Balancing the Grind with Kylie Baullo, Managing Director, Australia & New Zealand at ADP

Kylie Baullo is Managing Director of ADP Australia and New Zealand, a global provider of cloud-based human capital management (HCM) solutions.

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

I take a sanguine perspective of my career and recognise the incredible privilege of my 30+ years in the organisation. So, while I have celebrated many career milestones, I try always to give back. On the ADP AWL Corporate Board, I represent our European and Asia-Pacific associates, working alongside the U.S. teams to partner with Dress for Success, the global non-profit employment resource for women, and Girls Inc. 

In my current role, I meet a wonderful variety of clients. And the one thing they all have in common is the need [for my team and I] to solve a business challenge. We do that by understanding and considering their perspective. It is interesting; no two days are ever the same. 

Internally, I try to make our labour meaningful, give it a sense of purpose. I believe creating a people-centred culture – empathy, loyalty, collaboration – is important and brings out the best in each of us professionally. 

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

6 AM – Hit the trails on my e-bike with my husband and highly energetic German short-haired pointer, Buddy. We first caught the e-bike bug while in Barcelona. I love it because you end up going further than you ever thought you could! 

8 AM – Get my boys ready for school and out the door. 

8.02 AM – A short black prepared in our kitchen. And I then move on to preparing my 11AM juice. I’m a produce maximalist here: six or more fruits and green veggies – depending on what’s in season – and always with ginger and turmeric. 

8.15 AM – I plan and begin working through my priorities for the day. 

9.02 AM – On my drive into the office, I catch up on podcast episodes. Today it’s the latest from the Moonshots Podcast. 

9.30 AM – I meet with my incredibly talented leadership team. High on the agenda is achieving cohesion across our different groups and functions. We are the team behind our clients’ teams. This means we’re constantly pushing ourselves, working to deliver tangible results for our clients. 

11 AM – First meal of the day. My home-made green juice. 

11.01 AM – Catch up on some quick reading – the day’s headlines, prep material for the day’s upcoming meetings. Dive into my inbox; a couple of video calls and that takes me to lunch. 

2 PM – Lunch: protein and salad 

2.30 PM – Launch into the rest of my afternoon, working through my priorities. 

4.30 – 6:30 PM – Calls with Europe-based associates 

7 PM – Dinner with my family. I have an Italian heritage and so, no surprises here, eating and cooking are a big part of our lives. We set up the pizza station in our kitchen tonight; other nights it’s Mexican, Spanish or Italian street food. 

Like all busy families, we try to make time to cook on the weekends for the week ahead. Meal preps are enjoyable, especially when we do it together as a family. 

Putting together lunches, we have our work cut out [for us]: our boys were spoilt by a Mediterranean school system that supplied diverse, healthy lunches every day at school. This means my husband and I constantly feel the pressure to one up what they’re used to. 

8.50 PM – I’m back at my desk ready for conference calls with our global clients. 

10 PM – Story and bedtime for my 10-year-old. We’re now learning about the history of people.

Tomorrow at 5 AM, I’ve a meeting for the ADP Women in Leadership Corporate Board – and I am excited! 

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

Most definitely. The work-from-home model isn’t new. I’ve had time and practice to tackle the endless configuration of work & meetings, school, after-school activities, and family. 

The pandemic exposed vulnerabilities in the way we viewed work. Yet it has also opened up opportunities. There’s never a better time to reconsider how we view work and performance: how do we continue to perform at our best without sacrificing time for ourselves and our families. 

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

I start from the conviction that my family, my children, are important to me. When I take that perspective, it becomes immediately easier to reframe what it means to be all at once a mother, wife and partner, and a woman in leadership. 

The pandemic propelled shifts at home and in the workplace, which means sometimes the lines are blurred; every parent has a story of juggling home schooling with the other facets of what else life hurls at them. 

For me, it is managing those transitions and going into, what I’d call, blocks of time 100% committed to what I am supposed to do, whether it is working with my [ADP] team to get the best output or field-side where I’m watching my son’s AFL football game. 

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

Two new routines. First, my husband and I made it a real focus to get in better shape together. We used to bike in Barcelona and figured it’d be good to spend time outdoors. And it has been great – allows us to spend time together, re-discover Melbourne while taking the dog out for a run. 

Second, and this an issue I’m passionate about, I joined our ADP AWL [Advancing Women in Leadership] Corporate Board, focused on building a strong talent pipeline for ADP of women across the globe that ultimately lead to executive roles in the future. Women can bring so much to the table, for communities, for business organisations. I love being a part of this initiative; on the days I’m working alongside this group of women, my energy level is through the roof!

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

I like the HBR IdeaCast. “Find Joy in any Job” is a series featuring my colleague, Marcus Buckingham, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. 

I’m a naturally curious person and my 10-year-old gets that from me. His passion and appetite for learning is contagious! When I have that sliver of time in a day, through his eyes, I enjoy exploring books and podcasts that have that mix of mathematics and anthropology.

It is fascinating the intricate patterns in nature and how early civilizations had built cultures around these patterns. And I’ve been able to discover more topics through Blinkist; I am hooked. It’s hardly romantic but it only takes a couple of minutes; and if the topic interests me, I’ll read more deeply into the subject matter. 

I’ve enjoyed The Big Picture by Sean M. Carroll, Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences by John Allen Paulos, and Ian Stewart’s In Pursuit Of The Unknown – 17 Equations That Changed The World.

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

I love my Bose bluetooth audio sunglasses, which are great for podcasts and music while I ride. 

And I use the guided meditation sessions on Insight Timer to help me stay focused in those blocks of time at work or with my family. 

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

I’d love to do more than read about these three women. I’d like to sit at the table with Jacinda Ardern, Michelle Obama and Malala Yousufzai. 

These women have been challenged by circumstances, overcame obstacles and chose to make good on their promises. They represent different dimensions of strength, empathy and inspiration for change. 

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

The headlines today tell shocking and disheartening stories. For too long and too often, females have had to take a defensive posture. I am privileged to be able to use my agency at work to empower women – and there’s more to be done. 

This takes a conscious effort and I urge every leader to do more for gender equality and diversity.

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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.