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Balancing the Grind with Kellie Chapple, Global COO at Bulletproof

Kellie Chapple is the Global COO at Bulletproof, an independent strategic brand design agency with offices in London, New York, Singapore, Amsterdam, Sydney and Shanghai.

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

I’ve grown up in the brand design industry working across small, medium, and large agencies based in London and New York, and am now the Global COO of strategic brand design agency Bulletproof.

My background is in client services, however, before joining the brand design world I trained and then worked as an interior designer in Melbourne, Australia, not to be confused with Melbourne, Florida, although both have great beaches. 

My current role involves everything from the wellbeing of our people to working with our clients, from our ways of working to the management of our commercials, all the while ensuring that our culture is reflected in our brand and that our brand stands up to our culture.

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

Most of my days involve Teams or Zoom calls with breaks in between to catch up on emails. However, I have recently built-in time with a personal trainer two days a week and a Pilates session one day a week to get me moving again and away from the screen. 

Bulletproof has also started to return to the studio and meet IRL, which has been stimulating on so many levels. Today was an example of my ideal day and what I’m looking forward to doing more of:

  • early Teams call from home with one of our team based in London
  • walk to our studio
  • monthly meeting with our senior New York team
  • lunch at a local restaurant with our senior New York team
  • back to the studio to catch up on emails
  • walk to the gym for my session with my personal trainer
  • walk back home
  • dinner with my husband
  • back online to catch up on emails.

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

Yes, however, this was the case for me before COVID. As Bulletproof is a global business and my role involves working with our team across all of our studios, my hours vary from day to day depending on which teams I have meetings with. So, as this usually entails early mornings or late nights, I generally preferred to have my international calls from home rather than the studio. 

I’d say in the past this meant that I had very extended days, however, I’m now trying to be more disciplined, so if I have an early morning, I aim to not have a late evening and vice versa. 

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

Switching off from work is the key to achieving this for me and it’s something that I consciously work at. Particularly now with the constant video calls I find I need a break from screen time to recharge my mind so that I can properly function again.

Therefore, I try to make sure that my weekends are mainly screen free. I’ve also recently got back into reading books again, rather than reading on my iPad, which has made a huge difference. My mind feels clearer, and I appear to process information much faster. 

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

Like most people, I let our COVID times of the past two years get the better of me and become a little too consuming, so up until recently I didn’t have many good habits to share.

However, as I mentioned I’ve started training again with a personal trainer in the last six weeks and already I can feel a difference with my overall physical and mental health. It’s helped me to be more disciplined with how I use my time and not always to put my priorities last.

This is not just beneficial for me but also to my family, friends, and colleagues as I now have more energy and in turn, I feel more present. Obviously, it’s early days, so check back with me in six months and I’ll let you know how I’m getting on!

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

I’m a big fan of Fast Company as they cover such a large variety of topics. I particularly appreciate the tips they share when it comes to subjects such as the new ways we work, how different companies are approaching remote working, raising the importance of mental health – they truly are a font of knowledge.

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

I am a bit of a sucker for gadgets that look like they’ll make my life easier, whether they truly do or not is another thing, but there are two items that I feel were worth the investment.

There’s the iRobot Roomba that takes care of the majority of the vacuuming without too much assistance and the Litter-Robot, the self-cleaning litter box, that takes care of the litter for my two cats – both are definitely time savers that I couldn’t live without.

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

Author and inspirational speaker Simon Sinek is another go-to for me, with his advice on leadership and what truly matters and motivates people in today’s world.

I feel that Simon talks a lot of common sense, so I’d appreciate hearing more about his perspective on work-life balance, which by the way is that you shouldn’t approach life with two opposing sides as our lives are more complex than this.

He believes that we should think in a more rounded holistic way e.g. work, family, friends, travel, gym, theatre, whatever it is that you enjoy doing. Basically, it’s work, alongside everything else that we do, to ensure that we have a fulfilling and enjoyable life, which for most people happens to include work too.

I’ve also been reading and watching Steven Bartlett of The Social Chain and the new Dragon on the British Dragons’ Den. It’s clear that Steven is a very smart guy, but what I enjoy about Steven is his straightforward, no nonsense, human approach.

He just says it how it is, puts it into layman’s terms and avoids all the fluff, which is so refreshing nowadays. Seeing how successful Steven has been at such a young age, and in such an unconventional way, I would love to hear how he balances his time.

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

Go and watch Simon Sinek on YouTube – the right way to approach work-life balance.

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About Author

Balance the Grind is a work-life balance publication on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.