Lucia Ongay is a journalist and the co-founder of The Gerety Awards, providing a global platform for talent and support initiatives that champion diversity in the creative industries.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I studied journalism back home in Argentina and wanted to become a war correspondent.
Just by chance, I ended up working for many years in different award shows and events in the advertising industry here in Paris, where I have been living now for almost 20 years.
For some years now there has been the discussion of how little women there are both in the juries that choose the best campaigns in awards and also in the creative teams that do them. There are women, a lot of talented women that do great things, but they were just not being seen and spotlighted as they deserve.
Though this has started to change, I realized there was a lot of talk but less action. That`s when we decided to create the Gerety Awards, a creative award show with a 100% female jury. Not only to show there are women but also that they do great things and to show the best of advertising chosen from a female lens.
I am the Co-founder of the Award, together with my partner Joe Brooks, and we are about to start the judging of our second edition.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
I always start my day drinking mate, a typical beverage from Argentina and other South American countries, that is kind of green tea.
I go through my emails and newsletters, I like to be informed on everything that is going on in the world in general and in the creative industries world as well.
I usually have some calls. Depending on which part of the world I’m calling they can be scheduled early in the day or in the evening. We discuss new ideas with Joe and go through our to do’s to make sure we don´t forget anything important that needs to be taken care of.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
Yes, it totally does. Of course, it is great to meet in person and discuss things with Joe but we are used to remote working even before the pandemic.
I always go back home to Argentina for Xmas holidays and there’s always work to be done, even on holidays! So we are used to remote working together even with a whole ocean between us!
I have tried to adapt my home as much as I can to remote working, I live in a small studio in Paris so its not as I have a lot of space to divide “working life” from “rest of life”. We are kind of always working so it`s important for us that we can take care of business from wherever we are.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
As I mentioned before, Gerety Awards is our own project that it is only on its second edition, even if it already feels like much longer!
So, as my own project that I very much believe in, it is normal that I would dedicate all the necessary hours and effort for it to work. So, it is kind of integrated into my life as a whole, and I am very happy to be working on it so it does not feel that much as I have to make a difference between life and work.
Gerety is my life and my work and, of course, I also have time for friends, family, sports, cinema, music and all the things I enjoy very much doing.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
I started working out at home when the gym and swimming pool were closed because of COVID-19. I probably wouldn’t have done that if the lock down hadn’t taken place. As I said before, my place is very small so I missed working out outside.
I did also have video calls with my friends in Argentina, they are still on lock down there and it has been going on for a very long time. Even if we have a WhatsApp group that helps us keep in touch and updated with our lives, we hadn’t done group video calls and we did start this year.
As for habits to change, my life, I did confirm I am doing what I want to do, happy with my life and in the place I want to be. So no radical decisions for me post COVID-19. I guess that is very good news!
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
I enjoy very much the podcasts This Way Up from Rebecca Rowntree, who was in our jury last year and All Good Copy by Glenn Fisher, who interviewed me back in March this year, I enjoyed very much our talk.
As for newsletters, I like The Shift by Nicci Talbot.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
All social media and communication apps are really handy to keep in touch with my loved ones around the globe. Whether it is by checking out their posts and pictures or speaking, chatting and video chatting with them. All these technologies are very handy to be close to all the people you care about. I don’t think I would be able to do without those.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
I guess one of my best friends, Constanza Cilley, who is the executive director of Voices Consultancy, she has always managed to do so many things at a time, and everything so professionally, that I would for sure interview her about her work-life balance.
I guess she learned that from her mum, Marita Carballo, who is the president of Voices Consultancy, and she always amazed me the same way as her daughter. I very much admire people that are good at doing many things at the same time and doing everything good.
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