Balancing the Grind with Kathleen Weaver, Chief Officer at Flip Insurance

Kathleen Weaver is the Chief Officer at Flip Insurance, on-demand injury insurance for active and adventurous Australians.

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

I started out my career as a doctor. After working in hospitals for a couple of years I had ruled out all the different specialties and realised it wasn’t for me. Back to the career drawing board.

I went back to uni and then began working in Strategy consulting for a few years in Sydney and Boston which was hard work and long hours but I learned a lot, quickly. I then started working at HCF, Australia’s largest not-for-profit health insurer, in the strategy team and then managing the CEO Office.

No one grows up wanting to work in insurance, but I found it combined my health and strategy skill set and the industry is complex and challenging. Now I head up Flip, an insurtech that provides Australia’s first on-demand, accidental injury insurance. We’re designing insurance in a totally different way for a new generation. 

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

I started meditating this year, so I kick off my day with 20 minutes of that. If the weather’s good and I’m up early enough I love to go for a walk around the Botanical Gardens, it’s one of my favourite places in Sydney. Skim piccolo on the way home +/- almond croissant. 

When I start my workday, I usually try and clear my inbox and Slack early before the rest of the team comes online and I make a list the night before of any priority tasks I want to get done for the day and focus on getting started on them early before other distractions. 

The regular work day starts with team stand up 3 times a week. I’ll usually look at our dashboards before this to see how all our growth metrics are tracking. Then I’m usually in and out of meetings and reviewing and responding to the team throughout the day so any big tasks on my plate slow down. We try to do Tuesday/Thursday meeting free days so these days are great for any deep thinking and bigger pieces of work. 

I have a giant, demanding Great Dane who takes me out for a walk at lunch time and at around 4 or 5pm which is great for keeping my step count up. I find my concentration really dwindles by around 6pm so try to wrap up work by then. I’m definitely more efficient in the morning. 

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

After working in medicine and consulting I knew there were limits on how much I wanted work to take up of my life. I have a few ways that I ensure the balance is right. 

I’m very clear with people that work with me that I don’t work on weekends unless there is a seriously extenuating circumstance. And I take a lot of holidays where I do not look at anything work related. I find that these two “rules” are super important for me to reset and maintain my mental health. I come back from holidays a much better person! 

Autonomy within my workday is also very important for me and I try to promote this flexibility in my team. I’ll try hard to prioritise getting to pilates classes and want the people around me to as well. People perform better and are happy and engaged with their work if they’re looking after themselves. 

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

Yep, starting meditation in April was quite a life change. I had been thinking about starting for years because I knew I’d benefit from it but didn’t prioritise it. Someone in my team is really into it and it was a good push to just give it a go.

20 minutes twice a day has done wonders for my sleep habits and also curtails my tendency to ruminate. I let frustrations go much more quickly these days. It feels like it’s doing good things for my mental health and my partner tells me that’s the case so it must be! 

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

Chat 10 Looks 3 is a podcast favourite. Love listening to Leigh Sales and Annabel Crabb just chat about whatever comes into their heads. 

Lenny’s newsletter has been pretty relevant to where Flip is as a business – good tidbits for start-ups there. 

Favourite books – too difficult. I’m an avid reader of fiction so I couldn’t choose just one. 

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

Well it’s related to my podcast recommendation above but I am always astounded by how Leigh and Annabel juggle high profile media careers, write books, have multiple children and then have the time to be reading what seems like multiple books a week, plus immerse themselves in a range of cultural outings (theatre, music, art), and bake! Where do they find the time? And the energy? It’s a mystery, reveal your secrets please. 

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

Over the years I’ve come to realise that my extreme introversion means that I need to spend a lot of time alone, peacefully reading in silence. And that’s ok. 

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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.