Interviews / Marketing & Advertising

Balancing the Grind with Karli Bainbridge, VP of Marketing at Brooklyn Brewery

Karli Bainbridge is the VP of Marketing at Brooklyn Brewery, one of the foremost craft breweries in the world.

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

Absolutely! I spent 14 years at Red Bull, giving wings to people and ideas in all kinds of ways across the marketing mix.

There I met my husband, and best friends for life! I hung up my wings in 2021 and went to a start-up, Kenshō Health to try my hand at building a brand from scratch and learned so much about how to build a business, too.

I then headed back to beverage this year to Brooklyn Brewery to head up marketing – a very exciting opportunity to grow an iconic brand based in my backyard!

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

My day usually starts at 7am (which I’m sure will change when I have children at some point…!), and the first thing I do is have hot water with lemon and do a quick meditation to start the day right.

I always find a way to move my body whether it’s a quick flow, or walking my pup – my mornings are my sacred time knowing the day gets hectic from there. I then walk or cycle to the Brewery about 10min away (I know, a lucky short commute) and grab a coffee on the way.

Each day looks pretty different depending on whether I’m in the office or travelling, but if I’m in the brewery in Brooklyn it is often sprinkled with meetings (some virtual, some in person and some walking 1:1s). I always visit my to-do list first thing, set goals for the day, and prep for meetings that day.

Then if it’s possible I like to do my deeper / solo work in the mornings and meetings in the afternoon – doesn’t always go that way though of course! I usually head out between 6-7PM and either meet my husband or some friends for dinner, and an evening stroll with my pup to close out the day. 

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

Yes, we are using a hybrid model so we can work from the Brewery and from home. It’s nice to have the flexibility in case you want to do work from home and focus, or need to be home for some reason that day.

I do like to be around people though, so I tend to be in the office more than at home! As long as I get my morning time to ground before I go, that’s the most important thing for me.

It feels antiquated now to think we have to be in the office 9-5 every single day, it allows people to build lives and routines that work for them, and I’m a big advocate for that! 

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

I actually strive for work-life fit vs balance, to me balance implies that it will always be balanced or 50/50 which isn’t really true and applies quite a bit of pressure. Work-life fit to me means being able to meet your personal and professional needs, in a way that works for you.

There is no one size fits all, and even for ourselves we often need to tweak what this means day to day or week to week. To me ‘fit’ means feeling like I am getting what I need to feel ‘whole’ across key areas like health, family, friends, work, purpose, etc based on my values and needs. 

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

I realised even more during COVID and life transitions that happened, that my ‘me time’ is critical. I’m an ambivert. This means I love to be social, but time alone is critical to reset and recenter.

My morning and evening time to ‘bookend’ the day have been really important areas I’ve focused on to make sure I get what I need to feel the best version of myself and understand what habits serve me. 

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

My favourite podcast right now is Glennon Doyle’s We Can Do Hard Things as they address many topics across the board in a real and human way. I’m also enjoying You Coach You by the Squiggly Careers team Helen Tupper and Sarah Ellis. Also anytime I start a new job I always read The First 90 Days. It’s a gem!  

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

My Melissa Wood Health app! She is my go to for ‘me time’ – flows, pilates and meditations. Product essentials include a journal for writing and thinking work (or notes app) and of course my yoga mat! I’m considering an Oura Ring to really get to know my body better. 

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

I would have to say there’s less of a specific person and more of a profile: a female leader in a CMO type role making it work with kids, I’d love to learn from them!

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

It’s all about finding what works for you. What are your non-negotiables in life and work backwards from there to figure out exactly what is most important to you for a happy and fulfilling life. Life is short after all – and joy/happiness are what I’m trying to prioritise – vs success or ‘titles’ – knowing that’s the ultimate goal. For me, anyway.

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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.