Balancing the Grind with Lenya McGrath, Executive Director of Business Development at BLVR

Lenya McGrath is the Executive Director of Business Development at BLVR, a creative consultancy based in San Diego.

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

I fell into advertising as a 17-year-old straight out of high school. I landed a job in the mail room of one of the largest agencies in Sydney, Australia: McCann Erickson.

From the moment I began, I knew I’d found my passion – an inspiring place where insights, storytelling, and creativity lived. Since then, I’ve travelled the world building brands at agencies across Australia, the UK, and now America, where I currently live. 

A couple of years ago, I transitioned into business development at an agency called BLVR. We’re more than a traditional branding or creative shop. We’re a belief agency. Everything we do is based on building brands that lead with a deeper conviction, the kind of brands that lead with what they believe and use that as a way to shape culture. It’s my job to bring in the change-maker clients who want to collaborate with us.

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

My day normally begins at 6.45am. I’ll check the news, catch up on Instagram and then I’m in full-on mum mode to prep my kids for the school day.

In between the madness, I try to make a point to get out into my garden while I have my morning cup of tea. It’s a moment of solitude that always makes my day better.

I’ll log onto work by about 8.45 am. My mornings are filled with catching up internally with our teams and meeting new clients who we’d love to work with. In the afternoon, I’ll be crafting pitches and proposals or working with our team on marketing programs that build BLVR’s profile.

I’m usually on the road at about 4pm to drive my kids to their afternoon activities. I always bring my laptop to finish my last hour or so of work. I appreciate having the flexibility to be able to work anywhere so I can balance all of my commitments. 

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

Agency life does not typically support a good work-life balance. I’ve spent many years of my career burning the midnight oil. I got to a point where I was so burnt out by the hustle mentality that I was questioning who I was and the work choices I was making.

Nowadays, I’ve made it my goal to achieve a work-life balance that leaves me feeling happy and balanced in ALL areas of my life, whether that’s professionally, in motherhood, with friends and family, or even taking time for my own creative hobbies.  

It’s not always easy, but I’ve learned to set boundaries and be confident in saying no to the things that don’t match my priorities. I set weekly goals that remind me of how to be my best whole self. I turn those into a screensaver on my phone so I can constantly be reminded of what is important to me. 

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

We are lucky enough at BLVR to have a flexible and remote schedule. It’s been instrumental in being able to fit everything into my day. 

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

Our team was getting sucked into meeting overload. Without any free time left in the day, we were doing our actual ‘work’ after hours. It was a very unhealthy cycle. We made a simple but effective change and began blocking out focus time on our calendars from 1 pm each day.

It lets us get our work done within reasonable working hours. I also block out monthly strategy days where I’ll disconnect from the day-to-day to spend time vision-casting or learning new skills. It’s essential to have that negative space. 

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

I can’t live without my phone and laptop. I’m always working on the go so it allows me to connect anywhere.

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

Don’t be afraid to prioritise the things that are important to you. When your commitments align with what you believe in, it doesn’t feel like work. It feels like you’re doing the things that leave you fulfilled.

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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.