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Balancing the Grind with Kylene Jones, Director of Customer & Commercial ANZ at Auror

Kylene Jones is the Director of Customer & Commercial ANZ at Auror, a retail crime intelligence platform for retailers to report, solve, and prevent crime.

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

I’m currently Director of Customer & Commercial for Australia and New Zealand at Auror.

Auror is a crime intelligence platform working with retailers and law enforcement to report, prevent and solve organised retail crime. In my role, I lead a team across Sales, Account Management and Customer Success.

Prior to my time at Auror, I was a Senior Growth Manager at Deliveroo in London, a food delivery start-up. And prior to that, I was a Management Consultant with over five years of experience at BCG in Australia and PwC in New Zealand. 

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

 My days are extremely varied with no one day looking the same as another. We are currently in lockdown in New Zealand so the work and life blend a little more fluidly. 

Here is a sample of a recent workday: 

  • 6 – 7.30am: Wake up, exercise – at the moment I’m training for a half ironman so it’s either a run, bike, swim or strength work. 
  • 7.30 – 8am: Make a smoothie, write my priority list for the day and start clearing slack messages and emails. 
  • 8 – 9am: Attend a virtual conference in the US to chat with current and prospective customers at our virtual booth. 
  • 9 – 10am: We are currently working on a few pilots with prospective customers so I will update a business case that we have created that they can bring to their executive team for sign-off. 
  • 10 – 11am: Attend a beverage and learn session on diversity, equity, and inclusion hosted by our Talent and PX partner to understand our recent survey results. 
  • 11 – 11.30am: 1:1 with a direct report. 
  • 11.30am – 12.30pm: Weekly meeting with one of our prospective customers undertaking a pilot for our Customer Success team to take them through the weekly results. 
  • 12.30 – 1pm: Lunch break, take a breather from my laptop, and get some fresh air with my partner. 
  • 1 – 3pm: Focus time – I could be working on reviewing a quarterly business review pack, following up with prospects, or creating a pack on our latest offering for law enforcement. 
  • 3 – 4pm: Initial sales call with a prospect. 
  • 4 – 5pm: Meeting with our marketing and sales team to discuss our upcoming Melbourne event. 
  • 5 – 6pm: Close out any emails / slack messages for the day. 
  • 6 – 7pm: Go for a walk and make dinner. 
  • 7-8pm: Weekly catch-up with my puddle pod (productivity huddle pod) – a programme that I’m undertaking with Startmate. Each week we discuss the content/homework and solve any current challenges we’re facing. 
  • 8 – 10pm: Read a book and hang out with my partner. 
  • 10pm: In bed by 10pm, asleep by 10.30pm to do it all over again. 

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

 We are all currently working remotely because of a lockdown in New Zealand. Auror has a great flexible and remote working policy.

Working flexibly means that if I want to take the afternoon off, I can, and make up the hours in the evening. However, I generally find with managing a team that I work pretty standard hours of 8am-6pm. 

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

Work-life balance means that I’m able to bring my whole self to work and my whole self to my personal life and do excellent work every single day.

This can only happen if there is equilibrium in both parts of my life. If one outweighs the other, that can only happen for a small amount of time before things start falling apart. 

Having the habits that I follow through with every day (out of work), sets me up well to have a great day at work. 

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

I’ve implemented a few habits over the last few months: 

  • Charging my phone outside of the bedroom so that it’s not the first thing I grab when I wake up. This means that I can go about my morning routine without any distractions. 
  • Bedtime/winding down rituals – no screen time one hour before bed, sleepy time tea, sometimes a bath. This signals to my body that it’s time to sleep and I generally sleep through the night.
  • Completing an audit and optimising my social structures. I realised that I’ve never had a set structure in regards to how much time I spend with my family and friends. Now that I’ve reflected, I have clear calendar reminders for every person in my life that is important to me, to catch up at a set frequency e.g. weekly for family, fortnightly for close friends and monthly for friendship groups. This means that social connections are not left to chance. 
  • 10k steps and/or exercise every day. Having this habit means that I get outside every day. 

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

Favourite books: If you’re looking for a great autobiography – I loved Michelle Obama’s book. Making of a Manager by Julie Zhou is a great read for anyone who is early into their management journey or a young manager.

And I adore fiction so my favourite books I’ve recently read include Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, Lonely Castle in the Mirror by Mizuki Tsujimura and Honeybee by Craig Silvey. 

Favourite podcasts: The Daily (great news source), recently listened to The Rich Roll Podcast – David Goggins episode which has kept me motivated over the last few weeks.

Favourite newsletter: The Hustle (for all things start-up). 

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

  • My notebook – I love scribbling down ideas, brainstorming, drawing and keeping my to-do list and habit tracker in one place. Pretty old-school like that. 
  • My wind trainer and Zwift – love being able to hop on the bike easily before or after work, rain or shine. Zwift makes it incredibly easy. 
  • My kindle – great being able to easily access books on the go. 
  • My AirPods – My friends overseas will drop me voice notes on the go and I love being able to listen to them on my daily walks and return the favour. 

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

Melanie Perkins, CEO and Co-Founder of Canva. Melanie is an absolute start-up superstar and I would love to understand what her work-life balance looks like on a day to day basis. 

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

During the pandemic it’s become even more important to ensure that we are taking care of ourselves. Many of us are feeling pretty blah or as the NYT has called it – a feeling of languishing so make sure you’re checking in with yourself and being kind. You can’t take care of others if you’re not taking care of yourself first. 

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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.