Interviews / Operations

Balancing the Grind with Jessie Glew, Joint Managing Director & COO at BlackWall Limited & WOTSO Property

Jessie Glew is the Joint Managing Director and COO at real estate company, BlackWall Limited, and co-working space, WOTSO Property.

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

After completing my degree at Macquarie University in International Communications and Media, I began working with BlackWall – previously WOTSO’s parent company.

I feel incredibly passionate about what we are building within BlackWall and WOTSO (now exist as two separate business entities), that I have stayed within them in varying capacities for a decade.

I first joined BlackWall in 2011, in the role of Property Administrator, before moving into a Property Manager role and since 2017, I have been the COO. In 2019, I also took on the role of Co-Managing Director in partnership with our CFO, Tim Brown. 

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

I have no doubt everyone says this, however, it is absolutely the truth that no two days are the same. We could be working on a new property or WOTSO location, or working closely with our leadership team people and culture or improving operational efficiencies.

At the moment, there is a lot of close monitoring of the CV19 situation and how this impacts our spaces and members.  Similarly, we are working with our teams around Australia to ensure everyone is still feeling connected, through virtual events such as a recent paint and sip.

While my work days are so so different, a few things never change to try and keep a routine – that is early morning exercise with my partner, Dean, and our puppy, a really good coffee, hopefully a dip in the ocean and some good Netflix at the end of the day. Bliss!

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

The premise of WOTSO is flexible work. We are developers of cool, flexispaces around Australia – so in short, yes, flexibility is definitely a perk of the role.

I love working from our different spaces around NSW and when permitted, I will frequently travel to our other spaces in Queensland, Tasmania, South Australia, and the ACT.

While I will often work from our head office in Neutral Bay, there are days when I will work from our Manly space – it’s close to home, it has ocean views and nothing beats a Friday afternoon beer on our rooftop. 

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

I never compromise on those things that make me feel like me – exercise, time with my family and friends, or a swim or surf. Work is a passion of mine and I love what we are creating within BlackWall and WOTSO – it’s such a dynamic and exciting business to be part of.

However, like everyone, we need to switch off and I definitely have to work at this. We can all get wrapped up in another email and forget to stop and enjoy the moments happening around you. 

I find the best way to break away is to write a list of to dos for the next day, put the to dos in an imaginary box, and lock the box which cannot be unlocked until the next day. Seems silly but it’s working for now.  

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

Yes – I have started a couple.

  1. Using the Apple watch to do fitness competitions with the family – this causes me to get into a routine of waking up and exercising in the morning, which sets me up well for the day.
  2. Working on my public speaking. It seems a simple one, however, just like getting better at sport you need to practice – the same applies for public speaking. I have signed up for a course, which requires practice every week by either recording myself speaking or preparing a speech.

I also love finding efficiencies, so I have Googlefied the house and now catch up on the news while I’m in the shower, find good dinner recipes while I’m cleaning the kitchen etc.

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

Seems boring but I love some of the ABC podcasts, such as Coronacast and The Economists. Newsletters – I would suggest The Hustle. It’s a really fun one. Books – I tend to read less of and find myself reading short articles a lot more. I need to get back into reading books.  

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

I couldn’t live without my iPhone or iWatch – they are work, communication and life rolled into two very smart gadgets. Of course, my laptop is never far from my side too! I also love Apple health and fitness, Strava and a lot of other fitness related apps.

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

It would be Arianna Huffington, Whitney Wolfe Herd and or Brooke Farris.

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

If the last one and a half years have taught us anything, it’s to find that balance and enjoy it. Spend time with family and friends.

The hardest part is to find the balance. If you are struggling, routine helps as it will help you to make time for yourself. If it is part of the routine, eventually it won’t be forced, it will just come naturally. 

Use the imaginary box to help compartmentalise, so you can enjoy moments and you don’t miss them because you are too busy working when you should be living. 

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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.