Balancing the Grind with Jess Stor, Account Executive at Zoom

Jess Stor is an Account Executive at Zoom, where she specialises in the healthcare vertical, working with hospitals, health clinics and not-for-profits in delivering virtual health services and support. 

Learn about the daily routines of some of the most successful people in the world. Sign up to our newsletter today & receive a free gift that will help you achieve your goals!

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

My first job was at 16 working at McDonald’s, learning how to perfect the 50c soft serve and learning the top tricks to make 6 drinks on the go whilst packing happy meals and maintaining expectations for order times.

I remember saying to my parents that it was the last place I would want to work, having a passion for the fashion industry. I’d always dreamed of working in a retail store, but after many afternoons unsuccessfully handing out my paper resume, Macca’s ended up being the best thing I did. It was a launchpad for learning about customer satisfaction and how to effectively communicate in high stress situations, a few months later I found my groove as a crew trainer.

Over the years, I found myself picking up any and every job I could find that I took interest in. This included selling show-bags and crumpets at the Sydney Royal Easter Show, pouring red bulls and cocktails at music festivals such as Splendour and later on for Merivale, styling outfits for said festivals for teens at General Pants, setting tables and waitressing at the local cafe, being a brand ambassador for event promotions for iced coffee, furniture, detox juice and working 5 back to back ski seasons across Australia and Japan for 3 years.

My early twenties were an exhilarating time bouncing between jobs and my university study of graphic design. I spent some time interning at design agencies to hone my skills in branding and logo development. 

In 2011, after graduating high school, I followed in my mum’s footsteps and completed my group fitness certificate, taking up teaching Les Mills BodyPump, HIIT and Spin classes. This gave me a total new lease on life and I picked up essential skills such as adaptability and confidence speaking to a large group of people (whilst exercising!). 

Over the last 10 years I have continued to teach alongside my full time career in technology, staying strong physically helps me to bring my best self to work. In the post-pandemic era, and since teaching virtually through lockdowns, I am even more grateful for the shared experience in the fitness community and the joy it brings to many.

So where does that land me now? From one rocket ship to the next! After cutting my teeth on HaaS at Apple, I made the leap to (back then) a little old company called Zoom. These days I mostly work from home supporting Aussie organisations to reduce the friction in their hybrid work strategy, recently I’ve specialised in the healthcare vertical, working with hospitals, health clinics and not-for-profits in delivering virtual health services and support. 

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

Firstly, I want to say that there is no silver bullet to perfecting the workday! Sure there are days when I’ll set my alarm for 5 am and leap out of bed into a meditation and journaling exercise, but there are also days when a gentle walk and hot chocolate is the hug needed to start the day – and that’s okay.

We live in a world where there are endless websites and podcasts spruiking the best 10 tips and tricks to an efficient workday, but if the lockdowns taught me anything, it’s to be kind and protect your energy above all else.

On most weekdays, I will either go for a 40-60km pedal with the local cycle community or run at the stunning Centennial Park. I used to despise running, but after challenging myself to complete a triathlon in early 2022 with a group of friends, it’s totally changed my view on the sport.

I enjoy the mental resilience and never-ending distance challenge, currently working up to a half marathon next month. The cycle or run usually ends with a social coffee and I’ll head home for a 5 minute meditation in my peaceful treehouse oasis (apartment).

The workday from home is spent in my study. I aim to use the standing desk ~30 minutes to help with concentration. I’ll be in Zoom meetings, and on the phone with clients but especially post pandemic have imposed stricter mental health breaks 5-15 minutes at a time to rest the eye muscles and get some fresh air. Sometimes I’ll do the washing, other times I’ll reflect on my daily journal. WFH perks hey!

I aim to visit the office 1-2 times a fortnight to change up the workday and change up the workout routine at Barry’s Martin Place. I find it useful to learn what other team members are working on and it’s always exciting to meet new hires. 

