Danielle Pinkus is the Head of Community at Blackbird Ventures, a venture capital fund based in Australia and New Zealand.
To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
As the Head of Community at Blackbird, my role focuses on leading Blackbird’s community programs, products and events.
We have three core pillars in the Founder Success team; talent (helping our portfolio hire great people), ecosystem (supporting more people to found or join startups) and founder experience (supercharging our portfolio with everything from resources to events and connections).
The Founder Success team’s mission is for the Blackbird community to be one of the things our founders most value about investment from Blackbird.
Our founder mentoring program Giants is one of the community’s first touchpoints with Blackbird. Through this program, we’re helping thousands of founders take their first step in validating their idea.
The Lilypad, our hiring platform, aims to funnel hundreds of people per year into portfolio companies, helping Blackbird leaders to build great cultures and ensuring they make our kids proud.
I started my career in journalism, working as a magazine and then digital journalist and editor, so it’s been an unconventional path to working in VC.
What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
Since my brain works best in the morning, I front-load all my creative and deep-thinking work before 1pm. For example, last week that looked like working on an events strategy for 2023 and our team growth framework.
The rest of my day is split between check-ins with the Founder Success team, triaging portfolio company requests, and working on upcoming events and strategies with my team.
What does work-life balance mean to you, and how do you work to achieve that goal?
After taking some time off for parental leave, I’ve recently come back to full-time work this year. Work-life balance has taken on a whole new meaning. One of the big changes is becoming more mindful of where I direct my energy.
I’m also making an effort to be as present as possible, whether I’m at work or at home. Practically this means aiming for complete focus when I’m online, being realistic about what can be done in a day, and setting clear expectations around when I’m available to my team.
Blackbird does an incredible job at encouraging work-life balance. We have a rule of only contacting each other on Slack between 7am-7pm every day, no Slack weekends, and company KitKat days (days where we shut down the office for the entire team to take a break).
Being a family-friendly place to work is encouraged and practised by Partners, so there’s a clear message from the top that wellbeing matters at Blackbird and flexibility is a given.
In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits from changing your life?
I’ve always been a meticulous note taker in meetings and throughout the day to capture thoughts. I used to use a software called Notes, but I’ve gone back to Notion for ease. This year, I’ve enjoyed a new ritual of writing short (sometimes long) weekly reflections before I sign off on Fridays. Writing down my unfiltered thoughts has helped put a pin in my week.
If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
Malcolm Gladwell would be interesting.
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