Balancing the Grind with Kate Murphy, Head of Retail at Lexer

Kate Murphy is the Head of Retail at Lexer, a customer data platform helping brands and retailers understand their customers.

Interested in talking about how you balance the grind? Get in touch with us here!

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

My background is a mixture of both Media and Tech sales & strategy.  I really enjoy working with brands to help them better understand and engage consumers to ultimately drive revenue. I started my career in out of home advertising and have since worked in a mixture of traditional and digital media and Martech businesses.

In 2014 I quit my job, packed up my life and moved to New York.  In hindsight I’m not sure where the courage came from, but I guess blindly & with a bit of a YOLO attitude, I did it.  It was by far the best decision of my life.  

In NY I gained experience working in SaaS / Martech at a consumer insights startup called Suzy which enabled me to shift from media into tech, a career move which has been pivotal to where I am now (and wherever I may end up).  After 5 incredible years, I decided to move home to Australia, on to the next chapter. 

Today, I’m Head of Retail for Lexer – a Customer Data Platform.  We help brands and retailers like Zimmermann, The Iconic and Aquila to better collect, unify and understand customer data for smarter marketing and personalised customer experiences.

This role, within this business, has been an awesome culmination of my experience across advertising strategy, SaaS, customer insights and data and I love it!

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

The last 18+ months have been, for all of us, a rollercoaster – meaning each day is a bit different depending on the current restrictions.

I’m mostly WFH at the moment – so a typical day starts at around 7am when I take my dachshund Jacko for a walk to the local coffee shop for my morning latte.

If we’re not mid lockdown, I’ll also usually go to a workout class a few mornings a week (reformer Pilates or some sort of HIIT).  I feel like those little wins set the day up for success and it’s an opportunity to own the morning for myself. 

The work day starts at 8am or 9am – if we’ve got company-wide all-hands or collaborative sessions with our US counterparts, we’ll start on the earlier side. My day typically involves a mixture of external customer calls and demos, internal team WIPs, cross functional meetings and building out proposals/presentation prep.  

I’m lucky enough to meet incredible retail marketers and eCommerce leads, learning about their customer and data challenges and working through how our solution can help them achieve their business goals. It’s pretty special to get a look behind the scenes at many of my favourite brands.

I’ll close the work day out at around 530/6pm, once my partner is home from work and we’ll take the dog for another walk – I find this is particularly important when working from home, in place of a commute to signal the end of 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 100% – and I’m very grateful for it.  Lexer has always had a flexible working arrangement, as long as you get your work done effectively and efficiently, it doesn’t really matter where you are.

At the moment, I typically go into our HQ 2 – 3 days a week, and that balance is awesome.  It allows for a few days at home in the zone for admin or customer calls, and the rest of the week with the buzz of the office, opportunities to collaborate and learn from our incredibly smart team.  

Culture is a super important part of our business, and little things like daily trivia at 3pm (Wednesday’s feat. cheese and wine) or Friday team office lunches make a really big difference in bringing us together. 

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

I think it is all about the “balance”.  I don’t mind if some days are super long, or if I sometimes need to log on over the weekend to get ahead of the following week – if that’s not a permanent state or is leading to burnout. 

For me, being able to fit in exercise is important (as much for mental health as physical), so if that’s consistently compromised then I know I need to make a shift or set some boundaries. Luckily, I haven’t had that issue at all with Lexer, we even have team personal training sessions every Thursday at lunchtime.

With current limitations on travel, I certainly find that I’m missing holidays (I’m sure we all are!), so making time for more local trips, or trying to fully switch off on weekends is important as well.

I also believe that it’s important to set up a culture where employees are trusted to get their job done, where boundaries can be set or renegotiated and where everyone is working toward a common goal.  All those things contribute to enabling a winning work-life balance for individuals.

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

Going for three walks a day is a routine I now stick to, thanks to working from home and the addition of our dog to the family.  It gets my steps up, keeps my dog happy and breaks up the zoom marathons. 

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

I really like The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Mason.  As someone who can sometimes overthink and give too many f*cks over small things, it’s an awesome reset.  

I got a lot of value from Radical Candor by Kim Scott.  If you’re a leader, it provides a great framework for giving honest, productive and constructive feedback.

I also recently finished Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton and loved it; and I was glued to Hedley Thomas’ Podcasts: The Teacher’s Pet and The Night Driver for some intriguing Aussie true crime.

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

No game changers here – but, Spotify (always on in the background), Instagram (social, fashion, travel inspo & eating out reccs), BOM Weather (I check it every morning religiously, is that weird?) and Classpass (access to lots of awesome different exercise studios across Melbourne for a monthly fee) are probably my most used apps. 

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

Any mums. I barely find enough hours in the day so I have no idea how all the full time working mums out there do it!

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

This year is full of uncertainty and that takes a mental toll.  Look after yourself and be kind to others.

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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.