Balancing the Grind with Dean Vocisano, Country Manager Australia at ShopFully

Dean Vocisano is the Country Manager Australia at ShopFully, a consumer retail shopping application that aggregates & serves geo-localised retail shopping content.

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

I am currently the country manager of ShopFully, an Italian tech company, leader in drive to store. However, the journey to get there has been full of key learning moments. 

I always had a strong interest in maths and data so when an opportunity presented itself to interview for a data analyst role with a multichannel marketing company it was an easy decision.

It was here I began to truly understand data and how to use it in a way that will drive the best marketing outcomes for their campaigns. From there I spent the next 4-5 years growing as a data analyst and eventually a team leader to strategy type roles for key retail accounts. 

It was then that I moved into the fast-paced and dynamic world of start-ups by launching the Australian office of digital performance marketing company, Rakuten.

This is where I got my first taste of running a business from the ground up—from setting up the day-to-day operations to developing local go-to-market strategies and managing client relationships. This created a strong foundation for where I am today as Country Manager for Australia at ShopFully. 

I joined ShopFully back in 2017 at an exciting time—the company had such a strong presence in the European market, yet we were launching a completely new brand in Australia.

We’ve had a start-up mentality from the onset, which has been underpinned by data-rich insights that drive strategic decisions—a nice combination of my passion points. As a tech company that’s focused on connecting Aussie customers to physical stores, a lot of my time is spent building and fostering relationships with retailers and brands.

I also oversee local operations on a daily basis and am lucky enough to work with a powerhouse team of professionals across the country and abroad.

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

Having a young family means my day starts around 4am, which is when I spend quality time with my five-month old daughter. From there I will always make time to go to the gym at 6am before starting my workday at 8am.

Work typically includes checking in with team members and aligning on priorities to make sure we are on track to achieve our goals. Since shifting to remote work, lunchtimes have become family time where we will head to the park or step away from the desk for some fresh air before diving back to prepare for meetings with head office.

With ShopFully’s head office being located in Milan, Italy these meetings tend to occur in the evening so I need to make a conscious effort to log off by around 7pm to ensure I can recharge and reset for the next day. 

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

ShopFully has always allowed flexible working, however, (and unsurprisingly) prior to lockdown restrictions we were in the office more often.

As a result of working from home, I have been able to spend more time with family while also prioritising my health and fitness, more so than before because there is no longer a commute to the office. 

While working remotely has had many benefits for my personal life, it has impacted every day, close-contact interactions between team members.

To address this, we schedule social occasions, like a simple team drinks on Fridays, to catch up with the wider team, which has resulted in a boost in team morale. It has been vital to maintain a positive working environment to aid with the toll COVID-19 has taken on the team’s livelihoods.

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

Work-life balance should be interchangeable, for me, it is about doing something you love both in work and in everyday life. As cliché as it is, it is important to “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”.

It is hard to remain motivated about something that doesn’t excite you which is why it’s so important to follow your passions. I always thrived in sales, marketing and people and I’m very fortunate to be in a position where I experience all three in abundance each day.

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

At the start of last year, I made a conscious effort to re-prioritise health and fitness and as a result of this reignited passion, somewhere in between family and work time, I am undertaking a Certificate III in Fitness.

This has been made more manageable with the commute time now being cut out of my day. Establishing boundaries has been especially important in the past year because without them it would have been easy to fall into a habit of working long days and being ‘on’ all the time.

When it comes to work, maintaining social catch-ups throughout lockdown restrictions with the team has been super important. So it has not been so much a matter of stopping or starting a routine but pivoting to accommodate the changing conditions.

We have always made an effort to have Friday night drinks and reward achievements and where we would have normally gone for a meal, we would now get the food delivered to everyone. 

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

With time being of the essence I like to listen to Sarah Grynberg’s A Life of Greatness podcast, which is a quick and easy 7-9 minutes. Her messages around creating your journey through self-awareness always inspire me and help me set my intentions for the day.

As for book recommendations, I use reading as an escape from the day-to-day. It’s imperative to have an outlet that doesn’t necessarily involve getting up and heading out the door so when it’s time to unwind, you’ll find me with a novel I can get lost in and enjoy.

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

It would have to be my Apple Watch! There are so many reasons why you won’t see me without it on.

For starters, it means I don’t need to have my phone in my hand every moment to stay on top of important emails or messages. When I’m with my family I’m able to be fully present and not have one eye on my laptop because I’ll be notified through my watch of any incoming messages.

My watch, along with the F45 LionHeart heart rate monitor, also help me track my fitness goals and progress when I’m at the gym. Being data driven by nature, seeing the metrics in real-time really helps me stay motivated and lets me know when I need to dig a little deeper to achieve my goal for the day. 

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

It would be great to hear how some world leaders have handled running a country while also making time for the other priorities in their life, such as their family. A former leader that immediately comes to mind is Barack Obama.

Hearing how he was able to lead one of the most powerful countries in the world while simultaneously raising a family is certainly something that interests me because we could learn so much and implement strategies in our day to make things easier and potentially more manageable.

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

My biggest piece of advice is to take the time to find a job you’re passionate about because then it won’t feel like ‘work’. That being said, it is important to also establish boundaries that suit you and you are able to stick with.

As I already mentioned, work and life should be interchangeable, particularly with the remote working so it’s important to do something that excites you each day.

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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.