CEOs / Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Karen Dewey, CEO at Lumi.Media

Karen Dewey is the co-founder & CEO at Lumi.Media, an integrated web platform built specifically for creative teams to share and manage their work.

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

I am the co-founder and CEO of Lumi.Media. After spending decades managing big teams in television, working on productions ranging from news and current affairs to morning TV and the big, fast-moving and quick turnaround productions of reality TV, I spotted a crucial gap in the market for software to revolutionise the TV and film industry. 

In 2014, frustrated by the way traditional production processes and tools were increasingly failing talented content-making teams, I teamed up with my brother Neil, an experienced software architect to build Lumi.Media.

For the first time in television history, production teams have been able to pivot to working from home during the pandemic and reduce the number of people on set enabled by advances in technology. 

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

I’m at my best in the mornings and wake up at 5.30am. After a cup of tea I ride my bike down to Manly Beach and then walk along the beach with one of my adult children or a friend. We get coffee on the way and then I return home to join our team’s 9:00am sales meeting. After that I enjoy breakfast in the sun and respond to emails. 

Even before the pandemic, we all worked from home, so I enjoy a terrific work life balance. My days are often spent engaging with the team, assisting clients and using the Lumi platform to build the business.

We encourage the team to work, when we need to work and when you don’t, enjoy getting other things done. I take regular breaks during the day and often end my days with a meeting with London at 8pm. 

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

My work couldn’t be more flexible. I am a massive advocate of using an Apple Watch, because it enables me to be contacted whenever I am needed and it frees me up to know when I’m not required and can focus on other things.

Because I am an early morning person, my team knows that I send a lot of emails early in the morning, when I am at my most productive and creative. They understand I don’t expect them to reply at that time, but that I structure my days to focus when I am at my peak creativity. 

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

I have always been clear with myself that I never wanted a job where I felt a sense of impending doom on a Sunday night about going to work the next day.

It is so important to love your work, to have passion for what you do, as that brings true wellbeing and a sense of happiness and purpose. Moving from very creative roles in the past, into building and running a software company, I am very mindful of the need to nurture my creative spirit and collaborate with like minded people. 

During the pandemic and through lockdowns we realised the need to come together more often, but for shorter meetings. We all touch base more often, for quick check-ins and to hear about what each other is focusing on.

We have started a Thursday/Friday afternoon ‘Show and Tell’ Zoom, where we all enjoy learning about what each other is working on, hearing about the challenges and seeing demo’s of new functionality we’re building.

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

I had heard the advice that you shouldn’t go to sleep with the light and distraction of devices. In the past year, I finally heeded this advice and it has dramatically improved the quality of my sleep. Now when I head to bed, I leave all the devices out of the room. 

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

I just finished reading ‘Cassandra Speaks, When Women Are the Storytellers, the Human Story Changes’ by Elizabeth Lesser. It has been a life changing book and very inspirational. I copied quotes from the book and put them on my fridge to remind myself about the importance of storytelling. 

I also recently discovered a brilliant magazine called ‘Dumbo Feather’, all about passion, purpose and community, featuring conversations with extraordinary people. I am always listening to Audible and different podcasts and strongly recommend listening to ‘ The Lazarus Hei$T’ by the BBC. 

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

My Apple Watch and the Lumi.Media platform for collaboration with our team and customers. And also my coffee plunger and pen and paper analogue calendar as I like the process of writing down mindfully and planning out my schedule. 

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

To me, work-life balance is about ensuring you take the extra time to live creatively, and make even the smallest moments special.

I would nominate Lisa Burdus, the brilliant Australian interior designer and unabashed Anglophile, who designed my home. She can make a simple boiled egg for breakfast feel and look like a banquet, just by adding beautiful touches to the table or the meal.

Lisa’s vision for my home sanctuary is based on a unique colour palette blending pink and green tones. She transformed my 19th-century former whaler’s cottage in North Sydney into a vibrant, inviting home with a nod to classic English country style. Her work on my home recently featured as the cover story of UK House and Garden Magazine

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

Rituals are important to help achieve work life balance. Every Friday afternoon, especially during lockdowns, I purchase fresh flowers and pack up the kitchen table, putting all my work materials out of sight, and intentionally reset the house as a weekend home.

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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.