Interviews / Marketing & Advertising

Balancing the Grind with Jennifer Thomas, Head of Marketing & Membership at IAB

Jennifer Thomas is the Head of Marketing & Membership at the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), the peak trade association for online advertising in Australia.

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

I’m the head of IAB Australia’s Marketing and Membership. I joined IAB (the peak industry body for digital advertising) in 2018 focused on membership but recently expanded my role to Marketing and I am absolutely loving the additional challenges and change. 

Previously I’ve worked in strategy roles for publishers including Fairfax Media, Yahoo7 and Seven Network and while I really enjoyed those roles and learned a lot, I love the opportunities of my current role.

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

No two days are ever the same – which I love – although every day involves helping my two kids get ready for school and day care, before I head to the office in Surry Hills or settle in at home with my laptop.

I’m part of a small but mighty team who are always trying new things and I absolutely love that I’m encouraged to push and challenge.

Day-to-day my focus is engaging with our members on a variety of topics, planning for our next three months ahead and integrating our marketing activities so I spend a lot of time on video calls and working through emails.  By early evening I call it quits and spend time with my family.

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

I am very fortunate that even pre COVID IAB was very supportive of flexible working.  It’s a great team and we collaborate to make flexible working happen in different ways for each of us. 

This flexibility has seen me shift and change where and how I work to fit my family life and the demands of the whole team.  Having this freedom and flexibility means that both my home life and my work life get the very best of me.

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

I judge my work-life balance by how I feel at the end of the day across all areas of my life: have I given it my best at work and have my family also enjoyed the best of me. 

To achieve this, I try to be as open in my communication both with my co-workers and my family about what I have coming. It certainly doesn’t always come together seamlessly, and I have days where I feel defeated, but I always try to remember tomorrow is a new day.

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

I made a concerted effort to change a few things over the last twelve months.  I started an online Pilates class which has helped me Zen out a little bit and given me more energy. I also try now to swap my phone for a book before bed – I don’t always succeed but I try!

Another big thing for me was to stop trying to do “it” all myself. I have a habit of not letting others help when I need it, so I’ve made a conscious effort to accept that it’s okay to not be the one to finish a project you started.

I also remind myself it’s also okay for my husband to pick up the kids from school even though the pick-ups are the best time of day!

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

I absolutely love reading.  My favourite genre is suspense/thriller/drama – things that are the complete opposite to my day-to-day life. My top picks include In Five Years, What Alice Forgot and Whiskey and Ribbons

I have set myself the goal this year to read some books outside of my norm just to open my perspective.  The universe heard me call that out and I was given a book as a Christmas present called Before the Coffee Gets Cold which is very different to my usual default and has been a fabulous read.

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

I live near the beach and am a bit of a weather geek, so I do love my BOM and Coastal Watch apps that help me determine if we will get in an Ocean swim on the weekend. 

I just received an Apple Watch and I’m loving the convenience of being able to have most of what I need on my wrist, it’s been quite a change – one that I am embracing.

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

I’d really love to read from an aspiring female athlete such as Ash Barty or Lydia Williams. Trying to balance life, work and the pressures from sport fans especially during COVID would be a surreal experience that I would love to hear more about.  

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

It is easy to compare ourselves and our situations to others but that can really lower confidence in what we are doing.  I feel passionately that we should try to focus on running our own race without second guessing ourselves and we should regularly stop to reflect on how much we are creating positive change for people around us (and always seeking new opportunities to do so).

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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.