Liz Fox is the General Manager at Circle In, an employee benefit platform supporting working parents and caregivers.
To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I’ve oscillated between corporate and start-ups and absolutely loved both worlds. I started my career at The Economist in circulation, overlooking St James Park in London and spent 5 years there before moving to an ad-tech start-up overlooking a pub in Soho.
The start-up move ended in two acquisitions in fast succession (the second being Singtel) and ultimately a senior ops role across Europe. After 12 years in London I moved back home to Melbourne with a role at Google in the ads division. Nearly two years ago I dived back into start-up land where I’m now GM at Circle In, an employee benefit platform supporting working parents and caregivers.
What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
This morning started with an espresso and 7am Pilates class. On the way home my phone started firing with news our $2m capital raise was being covered in the media, and gave our co-founder Jodi a ring to plan the day.
Hurried home to get ready, cuddled my kids before jumping online by 8:30am to coordinate with our social media team. Lunch time before I knew it I hadn’t moved from my desk (had I?!) so I made sure I walked to get lunch while returning calls and walking 1:1.
Afternoon onboarding time with two new team members, finance planning, replying to Slack messages, emails, three external meetings and setting up my diary for next week as I don’t work Fridays.
Laptop down at 5:45pm, walked around the block to clear my head, called my dad to debrief on the latest episode of Succession. Had dinner while hanging out with my boys, getting our family footy tips which involves great debate and deliberation.
My husband and I rotate bedtime so tonight was my “off night”, cleaning the kitchen while talking school holiday logistics and life with Kira, our nanny. Jumped back online to clear some emails and checked press coverage on LinkedIn. Time chatting with my husband. Bedtime at 9:15pm, reading (Dracula, borrowed from the local library!) lights out by 10pm.
Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
Yes, flex is a priority for us at Circle In. I work four days, two from the office and two from home. I also try to stick to doing school pickups on Wednesdays and taking my boys for a chocolate milkshake. It means a longer work day in the end but worth it.
What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
After my second child I had total clarity and confidence. A career was important to me. Our nanny Kira moved in during covid and never moved out! And that relationship means we can run on a fluid routine that allows my husband and I to work intensely for a big chunk of the week and also carve out time for family and fitness. Kira is a core part of our setup, I’ve been known to send her clips from the Mariah song “I can’t live if living is without you”.
I couldn’t see myself returning to full time work, 4 days with work from home flex is the absolute sweet spot even though I’m probably working harder than I ever have.
In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
My husband gave me The Courage to Be Disliked which has had a big impact on me. I am practising losing the need for recognition, letting that go is freeing. There is a lot in that book that resonated with me deeply and I have given a copy to numerous friends. I’ve also stopped drinking alcohol at home (alcohol-free beer is amazing!) which has made me feel more switched on and rested. Yoga is also a big part of my life, 15 years practising and I would feel lost without it.
Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
See above! I also love Naval Ravikant, there is an episode on The Knowledge Project I’ve listened to multiple times. I start most mornings reading the ABC News and New York Times headlines. I removed myself from social apps which feels amazing (apart from LinkedIn which is a work necessity). To switch off at night I read fiction books and recently devoured Maggie O’Farrell’s The Marriage Portrait.
Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
Circle In of course for expert parenting advice, I have three boys and we have Maggie Dent as an expert on our platform, she is the queen of all things raising happy boys. I love Spotify and look forward to my Monday Discover weekly playlist.
We have a Google Home which constantly plays music throughout the house unless my kids are speaking to it checking footy scores or the animal of the day. I have the app Calm for mediation though I wish I used it more. I have great friends in London. I miss it a lot so I’m an avid voice noter! Either love it or hate it.
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