Lucille McCart is the APAC Communications Director at Bumble, where she leads the team responsible for the communications and PR strategy across the Asia Pacific.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I am the APAC Communications Director for Bumble, the app that started a movement by putting women in charge when dating. This means that I lead the team that is responsible for our communications and PR strategy across the Asia Pacific, with a particular focus on Australia, New Zealand, India, Singapore and the Philippines.
I came to be in this role in a sort of unconventional way. I spent nearly 10 years working in PR agencies in Sydney with clients ranging from Mumm Champagne to Priceline Pharmacy to Westpac.
I was fortunate enough to work across a diverse range of businesses throughout my time in agencies, which gave me a wide breadth of experience – but I had been especially focused on brands with an audience of women.
In 2017, while I was still working in a PR agency I was assigned to the client team for Bumble, which at the time was still quite unheard of and about to launch its women-first dating product in Australia.
I worked closely with the local team for two years before accepting an in-house role in 2019, and nearly four years later I’ve had the privilege of watching Bumble grow from a start-up challenger brand into a publicly listed company with a global presence, which has encouraged countless women to throw out the rule book and make the first move.
2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
Honestly, no day is the same, which I am sure you hear all the time! I am talking to you now from the lobby of a hotel in Auckland, as I am here for a press event we have tomorrow, and in a few weeks, I will head to Manila in the Philippines for a similar trip.
I am very lucky that my job allows me to travel across Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia to spend time with my team, host events and meet with journalists and other partners. Last week I attended a meeting with the Australian eSafety Commissioner in Sydney about the nature of online dating and how to keep safety by design top of mind when creating tech products.
The next day I spoke on a panel at Monash University in Melbourne with my good friend and Bumble’s resident sexologist, Chantelle Otten, about sex and technology. My job is wide-ranging and diverse and that is why I love it.
3) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
To be honest I often fail at work-life balance. It is something that you need to constantly work at and commit to. I think when you love your job that can also be a trap because I like working, I like what I do and I like the people that I work with.
But you’re a better person, manager and colleague when you are rested, so I am trying to get better at taking breaks. I recently took 10 days off work and didn’t look at my Slack or email the entire time and it felt amazing. I couldn’t remember the last time that I had done that – so if that is you, it means it is time for a holiday!
4) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
My job is unique in the sense that I work closely with Bumble team members across the world – in the US, the UK and Asia, and of course Australia, so I could be online 24 hours a day if I chose to.
One thing I have been trying to practice recently is trying to be kinder to myself about my work schedule. I think anyone with an agency background has a huge focus on productivity – I spent the first 10 years of my work life filling out timesheets and thinking about each hour of my time as a head hour cost.
Agencies have a “time is money” attitude because this is their business model. This mindset has been beneficial in a lot of ways as it taught me the value of my time and not to waste it on small things, but it also can lead to feelings of guilt around not being “productive enough”.
I will have some days where I have to work long hours, but I will have some days where I don’t. I’m trying to get better at giving myself a break on the slower days and not stressing about the more full days.
I’m also strict about not working on weekends – that is the time where I prioritise myself and my friends and family. It’s made me much happier and I enjoy my work more when I am not stressing about whether I have filled the day adequately.
5) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
This isn’t work related but like many women, I am a big fan of true crime – I don’t know what that psychological phenomenon is about, but I love it regardless.
I will immediately watch any true crime documentary on Netflix and my friend Chloe got me onto the My Favourite Murder podcast which is a great mix of true crime and comedy, so I have been working my way through about 600 episodes of that.
I also love the You’re Wrong About podcast – I love news and history so it is so interesting to me. I find that I enjoy podcasts the best when I listen to them while I am doing something, so I always have one playing while I am cooking or cleaning the house.
I think it is so important to try and switch off at the end of a work day, so listening to a podcast while I make dinner forces me to keep my laptop closed and switch my brain into a different mode.
From a more professional perspective, I have just started reading the book Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez which examines gender bias in data and research. I am only a few chapters in but it is fascinating.
6) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
Beyonce, of course. Aside from being an amazing artist and performer, she is famous for her work ethic and attention to detail. I find everything she does so impressive, from both a creative and a business perspective.
We often think about creativity and business acumen as being exclusive skills – one is art and one is science – so people who have such success in both are so cool to watch and prove that it is not true. You can be an artist and a scientist – or in her case the GOAT of the music industry and a powerful businesswoman.
7) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
You don’t need to “have it all”. Sometimes it is impossible to balance your work life, your personal life and your romantic life, while also having time for self-care, eating well, fitting in a gym class, keeping up to date on social media, staying up to date on current events, and all the things that we are expected to be doing, women especially.
Sometimes you will drop the ball on something, often multiple things, and that is okay. So try and think about what you can afford to drop otherwise life will make the decision for you.
If you didn’t make it to the gym this week or you had more takeaway than home-cooked meals (this is me if you couldn’t tell) don’t stress about it. Go easy on yourself and know that it is all a cycle and you can start fresh the next week.
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