Jessica Ferland is the Brand Manager – ANZ at MPM Products, where she works on the natural pet food brand Applaws.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I’m from Québec, Canada so this is where my career started. I managed communications and marketing for several events including an outdoor circus show and a fashion festival.
I loved working in events because of the constant thrill but I knew it wouldn’t be sustainable long-term. It required working six days per week and 12-hour days so you can run out of steam pretty quickly.
After moving to Sydney, I started working as a Marketing Manager for a content and communications agency where I worked with clients in both B2B and B2C industries. This helped me broaden my experience and gain confidence managing several projects simultaneously with cross-functional teams.
I have recently started my new role as ANZ Brand Manager for the natural pet food brand Applaws. I’ve always wanted to work in FMCG and it’s been very exciting to start this journey with a global business that is in a high growth phase.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
I usually get up around 6am. I start my day by making myself a cup of tea and reading a few pages of a book (currently Quiet by Susan Cain). I then get ready for work and walk to the train station while listening to a podcast or an audiobook.
My work day starts at 8.30am and I go through my emails first. Our company’s headquarters are in the UK so with the time difference, that means a full inbox overnight! I then catch up with the ANZ team about our weekly priorities.
The rest of my tasks differ day-to-day: working on brand campaigns, contributing to new product development, planning marketing activities around retail promotions, meeting with our local marketing agency and constantly optimising and measuring our campaigns. Basically, I define the marketing strategy for ANZ and ensure all our activities are driving growth.
I then go to the gym on my way back home. After dinner, I get back online to have a few virtual meetings with our marketing and product teams in the UK. I try to be in bed by 9.30pm to have time to relax before falling asleep. Going to bed early has changed my life and I would highly recommend it!
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
I’m very fortunate to be working for a company that encourages flexible working and that puts a lot of trust in its employees.
As long as the work gets done, I can schedule my working hours to allow for a longer lunch break to go to the beach or the gym. And because I sometimes have calls at night with the global team, it allows me to start my work day later on certain days.
We’re also currently working two days a week in the office and the other days from home which is super convenient. I still believe it’s important to have face-to-face time with your team especially for meetings but being able to work from home with less distractions is incredibly valuable.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
For me, work-life balance means being able to completely switch off from work to enjoy my personal time. It’s easy to stay connected and online 24/7 but it can become exhausting.
I’ve struggled with it in the past, but I now turned off the email notifications and other work communication platforms from my phone. It has made a huge difference.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
I started going on daily walks and I also got into podcasts and audiobooks. I was late on the bandwagon but I’ve been meaning to increase the number of books I read in a year so this routine is definitely helping. More steps, more books so it’s a win-win!
There was also a period in 2020 where I wasn’t working but I kept the habit of waking up at 6 am. Keeping a routine and being disciplined really helped me during difficult times.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
For people who work in marketing, I would recommend following Mark Ritson on LinkedIn and reading his content in Marketing Week. I completed the Mini MBA in Marketing that he teaches and he has a very non-bullshit approach to marketing that I think all marketers would benefit from.
I’ve also been reading a lot about racism in the past year and I would highly recommend reading How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi and White Tears/Brown Scars: How White Feminism Betrays Women of Colour by Ruby Hamad. I think we should all do our part to educate ourselves on the topic.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
- Toggl to help me see how much time I spend on each task and help me focus my time on the most important things.
- Google Analytics to understand consumer’s online journey and help with optimisation.
- Trello to stay organised (I also include a brain dump section when I have ideas).
- My Fitbit (always aiming for 10,000 steps a day!)
- FaceTime to stay in touch with my family and friends who live in Canada.
- Goodreads to discover new books to read.
- Pinterest to find new recipes.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
That’s a tough one, but I’d say Michelle Battersby. She launched Bumble in Australia which was incredibly successful and she’s now working on her own business. She’s a powerhouse and I’d love to see how she balances work and personal life when launching a new company.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
Take care of your mental health. If you are currently in a workplace that is toxic, step away. No amount of money or prestige in a role is great enough to deteriorate your mental health and hurt your self-confidence.
I also recently heard this advice: Worrying means you suffer twice. I try to keep that in mind if I’m nervous ahead of an important meeting.
Before you go…
If you’d like to sponsor or advertise with Balance the Grind, let’s talk here.
Join our community and never miss a conversation about work, life & balance – subscribe to our newsletter.