Danielle Le Toullec is the Head Of Marketing & Communications at True., an investment and innovation consultancy firm that specialises in retail, consumer & tech.
To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I’ve worn a lot of hats in my 13+ years in marketing across client, agency and start-ups. I’ve always craved variety and it’s led to some interesting places and experiences – from working in music journalism, tourism marketing, digital content at a music/culture start up and hospitality marketing.
I worked with big brands like Bose, McDonald’s, Estee Lauder and Shopbop in my agency days when I was working in OMD’s social media division as a Social Communications Manager, before moving into an in-house marketing role that took me from Sydney to London where I worked my way up to Head of Marketing for OMD globally.
From covering events like SXSW and Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, producing content for our 12k employees and clients, to working with each market around the world (we had offices in 100+ countries!) to deliver a monthly deep-dive on how COVID-19 was affecting different markets and brands as we navigated the pandemic. Lots of career highlights there including winning Adweek’s Agency of the Year in 2019 & 2020.
After 8 years at OMD, I got the opportunity to join True [https://www.true.global/], an investment and innovation consultancy firm, as Head of Marketing and Communications. For me, it delivers on the variety factor tenfold, as we specialise in retail, consumer & tech, working across the full spectrum of private equity, venture capital and innovation consultancy.
What does a day in your life look like for you?
Every day is different, but on a good day I’ll start with exercise / meditation / catching up with family or friends in Australia. On a less balanced day, I’m straight on my phone in bed doing emails and slack.
I look after all things social media, website, thought leadership, events, PR, partnerships & community at True, so each day will feature a combination of those. I always make sure I have enough time to connect with the team, to understand what they are working on, where my team can help and that what we are putting out is in line with our broader marketing strategy.
We’ve got a run of 6 events in the next 5 weeks so planning/organising those will be a big part of my days! We’ve got International Women’s Day coming up, a leadership workshop for our portfolio CEOs, a book launch with one of our not-for-profit partners, focusing on creating more access to working opportunities.
I also regularly catch up with various media platforms to ensure our brands have visibility on new products and features. Ongoing learning and education is also important to me, so my days will often feature an element of that – I recently finished a course with the Angel Investing School to upskill on the more technical aspects of my role.
What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
Thinking of it more as work/life fit can be a bit more realistic. But ultimately, it means that I have time and energy to do the things that I want to do, spend time with the people that I care about as well as time spent making a living and building an interesting career.
I’m lucky that I love what I do and am in a new industry where I am hungry for knowledge and progress. That can mean I spend a bit too much time in ‘sprint mode’ and put too much pressure on myself, but I try to remind myself that consistently burning the candle at both ends will catch up with you.
A game-changer for me that I started post-covid was pre-planning how I’d take my annual leave at the beginning of the year, so I have things to look forward to and built in ‘rest’ time. I’m also working on changing my mindset from output to impact in order to minimise ‘busy work’ and to carve out more ‘maker time’ as well as ‘manager time’.
In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
I came across Hal Elrod’s Miracle Morning earlier in the year – it’s broken out into 6 sections (SAVERS: Silence, Affirmations, Visualisation, Exercise, Reading and Scribing). Combining that with the 5 minute journal has been really helpful in terms of giving myself time to identify and isolate what I’m thinking and feeling, what’s happening now, what I want in the future and making sure that I’m being intentional and consciously setting my mindset.
It’s a really good day if I hit all 6, sometimes it’s just 1 and sometimes it’s 0. And that’s ok! I’ve found it really helpful, along with pushing myself to do more ‘active rest’ to counter the bulk of my time spent working on screens.
My partner taught me how to play chess in lockdown and we love backgammon, so finding time to do that rather than watching tv is great to unwind. I also learnt to scuba dive in January last year, which is the ultimate hobby for being present and getting a bit of perspective on how tiny you are.
Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
I’m a massive book lover, and usually have at least 2 on the go at any one time! I realised I was constantly reading business/personal development books though, so I’ve been trying to read more fiction to give my brain a bit of a break!
- The Power of Moments by Chip & Dan Heath
- How I Built This (book and podcast) by Guy Raz
- The Squiggly Career and You Coach You by Helen Tupper and Sarah Ellis
- Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard
Thursday Murder Club was a great read – murder mystery, debut novel by Richard Osman, a UK TV presenter. If you’re looking for complete escapism, The Fifth Season was absolutely incredible as well as the His Dark Materials series – not usually a fan of science fantasy but these two came highly recommended & have been very effective in taking my mind off work at the end of the day.
Diary of a CEO, How to Fail, The Tim Ferriss Show, The Prof G Pod.
Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
iPhone calendar reminders are a lifesaver and can be like having a helpful assistant to make sure you remember things (incl. travel time!). I love Pilates and my friend Jacqui set up an amazing platform called The Pilates Class over lockdown.
I do that 2-5 times a week & really recommend it. You can filter by the amount of time you have, and they give a weekly schedule so it’s not another thing to think about. I read a lot, so definitely my kindle or a paperback. Unmind, a workplace mental health platform that True first invested in 2016 – I try to use it most days.
If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
Serena Williams – her pivot from the greatest sportswoman of all time to founding Serena Ventures, a VC fund back in 2017 is really interesting. I love how she has reimagined her career path and how she is using her considerable wealth and influence (and resource that affords) to invest in many female-owned, diverse businesses. She is a great example of what it means to think you might not belong somewhere, but then absolutely dominating and redefining what that may be & opening the door for others to follow.
Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
Take the time to understand how you best work and what your non-negotiables are. Once you have a better idea of what a good day vs. a bad day looks like, you can take steps toward being more intentional and upping the frequency of the good ones! This visual from Sarah Arnold Hall sums it up perfectly:
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