Balancing the Grind with Linda Truong, Senior Director of Solutions, APAC at Innovid

Linda Truong is the Senior Director of Solutions, APAC at Innovid. which powers connected TV (CTV) advertising streaming, personalization, and measurement for the world’s largest brands. 

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

I started my career working in the Media and Advertising Industry, planning and activating campaigns across FMCG, Luxury, Alcohol and Technology clients. I helped generate a consistently high ROI across each client and project managed high profile brand launches with globally renowned partners.

I also conducted lectures on the topic of Advertising Media and Strategy to tertiary students. This period of my career was incredibly fast paced and filled with so many incredible learning experiences. However, despite all the success during this period, I had the urge to be more creative.

I felt like I had more to give, but I wasn’t sure what ‘that’ was. So I had an eat-pray love moment and took a career break – travelled and got accredited to teach Technology Applied Studies to Secondary Students, teaching Food Technology, Textiles and Graphic Design. I was on a discovery journey.

But just as I was getting settled into teaching, life had other plans. I got a call from Innovid with a role that was quite drastically different to what I knew. To give you some background, Innovid is an independent advertising and measurement platform for the world’s largest brands, with scaled ad serving, data driven personalisation and converged tv measurement across linear, CTV and digital.

At the time, this was definitely outside of my comfort zone, but one that gave me the opportunity to work across different departments, learn and also be creative visually and strategically. This excited me. Fast forward 8 years, and today, I am the Senior Director of Solutions for the APAC region.

I have strategized, managed and built complex creatives across a large portfolio of clients, I co-lead the expansion of Innovid’s business in APAC, developed critical processes to streamline operations and communication, lead Dynamic Creative and Measurement product initiatives across the region and most importantly, I continue to learn, collaborate, create and work with kind, intelligent and inspiring people every day, which is pure magic.

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

My day starts at 6:30am and it is a double team between my husband and I to get our son dressed, fed and dropped off at daycare. Once I get ready myself, I would sit down with my breakfast and morning coffee, read a book and write three intentions to set the tone for the day. My laptop and phone are completely untouched before 9.

From 9am I read through my emails and write down my to do list. I put a star next to the top three items I need to work on first as it keeps me focused and makes my growing list achievable. At 11am I have an internal meeting to align on the goals for the week, along with the key projects being tackled. I then have three back to back external meetings with clients to go through briefs, dynamic strategy executions and present Innovid’s Product Solutions.

It’s 3:30 pm and I get a late lunch and work through my list until it’s pick up time for my son.

At 6pm, I sit down for a family dinner.

I take a global VC call at 7:30pm, followed by quality time with my son; playing, building and reading until 9pm. I then sit with my husband to catch up on the day whilst building a new lego project together, then from 10:30pm, I read a book until I fall asleep.

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

Work-life balance to me is creating space and priority for the moments that bring me joy. I work my best when my joy cup is filled, so I have non-negotiable time periods throughout the week that are completely blocked out for me or key projects I am working on.

I have the support of my family and incredible colleagues that prioritise mental health and well-being. They’re wonderful at keeping me accountable.

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

Absolutely! Before the COVID Pandemic, the first thing I did when I woke up was check my emails and start my mental activity, sometimes responding to emails whilst I was still in bed.

This meant I was never really present – whether I was brushing my teeth or having breakfast, my head was already at work. It was a horrible habit as I was out of balance and in intense work mode right till I fell asleep at night. The time I had for myself was little and my mental health was a mess.

After my son was born in the midst of COVID, my priorities began to shift. It was the first time I truly understood the importance of health and time. How precious and fleeting both were. I wanted to set a healthy example, for him, for me and for the people around me.

In the last 12 months, I stopped looking at my phone before 9am. I dedicate that time to having my breakfast, reading and writing three intentions for my day. It has drastically set the tone for my entire day and I have found that I am much more focused, efficient and calm.

As part of this, I have also incorporated weekly reflections, where I sit down at the end of the week to assess myself from both a work and personal perspective and pinpoint what I did well and what I need to continue working on, whilst keeping myself accountable for the intentions I had set for each day of the week.

Another habit I am working on is reading more. I have so many unread books it’s embarrassing. In order to make this a habit, I have set a goal of reading a minimum of one chapter a day and so far, I’ve been overdelivering on my quota.

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

I just finished reading All That’s Left Unsaid by Tracey Lien, which is masterfully written to highlight the social discrimination and the effects of inherited trauma in Asian Australian Immigrant families.

This book perfectly encapsulates what my family and neighbouring immigrant households must have felt growing up in Southwest Sydney in the 90s. If you want a raw insight into the experiences of Asian immigrant families in Australia, this is a must read.

I am also currently reading Atomic Habits, which is packed with evidence-based self-improvement strategies, focused on making small changes to transform your habits. I have already started putting this into practice with reading as per my previous answer. This is definitely a book I know I will keep coming back to as it simplifies the strategies for a strong outcome.

My favourite podcast is Seize the Yay by funtrepreneur, Sarah Davidson. It’s filled with interviews of inspiring people and their journeys to finding their yay. No journey is ever linear, it’s filled with unexpected pivots that bring colour to one’s story and that is what Sarah so perfectly articulates through her podcast. I always come away happy and that extra bit wiser listening to the experiences each of her guest generously shares.

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

Shonda Rhimes – I am obsessed with what she has produced, created and built. For a person to have that much creative juice to build a production company with successful, and multiple, long form TV shows such as Grey’s Anatomy and Bridgerton, there has to be some sort of balance in the mix!

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

There will be times when you get so busy and overwhelmed with life that balance feels non-existent. You feel burnt out and unseen, whilst this all sits under the guise of a strong work ethic. I’ve been there.

The moment I began to prioritise happiness and health, I started to find it easier to say no, to ask for help, to open up honestly and to shift priorities to make space and time for me. To my surprise (which shouldn’t be a surprise), everyone around me from both a work and personal perspective supported, encouraged and celebrated this. Sometimes it just takes an honest conversation to create change.

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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.