Interviews / Marketing & Advertising

Balancing the Grind with Kellie Wheeler, Field Marketing Director for Pure Storage

Kellie Wheeler is the Field Marketing Director for data solutions company Pure Storage, where she has been working for the 18 months with a team in Australia.

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

I’m Kellie Wheeler, Field Marketing Director for Pure Storage. I’ve been working for Pure for 18 months. I have a small team here in Australia focusing on Pure’s modern data experience providing all the storage services needed – block, VM, file, or object – to consolidate everything.

I came from a company called OpenText, that focused on Enterprise Information Management and was there for nearly 3 years.

Prior to that, I was at IBM for 18 years, I feel like I did a lot of everything at IBM, but my main focus area for the last 10+ years was software marketing. That puts me at nearly 23 years working in the IT industry in Australia.

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

Twice a week, I have a trainer come to me so I can have an early morning workout, that gets me up and motivated pretty early. I then head out to get my coffee and get to my desk at about 8:15am.

I check my email and my calendar and my day often involves a lot of zoom calls, both with my team locally, across Asia Pacific & Japan (APJ) and globally.

Then the marketing work begins, this quarter my team has over 50 marketing campaigns going out, so it’s pushing them along with vendors, following up what’s already been executed, briefing my sales team on what’s coming or wrapping up what has happened.

I physically log off from my PC about 6 pm but continue to jump on emails as they come through during the evening as my global team comes online.

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

I was working from home about twice a week prior to COVID-19. I have my office set up and was ready to go once remote working became a full-time thing. Now it seems quite natural, I jump on Zoom calls or call anyone I need when needed.

It doesn’t feel like it’s changed my life too much except I don’t spend any spare time on my PC after work anymore, I feel that when the day is over, I need to separate myself.

One aspect I’ve found difficult is to fit my self-education into my day, I need to prioritise it and almost schedule diary time around education or I find I don’t have the time or headspace to get it done. That needs to change for me immediately.

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

I quite like the speed that Pure Storage goes to market, and that can mean moving quite fast as opposed to other companies I’ve worked for.

There may be less balance but it is because I let that balance get out of whack because I’ve prioritised work over other things. I don’t feel I have home commitments that impact my work life so the balance is as much or as little as I like.

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

I really try to prioritise my health and activity habits and that became a real factor within the last few months. I’ve been working from home full time since mid-February and if I don’t force it, I’d be tied to a desk for 12 hours a day.

I like to schedule a walk with friends, early in the morning works best, being either the dog park, or after work across the Sydney Harbour Bridge. I can catch up with them, and move.

My trainer has been a lot of help a few days a week, really clearing my head, no matter how much I complain.

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

I really love photography, so I’ve been reading a lot of blogs, covering technical and aesthetic aspects of photography.

Podcasts have been virtual lifesavers and with so much going on in the world, I find that I can listen and fit it in around whatever I’m working on.

One that is a favorite is Unlocking Us with Brené Brown. I recommend it if you’re open to learning and understanding all that is going on in the world right now.

It’s all about conversations with the people who are teaching, challenging, or confusing you. It’s a great way to learn.

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

My Apple Watch. I can see all my notifications without picking up my phone so it limits my actual distractions, it tells me to get up (because I forget if I’m in a groove), it makes me exercise. It helps me close rings and I like to see completion.

Then after that my phone, I can do so much on it, I love taking photos, I love reading, keeping up with socials, all in the palm of my hand.

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

Julia Gillard and Julie Bishop are two women I admire greatly, while not necessarily for their political alliances but their leadership, and balance they bring to a male-dominated industry.

To me, I don’t see work-life balance being about job share or getting home to feed the kids, to me, it’s about how you manage your life and career choices while maintaining your sense of identity. It means different things to different people, pending the stage of life you’re in.

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

Everyone has something going on in their lives that they don’t share. It could be a sick family member; a family feud, a kitchen renovation, it could be a new puppy, no one knows. Each person has different priorities. Be kind to others and be kind to yourself.

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This conversation is brought to you by holistic health expert Josephine Zappia, helping individuals globally achieve wellness from within.

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.