Growth / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Jane Oja, Head of Growth at Fishburners

Jane Oja is the Head of Growth at Fishburners, one of Australia’s leading hubs for early-stage founders, and also Australia’s largest host of start-up focused events.

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

Ever since I finished university, I have worked for startups or with startups. I have always been interested in entrepreneurship and love seeing businesses grow from the ground up. I started working for Fishburners 4.5 years ago and have been in many different roles within the company ever since.

I started as an Events and Programs Manager and am currently the Head of Growth. I look after all the revenue driving aspects of the business such as partnerships, memberships and event space sales.

I love working for Fishburners as we are a not-for-profit organisation so anything we gain goes straight back into helping startups which is my passion. It is incredibly inspiring being surrounded by hundreds of startups and amazing founders every day.

We are a small team so working for Fishburners is almost like running your own startup – it is extremely fast paced and every day is different, which I love.

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

As mentioned in the previous response, every day is quite different for me. It has definitely been very different in lockdown as usually I am running face-to-face tours and onboardings every day in the mornings and look after live events while also managing and securing partnerships.

The lockdown has definitely given me more time to focus on the partnerships side of things and new projects that we will be launching once lockdown is over again. 

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

My role certainly requires me to be present in the office every day due to live events and face-to-face onboardings and tours, so I would definitely not be able to do any of it from home.

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

I actually really prefer to come to the office and get everything done and have my home as my relaxation space. However, saying that I never fully switch off and check my emails the moment I wake up and always just before falling asleep and am available when needed 24/7.

This is certainly an area that needs improvement in my life, but I tend to be the kind of person that likes to respond to people as soon as possible and try to be on top of everything at all times.

I am not the biggest fan of exercise but absolutely love walking, so have been trying to incorporate a lot more of that recently which has definitely helped my mental health and fitness levels. Even when I absolutely don’t want to get out of my house, I try to force myself to just do it and once you are out there in nature you feel much better instantly.

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

Pre-lockdown I actually started forcing myself to go to the gym to 30-45 minute classes at lunchtime at least 3 times a week which I really enjoyed and it certainly boosted my mood and energy levels.

Now that we are in lockdown I have just substituted that with walking and exploring different areas of my neighbourhood. I am also extremely lucky to live near some beaches so I have been to the beach quite a bit and have actually also taken up my beloved hobby again which is fishing.

It has kept me occupied learning more about fishing and has been pretty rewarding having my catch for dinner. I have also always been extremely passionate about food and cooking so I have been trying out different recipes in lockdown and have built a particular interest for Japanese food.

I would say it is important to find what you are passionate about and just keep improving in those areas and it helps to keep busy during the miserable lockdown.

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

I love the Facebook group and podcast ‘She’s on the Money’ which shares lots of good tips on money management. I also like reading Business Insider and Inc Magazine for general business news. Last book I read was Never Split The Difference by Chris Voss which I would highly recommend.

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

I would have to say my phone and my Apple watch. I have become a bit obsessed with hitting 10000 steps a day recently so I need my watch on me at all times so it doesn’t miss any steps I make during the day. My phone is just necessary for me for work, keeping in touch with friends and my family who are on the other side of the world and keeping up with the news in general.

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

Richard Branson.

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

If you are feeling down or lazy, just force yourself to get out in nature whether it be a bushwalk, a swim or just a walk around the block. Trust me it will always make you feel better. The trick is to just do it.

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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.