Balancing the Grind with Emily Wintour, Partnerships Manager at Mumbrella

Emily Wintour is the Partnerships Manager at Mumbrella, an Australian marketing and media industry news website which provides news, analysis and commentary.

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

I started my career as an Event Coordinator for a company called Marketforce, a conference and events firm based in London. I organised the logistics for multiple conferences and their associated networking events.

A large part of my role was fulfilling the contract deliverables for our sponsors. I loved working closely with the clients. I always endeavoured to ensure that we delivered not only the aspects of their contract but more specifically, the reason why they had decided to sponsor. 

I was always trying to understand what their objectives were when they had chosen to sponsor a private dinner following the conference, for example – did they want to meet someone specific? Were they pitching for a particular piece of business? 

After three years in Events, I moved into a commercial role – developing sponsorship packages and selling them into the client. During the GFC, I took a break from sales.

I left Marketforce and moved into a brand marketing position for a TV Licensing Distributor. I had a fantastic manager who mentored me and helped me develop the marketing side of my skill set.

Two years later, I rejoined Marketforce and the newly restructured Sponsorship sales team. Marketforce had weathered the GFC well, which was a testament of the strength of the management and the products they delivered.

Now armed with my marketing experience I thrived in my role and developed a series of long term profitable relationships with several key accounts. I loved my time(s!) at Marketforce, the people were terrific, and everyone took pride in their work and understood we were working towards the same goal.

I often joke that if I had stayed in London, I would still be there. In 2012 I moved to Hong Kong with my partner and I was lucky to eventually secure a Business Development role for AsianInvestor and had the opportunity to work for another amazing manager, who again, took the time to mentor and develop me.

In 2014 I moved to Australia, and I quickly secured a role at Pacific Magazines in the Agency Sales team. I worked mainly on the Unilever account and their assigned agency, and some key highlights were working with their Lynx and Rexona on their sponsorship of Men’s health Man.

The team was fantastic, and I learnt so much. At times there was a lot of pressure, but it was lots of fun. I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to work there. 

In 2016 I began my current role as Partnerships Manager for Mumbrella.  While it is a sales role, it’s very a consultative sell and you need an understanding around marketing. My clients are CMOs, Marketing Directors – I am essentially selling marketing strategies to the experts, so I need to have some nuance around what I am talking about.

The Commercial team is small, and we work very closely together. I am very grateful to work with such talented people who continue to push me. Mumbrella has a range of products – digital assets on our website and eNewsletter and sponsorship of our events portfolio. I try to focus on selling solutions rather than products – it’s much more beneficial for the client, and it’s much more interesting for me! 

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

Life is a little different nowadays, as I am sure it is for everyone!  I generally start off my day pretty early (4.30am!) as I have a young family and they are early risers. 

I have been working remotely since March and nowadays I begin work around 8.30am, I try to make time to take a short walk before starting work and get some fresh air and clear my head before sitting down at my desk. 

Once at my computer, I open up our master booking schedule and double check which of my clients have activity booked for that day.  I check in with the editorial team if any of my clients have stories running and then I check the website to what’s happening in the world of marketing and media and to see if the right ads are showing. 

From then on it can really vary from day to day – when we are in the event season I may be following up a sponsorship proposal with a client. Alternatively, I may work to develop content around a webinar for a client or I could be putting together a media schedule.  

A large part of the day is spent in communication with the rest of the Partnerships team.  It used to be a matter of calling over my desk to the different departments to ask questions but now most of my communication is through slack or on the phone. 

Communication in the team has always been good as we are always bouncing new ideas off each other before trying to sell them into the business and the client.  

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

Mumbrella as a business has been working remotely since March.  However, we were always set up to do this as whenever we are holding an event, the whole company moves onsite to work so that they are available to help out/participate in the event as needed. 

My manager is very supportive and has always allowed me to work flexibly which is amazing when you have a young family.  My children do not follow a 9am – 5pm schedule but then again nor does my job and I am lucky because as long as I am delivering my targets and servicing my clients then I’m doing my job. 

Working from home has given me that extra time back from the daily commute and that has actually been so helpful – not only in my personal life but also with my productivity for work. 

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

Well I am still searching for that – I don’t think I have achieved yet – especially now that I am a working parent. 

I love my work and find it hard to switch off and step back.  There is an English journalist, Anna Whitehouse, who campaigns for “people who happen to be parents” and she puts it much better than I ever could:

“Parenting and working is one of the biggest conflicts I’ve experienced. Every bit of me wants to be with you but equally doesn’t want to lose me in the process. I just want you to know that it was for something.  I don’t want “it all” but this is my something while you are my everything.” 

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

I don’t think that I have started any new routines, it just has amplified what I was doing before.  Both my husband and I work full time so the weekend is dedicated to the kids and making sure we get to spend time with them. I just try to ensure I give my job 110% during the week so that I can switch off and be present for my children at the weekend. 

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

I LOVE podcasts! 

For news and current affairs: 

  • Full Story 
  • Today in Focus 
  • The Inquiry by the BBC World Service

For marketing 

  • Rethink by Google
  • Brand new world with Russell Howcroft
  • And of course, Mumbrellacast is definitely worth a listen to ensure you are up to date on what is happening in the industry.  

For laughs 

  • Scummy Mummies 
  • BBC Radio 4’s The News Quiz

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

My phone and a corkscrew.

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

Jacinda Ardern is a little bit wonderful – I could listen to her all day. 

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

Having to educate young children has forced me to reflect upon what’s important and what kind of people I want them to be, and how they should treat the people they meet in their life and work.

One of the books we love is Oliver Jeffers called Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth.

It contains a wonderful quote which I think everyone can benefit from in their work, life or journey to achieve balance:  “There are only three words you need to live by, son: respect, consideration and tolerance.”  

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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.