Most days are done by 5pm and it always feels good to get a gentle walk in. I love to wander down to the beach and watch the sunset, sometimes go for a swim. Sydney’s coastline is beautiful and it’s something I look forward to when coming back from holidays.

My night time routine is pretty simple, I prioritise a good skincare routine and a 1 hour wind down usually spent reading Monocle or Nourish mag with a lemongrass chamomile tea in my favourite mug.

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

We were one of the first to be sent home during the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. It’s an experience I’ll never forget having been part of the global inbound team responsible for taking customer chats and calls for individuals and organisations looking to use Zoom. It was a real-life experiment and we were the guinea pigs!

Remote work completely changed my life. Working from home has been a dream of mine since becoming obsessed with technology and Apple as a teen in the 2000s! At first it was exciting, new and shiny – virtual Burning Man parties, exercising with your mates and seeing the world’s living rooms and playing cooking shows with your family members in Europe.

Eventually, the shine wore off and the world wanted to go back to “normal”, that never came and now most people I know couldn’t imagine a world without having the option to take video calls from home if it means more time with family and less time on the commute.

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

Integration > Balance. I believe that when balance is being discussed it suggests that the two must be equal when in fact, life is fluid and the activities we fill our days with change as we grow and enter different stages of our life. 

I am currently reading I Didn’t Do The Thing Today: On letting go of productivity guilt by Madeleine Dore which speaks about this beautifully, if I could page the entirety of page 25 here I would!

“We can try new things, follow whims, focus on discovery, build patience, allow surprises to happen. We can trust, hold things lightly, take the pressure off. We can be okay with the not-quite-there’s, with the change-of-minds. When we treat our day like an experiment, we see it’s all part of the process”

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

There are 3 things that have radically transformed the way I live my life, which I have either started or maintained within the last 12 months.

  • Sobriety
  • Vedic meditation
  • Cycling

I chose to remove alcohol from my life permanently in August of 2020, after many years of ski seasons, partying, and uni games I felt I was no longer showing up in the world as my authentic self.

In an effort to be a better human, partner, daughter, friend and colleague, I started with a 90 day challenge which led me to where I am today. I write more about this in my personal blog, Hey Sober Vegan.

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

So many to share! As a bookworm from a young age, I’d power through an Agatha Christie or Dan Brown novel in a matter of hours! More recently, I try to balance business and sales psychology with sobriety and biography novels. 

  • How To Change Your Mind, Michael Pollan
  • Eating Animals, Jonathan Safran Foer
  • Everything Is F*cked, Mark Manson
  • Digital Minimalism, Cal Newport
  • Steal Like an Artist, Austin Kleon
  • Scar Tissue, Anthony Kiedis
  • Wabi Sabi: Japanese Wisdom for a Perfectly Imperfect Life, Beth Kempton

Podcast wise, I gravitate to How I Built This by Guy Raz and The Proof with Simon Hill. In my spare time I love to create playlists, sometimes influenced by Song Exploder.

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

I’ve slimmed down on my app usage over the last few years, but the one app I use most often these days is Milkrun! Absolute game changer for groceries on the go! My Dyson vacuum cleaner has also changed my life forever.

Happy Cow is an app I use regularly if I’m in a new city or travelling internationally, it’s great for finding vegan food on the go. And I’ll throw Duolingo in for good measure, although I’ve lost my streak lately, my goal is to add a fourth and fifth language to my repertoire. 

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

After watching Mrs America, I’d love to pick the brain of Gloria Steinem. Total boss!

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

Every time you say yes to one thing, you’re saying no to a million others (and vice versa).

It’s a quote I kept front of mind early in my sobriety and continue to do so in difficult situations or those days that feel a little harder.

In this Information Age of social media and distractions it is easy to get lost in the chatter and feel like there’s never enough time for it all. Stripping back the noise and saying yes only to what you place value in can work wonders on the monkey mind.

Before you go…

If you’d like to sponsor or advertise with Balance the Grind, let’s talk here

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.