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Balancing the Grind with Leanne Cartwright-Bradford, Country Manager & Head of Audible ANZ

Leanne Cartwright-Bradford is the Country Manager & Head of Audible ANZ, where she leads the team to deliver the best possible content and experience for their customers.

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

I’ve been lucky enough to work for a number of content and entertainment businesses in Australia and the UK including 20th Century Fox, Samsung and Amazon Appstore before starting with Audible.

I began as Marketing Director at Audible and while on maternity leave with my second child, I applied for the AU & NZ Country Manager role. I was successful, and my manager, Matthew Gain agreed to do my role and his while I completed my maternity leave, which was very kind and shows both his and Audible’s commitment to supporting women in the workplace.

As Country Manager, I manage the AU business and work with the AU team to ensure that we deliver the best possible content and experience for our customers.

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

I get up when my children do. There’s no bouncing out of bed, going for a run and drinking a green juice at my house. Early mornings could see me refereeing a fight over Lego Minecraft or trying to convince one of my sons to wear pants.

Generally, I spend my days working with the Audible team in Australia, but also the broader international team and our agencies. We have the most passionate, smart and driven team who genuinely have fun working together.

The questions we usually discuss centre on our customers. How can we improve the experience and delight our customers? How can we tell more people about the benefits of Audible? How can we create the most innovative and exciting new content that is perfect for audio?

We also talk a lot about food, TV, podcast and audiobook recommendations, as well as our children and compost.

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

We currently are able to choose to work from home or the office, but later in the year we’ll return to our pre-COVID approach, where we had a mix of time in the office and flexibility to work wherever we choose.

We also have one meeting-free day a week for work that requires more focus. This gives me flexibility to pick up the boys from school and balance out the time I spend on calls of an evening with international colleagues.

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

It means having the right balance of all the things that I need and love, although not necessarily all at the same time. It changes constantly; what is needed of me from my family, my job, my friends, what I need for myself.

Work-life balance is having the freedom and space to prioritise whatever is most important to me at the time. It doesn’t always work, and it’s a very privileged position to be in to be able to think about your life in this way.

Flexibility is important at Audible, which makes a huge difference. My husband runs his own e-commerce consultancy, so he has a lot of flexibility in how he designs his day and he fully shares the load with our children (as he, and all men should).

I don’t want to sound like I have it all together though. The wheels fall off sometimes. We forget stuff. We look at each other and think ‘we’ll be ordering take-away for dinner tonight’. Sometimes, when I am on a call, I look around my study at all the junk on the floor off-camera and I think ‘I should do something about that…’

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

Yes, during COVID I spent a lot of time drawing and painting with my sons, and it reminded me how much I used to love being creative for the sheer joy of it. Being a parent and working had made me forget this and coming back to it has been such a lovely experience.

I am painting regularly and badly now and I am finding it so relaxing and fun. When you enjoy the act of doing, regardless of the outcome, that is something to be treasured.

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

Dr. Tim Sharp’s Audible Original Habits For Happiness/Work/Action series give really practical, science-based tips for improving your life. I am really enjoying Nicole LePera’s How To Do the Work as it really explores the how of self-improvement.

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

Well, I obviously use Audible a lot and that’s not because I work there, it’s why I work there. I have always felt that I only want to work for brands and companies that I would happily use and pay for myself and that is definitely true for Audible.

Since I had my sons, I just don’t have the time to sit down and read anymore, so Audible allows me to listen to books and podcasts while I’m doing something else; going for a walk, tidying up or in the car. I also love my smart watch as it keeps me honest/ judges me about my steps.

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

It would have to be Jacinda Ardern – she is an inspirational leader and human.

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

I read somewhere that permitting yourself not to do things that don’t matter to you is the key. I’ve realised that I want to have some time to myself to go for a walk, paint, play with the kids, see my closest friends and relax with my husband.

But I don’t actually care if the house is clean, if I cook the birthday cake or buy it or if I maintain a huge social circle. Working out what matters to you and letting the rest fall away really helps.

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About Author

Balance The Grind gives me a platform to talk to these people about how they're achieving their ideal lifestyle. I'm inspired by the passion, the work ethic, the hustle; and these conversations motivate me to live life the way I want to live it.