Louise Hyland is the CEO of the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA), the peak national body representing Australia’s mobile telecommunications industry.
Let’s start with your background! Can you share with us your career journey and what you’re currently up to?
I started my career as a lawyer in private practice in both Australia and the UK. While I enjoyed my time in the legal field, I discovered a passion for roles that involved consulting and advisory work on transformative projects.
From helping establish the commercial regulatory framework for the UK’s first wireless broadband business to holding the position of General Manager, Commercial Implementation at NBN Co here in NSW during its early start up days, I found myself drawn to projects that, at the time, pushed boundaries and drove innovation.
Now, as CEO of AMTA, I’m proud to lead the peak industry body representing the mobile telecommunications industry in Australia. I have always had an interest in politics, but it wasn’t until I joined AMTA that I was able to combine my experience of telecommunications and law with my interest in politics and government. For me, it’s a great opportunity to leverage all my skills and experience, and every day is different.
We’d love to know what a typical day is like for you. Could you describe a recent workday?
The life of a CEO is a busy one, but my day always starts with a cup of tea and reading the news – a quiet moment to gather my thoughts before the busy-ness of the day begins. I like to do that early before the rest of my family are up. When I have the luxury of working from home, I’ll try to walk the dogs nice and early, too.
At work, a recent day included a meeting with a politician and some consultants to receive a briefing on the latest technology developments, then back to the office for a committee meeting with some of our members discussing a policy initiative for industry, as well as an internal meeting with the team to consider an expansion of our industry product recycling program, MobileMuster.
No day is ever the same, and I love that.
Can you define work-life balance for yourself and share with us your approach in maintaining it?
I think the key for me is enjoying my work, first and foremost, but it’s also important to get a break on weekends to recharge and do things which energise me. If you don’t enjoy what you do, the week can definitely drag on. Fortunately, my week is quite varied – I like the diversity of the role – so it flies by, however at the same time it’s very busy so I ensure I switch off when I can at the end of the week.
Relaxing on the weekend is a combination of family time – cheering on the family at weekend sports, watching a movie on a Friday night (if we can all agree on one!), exercise (pilates and a swim at the beach) and cooking. And the obligatory phone calls with my sisters interstate to catch up on the family jungle drums and enjoy a few good laughs.
Change is constant, and it’s essential for growth. Have you made any lifestyle changes in the past year to improve your work-life balance?
Absolutely. Following COVID-19 and all the lockdowns, I realised how much I enjoy going for walks – which sounds like such a simple pleasure but has made all the difference to my routine. I take more walks on weekday mornings, and on a typical Sunday morning, my husband and I go for a long walk with our dogs, Gus and Charlie. For us, it’s a great chance to catch up and enjoy the outdoors without being on a schedule.
Last summer, I also joined a swimming club and now enjoy going swimming a few times a week – so far, my enthusiasm has not extended into the winter months, but I’m trying to lean into that discomfort – so watch this space!
We’re always on the lookout for new resources! Can you recommend any books, podcasts, or newsletters that have helped you in your journey towards balance?
For me, anything that makes me laugh helps me to switch off and relax. I love listening to comedians like Michael McIntyre or Trevor Noah. I don’t tend to go in search of resources like a podcast on work/life balance, though – to me, it’s quite simple. It’s usually just a matter of allocating time to what’s important in your life and that looks totally different for everyone. Having said that, I don’t always execute on the theory – on more than one occasion I have had to put school shirts in the wash at 6 am! That’s life I guess and we can’t be too hard on ourselves. We’re only human!
Before we wrap up, do you have any final words of wisdom or insights on work, life, or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
Find a job or a career that genuinely interests you, work with people you respect, and don’t be afraid to fail. That’s how we learn.
My father always said to me that you spend more time at work than with your family, so you need to find a career that challenges you and which you enjoy, and be surrounded by people that for the most part, you actually like.
I also know, though, that I am lucky to have a supportive family – and they keep me grounded. I love spending time with my family and that not only helps me relax – it has also given me the confidence to try different things and follow different personal and career paths when it’s time.
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