Balancing the Grind with Grace Dong, Talent Acquisition Executive at Publicis Groupe

Grace Dong is the Talent Acquisition Executive at Publicis Groupe, where she works across Australia for the company’s digital and creative solutions hubs.

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

My career background is very non-conventional!

I always felt a pull towards the creative industry, after leaving high-school I began a Diploma of Interior Design which I promptly realised wasn’t the path I wanted to take.

It then led me to joining the fashion industry where I worked part-time whilst undertaking a couple of different internships which gave me insight to areas like, visual merchandising, brand management, PR & retail.

Eventually, I needed to find a full-time job (to fund my lavish lifestyle) – I knew my strengths lay in staying organised, cultivating relationships and helping people. I was fortunate enough to come across the role of Talent Acquisition Coordinator at Publicis Groupe which I now call home!

It was the perfect combination of what I was after in a role – a creative environment, an organisation that valued my career development and growth, plus the opportunity to help people get their dream jobs – what more could you want!

I am so grateful to be able to say at the age of 23, I have landed my dream job.

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

Well, it usually starts with being woken up by my cat jumping on my head, lucky he’s cute! Depending on the conditions, I try to surf every morning. I am very blessed to live only footsteps away from the beach!

I’m back at my desk by 9 am, ready for my morning team WIP. We have these scheduled for the start of each day.

I love having this in my daily routine, it gets me organised and really helps prioritise my day. It also keeps our team connected and also incorporates the social element we desperately crave since not being in the office.

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

One hundred-percent! Even prior to COVID-times, this has always been a privilege I’ve had, since working for Publicis Groupe. I am so lucky to work for an organisation that values work/life balance.

Having trust and respect is paramount to flexible/remote work being successful. I love the flexibility of working from home as I gain back 3 precious hours each day which I’d normally spend commuting to the office.

I now spend this time doing the things I love like surfing, Pilates or grabbing a coffee with friends!

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

The phrase work hard, play hard comes to mind! Remember to set boundaries and ensure your mental and physical wellbeing are in check. That’s the number one priority to guarantee you are doing your best in all aspects of life!

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

I recently re-discovered podcasts! I try to get one in each day when I go for a walk which helps pass the time as I find walking super boring!

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

I like to keep up with the B&T daily newsletter. It allows me to stay in the know with what’s going on in the marketing, advertising, media & PR industry. I also love reading interesting articles on characters across the network through our internal AI platform, Marcel.

I am currently reading Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo. The book explores Britain’s relationship with race and looks at the links between gender, class and race in the country through the lenses of 12 different characters. Very interesting!

My favourite podcast would be Shameless. They often interview inspiring women, have real conversations about pressing world events, and I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy the odd Bachie discussion that gets thrown in.

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

Does the Uber Eats app count? Just kidding!

Publicis Groupe gives all their employees free access to the Headspace app. I think this app is absolutely brilliant and I can say it’s helped me many times when I’ve felt stressed, anxious or not able to sleep. Would highly recommend it!

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

I’d probably have to say Jacinda Ardern. I’d love to know her secret to how she juggles running a country, being a mum and a partner PLUS making time for herself! A serious balancing act!

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

Through all the chaos in life, remember to always stop and smell the roses!

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This conversation is brought to you by The Well-Suited Group, providing premium executive support services to high level executives, who also recognise the value of work-life balance.

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.