think that when I get really busy with work, these are the first things that get “cut”. Spending even just 15 minutes alone (and not working) makes me feel refreshed. 

I’ve mostly stopped drinking except on special occasions. I’ve read recently about studies that show even light alcohol consumption increases your baseline stress levels and is massively (more than I thought previously) disruptive to your sleep. I enjoy a glass of wine as much as anyone, but it just doesn’t seem worth the cost.  

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

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. It’s a memoir about his unexpected battle with cancer, and explores what makes life meaningful. Though it’s a deeply sad memoir, it inspires me to reflect on the things that bring me joy and the beauty of the human experience. 

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

Barack Obama. When the weight of the world is on your shoulders and every decision you make impacts millions of lives, I’d love to know how he thinks about taking rest.

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

I think the key to finding balance is to spend time reflecting on what brings you joy and if you’re actually incorporating the things you love into your day-to-day life.

It’s easy to get caught up in whatever’s right in front of us (TV, social media, low-quality time with friends), and look back a month and realise you didn’t actually spend your free time doing things you like doing. Reflecting allows me to live intentionally. 

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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.