CEOs / Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Elliot Dellys, CEO & Founder of Phronesis Security

Elliot Dellys is the CEO & Founder of Phronesis Security, a cybersecurity start up with a unique philanthropy model where 10% of monthly profits is donated to specialised high-impact charities.

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

I was a Philosophy and Communications major at university before ending up at the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD). After leaving ASD, I spent 5 years in the private sector before deciding to branch out and start my own firm, Phronesis Security.

While our core business is cybersecurity, we have also focused on giving back by embedding profit-sharing with a handpicked selection of high-impact charities into our business model.  

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

My day starts with meditation and gratitude practice. I think it’s important to start the day on the right foot and take a moment to think about all the things I’m grateful for – it puts everything into perspective.  

I always cycle when I’m in the office, as it gives me time to ideate and problem solve. Then I’m looking at how to turn abstract problems like “we’re concerned about getting hacked” into specific solutions. In between working with clients and my team is a group lunch and a quick session on the ping pong table – I never win, but it’s crucial to get away from the desk! 

The day ends with business admin, processing our charity donations, and cycling home for dinner and spending time with my loved ones.   

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

Absolutely – most of our services can be delivered remotely. If a hacker can get in from the other side of the world, so can we! 

Having said this, nothing beats face-to-face time. It’s all about striking a balance between individual time to get in flow and working collaboratively to problem solve.   

Previous experience has taught me more team building is achieved in a weekend away with the team than spending 5 years together stuck in the office.  

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

I believe in ‘outcomes not hours’. Even as a founder, I work to live – not the other way around. Work-life balance is to me a ‘life well lived’ and having time to pursue passions and to spend time with those I love. 

I stand by this philosophy as an employer as well. We have mental health / doona days which staff can use to chill out, no questions asked. It’s all about trusting your team to get the job done in a way that works for them, not just the business.   

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

I began replacing as many drives with cycles as possible. It clears the mind, is good for the environment and ensures at least 30-60min physical activity every day. I find I have so much more energy throughout the day when I’ve cycled to work than sat in a car during peak hour traffic.  

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

I’ve recently been listening to Sam Harris’s Making Sense podcast and would highly recommend his interview with William MacAskill on how to maximise the impact of our professional lives. 

My favourite book at the moment is Scaling Up by Verne Harnish. Admittedly not a light read, but it’s incredibly content-dense and full of pearls of wisdom to avoid common growth pitfalls.  

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

My to-do lists. I have one for every day, week and quarter. I am naturally forgetful so the ‘ding’ noise from clearing an item gives me a pavlovian rush. 

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

Marcus Aurelias – time for reflection and gratitude is so crucial and I would love to hear how he’d approach it in 2022. 

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

I truly believe in Ikigai – if you follow something you are passionate about, work becomes part of a life well lived, not an obstacle to it! There’s a million ways to tie personal success to having a positive impact on the world around us, and every drop in the bucket counts! 

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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.