Interviews / Marketing & Advertising

Balancing the Grind with Doris Xu, NSW Property Marketing Executive at Lendlease

Doris Xu is the Property Marketing Executive, NSW at Lendlease, where she works on marketing campaigns across retirement living, residential and retail sectors.

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

I was never one of those kids who could confidently tell you exactly what she wanted to be when she grew up. There were only two things I was certain – it needed to be meaningful and have a positive impact on the people I touched.

At this point you might be rechecking my title and wondering – how on earth did she get into marketing with that mission statement?

I fell in love with marketing at university. It’s such a diverse role. We are storytellers, experience curators, social psychologists, researchers, analysts, product designers.

Currently in the property industry, I develop and execute marketing campaigns for some of the best places in Australia, across retirement living, residential and retail. I’ve had the opportunity to:

  • Design and implement analytical systems (Tableau) across the business to help us make better decisions
  • Launch a display home village to help customers find design inspirations for their next home
  • And even hosted Australia’s largest yoga lesson in a shopping centre (in a regional area like Mackay, no less!)

It’s exhilarating and very rewarding. Definitely makes me excited to get up every day!

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

My workdays are looking very different in the COVID era. We have been working from home since March and I would have to say I definitely don’t miss the commute!

Work starts before 8 and is usually a mix of meetings, focus work on campaigns, social media monitoring and of course inbox checking. One of the things I miss about the office are the incidental exercises so I try to do more walking meetings where I can.

On Thursdays we run virtual trivia which is always a riot. I tend to lose unless the topic relates to memes.

After work I practise the piano for an hour or two and try to do another half an hour of personal learning. Lately it’s been increasing my vocabulary – always helps with copywriting at work! I finish the day with some Netflix or mindlessly checking TikTok videos under the guise of market research.

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

Yes absolutely! Prior to COVID, we had a work from home day every Friday. I use it sporadically, depending on my social commitments.

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

For me, it means the ability to achieve my career goals whilst leading a fulfilling life outside of work. So being able to clock off work at a reasonable time, spend quality time with family and friends and pursuing my hobbies.

It’s a learning curve but I am trying to become more mindful in everything I do. When I finish work, I turn off all notifications, so I don’t find myself wondering about work. I also make sure to set clear boundaries about my working hours.

For example, unless there is a time sensitive media or campaign launch, I only respond to my emails during my own business hours and don’t expect others to respond when I am writing back.

It’s been great working for a company that really respects this and actively encourages its employees to pursue work life balance on our own terms.

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

I came back home to Sydney earlier this year after a year long assignment in Queensland and one of the things I missed the most was my piano. I’ve been taking lessons again and persisted with practising every night. It’s a perfect way to transition out of work because I get into a ‘flow’ state and everything simply falls away.

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

I am a bit of a psychology nut. I love all of Dan Ariely’s behavioural economic books e.g. Predictably Irrational, The Honest Truth About Dishonesty. The witty humour, creative experiments and relevant insights make them fascinating reads. There are lots of ‘a-ha’ moments – ‘damn NOW I know why I made that stupid decision’.

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

My digital metronome app. I have a love-hate relationship with it. But rhythm is not my strong suit so it helps to keep me on track when I learn new piano pieces.

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

Jacinda Ardern. Topical and perhaps a cliché answer. But I see her as the epitome of modern female leadership and it will be amazing to hear how she manages her time between being a leader of a country, a mother and an inspiration for us all.

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

A typical struggle I find for driven, ambitious millennials like myself is being able to switch off from work. We often feel that if we take a break, we are not giving 120% of what we’ve got.

I’ve come to the realisation recently that just because we have a life outside of work, doesn’t mean we are less determined or hardworking; just because we don’t respond to that email or Teams message within five minutes, doesn’t mean we are putting in less effort. Sometimes, being able to take a break actually helps us become more effective in our work.

One day, I would like to look back at my life and feel that I have led a really enriching life, filled with amazing milestones at work, but also cherished memories with people I love.

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This conversation is brought to you by marketing data consultancy Venntifact, helping organisations build and enable high-performance digital teams to harness data and technology assets, empowering digital innovation.

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.