Emma Wright is the Omnichannel Marketing Manager at Wella Company, a beauty company made up of brands like Wella Professionals, Clairol, OPI, Nioxin and ghd.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I started my career fresh out of uni in 2005 on an internship at Taylor Herring, a London-based public relations firm. I ended up staying for six years, working on accounts including The Apprentice UK, Guinness World Records, Disney and Robbie Williams. I was then offered an in-house role at ITV working on The X Factor UK.
In 2012, I took a leap of faith and followed my heart to Sydney, where I landed a job as an agency Account Director working on Procter & Gamble. Over the course of four and a half years, I absorbed the P&G skincare and cosmetic brands, before taking on a broader agency role as Client Strategy Director, serving as 2iC to the GM.
I decided I was ready for a new challenge in 2016 and joined Weber Shandwick as Client Services Director on ALDI working with the incredible in-house team and under the direction of Ava Lawler.
However, I knew I wanted to branch out into a broader marketing position, so when an in-house role as Wella brand manager came up at P&G I applied. I joined the business just before the biggest beauty merger in history was complete, with P&G selling off their fragrance, cosmetics and professional hair business to Coty Inc.
In 2018 I was promoted to group brand manager, across the Wella hair and OPI nail portfolio. I then took 12 months maternity leave with my first child, before returning at the end of 2019 in the role I am in today; OPI business lead for Australia & New Zealand.
We recently underwent our second major transition to become a standalone company, the Wella Company, as of 1 December, so it’s been an incredible year of adapting to change.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
If I am working in the city, I am up at 5.30am to beat the rush hour traffic as I relocated to the Central Coast in 2019. I’m in the office at 7.30 and start with a strong cup of English breakfast tea whilst planning my day.
I usually start by replying to emails that have come in overnight – often from the global teams in the US and Europe – then check the daily sales report to see how we are tracking for the month.
My role as business lead means I am the single point of contact for the brand in our market, which means my days can be very varied. My responsibilities encompass both marketing and sales, so I often jump from customer account management, reviewing fill rates and approving orders, to brand strategy, digital marketing plans and PR activity.
At 4pm I head home in time to see my daughter for dinner, bath and bedtime. Once she is asleep, I have dinner with my husband and we catch up on our day.
Around 7.30 I will jump back online to finish off any work or reply to emails, before switching off at 8.30. After a shower, I try to listen to meditation and read some of my book before I go to sleep by 10pm.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
The Wella Company has been incredibly supportive to my circumstances since returning to work (pre-COVID), allowing for flexibility in my hours and working from home arrangements.
With having a toddler and living on the Central Coast, it makes it a lot easier to manage childcare and take advantage of the beautiful place we live. We also do not have any extended family nearby, so working for a company that supports flexibility has made such a difference.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
Work-life balance for me means being able to see my daughter and spend quality time with her and my husband every single day. I am an early bird and will often be online at 6am on a work from home day to start work before she wakes up.
I’m also accepting of having to work in the evening if it means I get to spend time with her after daycare and before bed. Most importantly, I try to have a really good line of communication with my husband so that we share the load.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
Having a child made me reassess what is important in life and definitely made me more productive within a working day. I procrastinate less and am much more focused when I am at work, and more focused on my family when I am with them.
I also deleted Instagram about a month ago, which has made a huge difference to my mental health. I still have it on my work phone, but only with a professional account. I also try to switch my phone off at 9pm every night, but that doesn’t always go to plan.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
I really enjoyed the Face 2 Face podcast by Facebook as a quick snapshot into some amazing creative campaigns in Australia & New Zealand. I hope they bring it back again soon!
I subscribe to Mumbrella to get my fix on the media and comms industry news. Earlier this year I read The Guilty Feminist and She Said – both very inspiring in different ways. And to make me laugh and switch off from work, I love Hamish & Andy and My Dad Wrote a Porno podcasts – I listen to them when I am out walking my dog, and they always put me in a positive mood.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
Headspace app is brilliant for meditation, I highly recommend it. I also couldn’t live without Whatsapp and Teams for work.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
I would love to hear from female CEOs and senior executives who relocated to a foreign country and established their career and a family without support from their immediate family. They say it takes a village to raise a child, and sometimes you have to build your own.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
Change is the only constant, and how you navigate change has a huge impact on your work-life balance. I think this is relevant now more than ever, so it’s important to seek help and advice if you are struggling. Looking after your mental health is an important facet on change management, and will only have a positive impact on your work, life and balance.
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