Elisa Grant is the Creative Account Director for SCOODA Branded Merchandise, an Australian-owned distributor of branded promotional products and corporate uniforms.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I found that I enjoyed sales and was comfortable with fostering long-term business relationships very early on in life. Some find prospecting and business development daunting, but it comes naturally to me.
After a few years in recruitment, I found my way into the world of promotional products where I have now been for just over 20 years.
My current role is Creative Account Director for SCOODA Branded Merchandise. As the title suggests, I provide creative solutions to marketing briefs and manage a wide spectrum of corporate clients within many different industries. Additionally, I actively target new business opportunities.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
My average workday looks quite different now than it would normally, as I am sure is the case for many business professionals during this unusual time.
More of my business development work is being done via email rather than by phone or in person, although that is slowly starting to shift back as people return to their workplaces.
Such marketing is still rather less direct in approach though as many clients have temporary pauses in their marketing budgets or are unable to use merchandise as they typically would at their events and tradeshows with those currently on hold.
For some of those clients, we are taking advantage of the extra time to review a wider array of items and plan interesting campaigns for when budgets are released and there is more activity in the marketplace.
For clients requiring assistance with customer development and retention programs, staff reward and recognition programs, uniforms, and everyday business essentials now though, I work on their briefs, submit a proposal to them, organise samples as required and then process orders into production.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
Yes, I specifically went looking for a role with flexible working arrangements to better suit my lifestyle after a significant change in circumstance.
A salesperson with my years of experience does not need to be micro-managed or monitored day to day as we know what is required of us and can be left to get on with it.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
After finding myself a single mother rather unexpectedly when my daughter was 3 weeks old, it became clear quite quickly that my view on work-life balance had to be seriously reviewed and altered. Becoming a parent does tend to make it a clearer goal for many though, I imagine.
Some of my friends are clients, and often clients become friends so that can muddy the waters a little when it comes to time “doing work”. Plus, as I work from home, it is easy to work during hours which would otherwise be “out of hours” however I am then able to balance this time out on the following day.
Therefore work-life balance to me means being able to get the most effectiveness from my hours working and the benefit of being able to spend more quality time with my child when I am not.
She will not be young forever after all and there will come a time when hanging out with mum is unlikely to be her priority!
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
When home-schooling started and gyms closed, I began to intergrade exercise into my daily life instead of considering it something that is done in time blocks during specific times of the week. Subsequently I have purchased a bike and exercise is now just a part of most days.
I have also morphed the way we eat after completing a detox diet post-surgery last year and have adapted a more strategic approach to our vitamins and supplement intake.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
I am an avid reader and listen to podcasts most days for large blocks of time. Although I tend to lean more towards crime fiction and true crime podcasts, I also consume a wide array of other content.
My favourite author at the moment is James Patterson (and his various co-authors) and I am loving the Alex Cross series.
I just finished a podcast series called “Cold” which was excellent, and I would highly recommend for those who love the true crime genre. I also really enjoy the Paul McKenna “Positivity” podcast and “Here’s the Thing” with Alec Baldwin.
At a more local level, there is a business networking group called “Bay Talk” and I was just interviewed for their podcast so perhaps people may like to check that out too!
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
As long as the podcast app on my phone works and I have my kindle charged, I tend to be pretty content. I guess the only other things would be my laptop (for work), my TV and my Netflix.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
While it is clearly fascinating to see how great entrepreneurs like Richard Branson manage their days, I would be more interested to read about incredible ladies who manage a full-time job, a house hold with kids and work a start-up business! Now that is a serious balancing act I would imagine.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
A great friend of my dad’s once told me that on your tombstone when you die it will (hopefully) say “Dearly loved by family and friends and will be sorely missed”. It is extremely unlikely that it will mention where or how hard you worked. That perspective, to me, has always resonated.
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