Danni Hudson is the CPG Lead at Snapchat, and was the first employee on ground when the company was launching the advertising business in Australia.
1. To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I’ve always been in sales; my first job was selling the local newspaper (and fresh croissants) along my local streets on a Sunday morning. I’d blow a whistle and people would come from their houses to buy the paper, and some breakfast. It was like UberEats, only 20 years earlier.
My first role in media was at Ignite Media Brands where I started out in subscription TV while finishing uni. It was there I had my first taste of the digital world, when I moved into a hybrid role working with some of the world’s best known media brands – MTV, Nickelodeon and National Geographic.
Following this, I spent time at Yahoo7 and InMobi before landing a role at Snapchat to be part of the founding team in Australia. Fast forward 4 years, I’m now leading the CPG portfolio here at Snap across ANZ, and loving it every bit as much as I did 4 years ago.
2. What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
My work day usually starts once my husband and I have dropped our daughter, Lottie, to the daycare.
However, in the current environment, the morning kicks off with a series of video conference calls; from internal calls to connect with my team, to overseas counterparts, to team members across functional roles that I work alongside.
Throughout the day, I’m on the phone or video calls to clients and agencies to better understand their business challenges and goals.
I do try to keep my diary cleared in the afternoon to get through emails, building strategies and plans; although this varies from day to day. During my lunch break, I do try to participate in the activities that Snap offers such as yoga and meditation – virtually, of course – or I do try to go out for a walk to grab some lunch.
3. Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
We are fortunate here at Snap as our roles are set up to work from wherever we are required to be. It has been nothing short of inspiring to see everyone in the company rally together and continue working hard, even while maintaining social distancing and self isolation.
The flexibility of working from home is critical to me; it allows my family the flexibility and balance we need in our home life and in our respective jobs. Saving time on the commute allows me to have an extra two hours each day to get additional work done and also spend extra time with our daughter.
It is a harsh reality as a working parent that there are some days where you have less than two hours with your child so it’s definitely a balancing act, and something that working from home helps facilitate.
4. What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
Work-life balance has never been more important to me than in 2020. I returned to work this year, following my maternity leave. Each day has its challenges, and it is all about prioritising and working out what is critical. We have a precious finite amount of energy, and you need to focus on what truly matters.
Adjusting back into the five day work week has been challenging, but if you manage/re-adjust your expectations of yourself when adapting to your new normal, it makes the transition a lot easier. You need to be flexible as a parent and as an employee.
It certainly helps when you have an employer with this shared understanding, and the incredible support network of family, friends, and community.
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?
I would love to have an extensive list of all the great habits or routines that I have built over the years but once you have a child, habits and routines become a lot looser.
I would absolutely say though, that you need to look after yourself first – in whatever way that fits you and your lifestyle. This could be through exercise, spending time with friends and family, healthy eating, meditation or even an outlet such as gaming.
It is important not to lose yourself in the midst of everything that is happening around you.
My best choices over the years have been surrounding myself with a positive and honest support network which includes a mix of people with different lifestyles and situations. This allows me to stay grounded, and bounce my thoughts and ideas off different people, giving me a more well-rounded understanding of my choices and the perspective of others.
My husband is definitely a great sense check for me and has a great level head which I am forever grateful for.
6. Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
I’ve only recently got back into reading, and a friend of mine started a book-club-style podcast group last year, which is really awesome.
A recent good read is Educated by Tara Westover. While podcasts I’ve enjoyed and would certainly recommend are BBC Desert Island Discs – Sheryl Sandberg, 9 Life Lessons by Tim Minchin, almost anything by Brené Brown and ABC’s Babytalk on family rituals.
7. What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?
Smile. The power of a smile is completely underestimated, and can change another person’s day, and even your own. I’ve learnt through loss that life is short and can be taken at any moment, although it sounds clichéd but it is important for us to live in the moment, and be kind to each other.
8. If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
Jacinda Arden. She is the epitome of a true leader who is balancing it all. She’s dealt with a terrorist attack, natural disaster, pandemic and the day-to-day running of a country, all with a baby in tow.
Arden seems grounded, honest about the constant challenges of finding the perfect work-life balance, and in my personal opinion successfully governing New Zealand. The leader of every country (and company) could learn a thing or two about leadership from Arden.
9. Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
Don’t judge a book by its cover; until you’re in it and living it, it is truly hard to empathise with other people’s situation. Be kind to yourself and to others, it will go far.
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