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Balancing the Grind with Maddy Cunich, Head of Content & Partnerships at MediaCom Australia

Maddy Cunich is the Head of Content & Partnerships at MediaCom Australia, a global media agency with 125 offices across 100 countries.

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

I have always worked in marketing and communications, starting off working ‘client-side’ within a marketing team, before jumping over into creative agencies and over the last 5 years, I’ve worked in an agency called MediaCom.

I was recently promoted to the Head of Content & Partnerships in the Creative Systems team and our purpose is to help clients ‘See the Bigger Picture’ by bringing together media and creative to drive brand relevance and accelerative growth.

When I think back over the last 10 years, I’m extremely grateful for the experiences that I’ve been afforded throughout my career and how it’s shaped me as a person. Highlights in my current role include attending the South by Southwest conference in Texas, hanging out of a helicopter to shoot content for a TV show and going behind the scenes with a Formula 1 team in the pitlane.

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

Many of the impacts of the pandemic have been devastating across the globe and have made me appreciate the things in life that I do have. I am very fortunate that it has afforded me the opportunity to work remotely more often which has allowed me to lead a more balanced lifestyle between home and work.

During our first lockdown, my partner and I were spending all of our time within the same room with no direct sunlight. In a mission to seek a larger and warmer living space, we now reside on an island on the Northern Beaches and our work days will often now include a bush walk or swim.

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

I’ve experienced burnout a handful of times in my career. Over time, it has helped me appreciate the benefits of working for a company that cultivates an environment that supports the mental wellbeing of their people and flexible working is an important part of this.

MediaCom has a “People First, Better Results” mantra and supports a hybrid model of working in the office and at home.

Generally speaking, I work more productively at home with less distractions, so I will usually work from home three days a week. However, we still have the flexibility to go into the office as much as we like within our capacity limits and current restrictions.

In our team, we find face-to-face meetings really important for relationship building and we do see better outcomes from creative brainstorms and presentations when they are in person (and there is less opportunity for multi-tasking behind a camera!).

Overall, it’s important to consider that people work productively under different circumstances or different hours of the day, so I believe a tailored approach for each individual can create better outcomes.

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

Each day I aim to reach a sense of fulfilment at the end of the day, rather than feeling exhausted from trying to tackle too much at work.

To achieve this, I set an intention at the start of each day to invest time into both my mental wellbeing as well as work responsibilities. Separate from my digital to-do list which is strictly for work tasks, I keep a hand-written check list that focuses on personal development.

If I get to the end of the day and have connected with loved ones, exercised to feel energised, practised mindfulness to feel present, and learnt something new to gain a new perspective, I can sleep well that night.

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

Taking scheduled breaks to recharge. A break isn’t a pause or procrastination; it’s an opportunity to recharge to maximise your total output that day.

The perception of a good worker for many of us is someone who hustles 24/7; however, we aren’t built like machines to work around the clock. Biological rhythms suggest we reach optimal performance when we take a break after 90 minutes of activity.

When we don’t adhere to this, we actually become less productive. In my breaks during a workday, I try to cross something off my personal development check-list and in the circumstances where work is unavoidable after 90 mins, I try to take a meeting on my phone while going for a walk.

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

I do dabble in all of these, but video content is my vice. At the moment I’m watching Genius, a TV-series exploring life stories of some history’s greatest minds including Albert Einstein, Pablo Picasso and Aretha Franklin. If you are looking to be inspired by stories of resilience, this one’s for you.

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

I’m definitely using weather apps like BOM more now that going on a boat is part of my commute. Learning how to be a captain of my dinghy was initially quite terrifying, especially when you are surrounded by experienced sea people on the island.

But in instances like these, I often try to recall advice from Brene Brown; when we open ourselves up to be vulnerable, we also open ourselves to new experiences that bring more meaning to our lives.

Even though I’m still a bit of a battler in my dinghy, I love that being surrounded by the ocean is part of my daily ritual, particularly on those days where the to-do list is looking a little overwhelming.

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

The editor of this publication, Hao Nguyen. Hao; I think your readers would love to hear your own story and your opinion on the best pieces of advice you’ve received from your interviews.

Editor’s note: Maybe one day haha!

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

For all of the “yes” people out there, I’d encourage you to say no more often, set clear boundaries and put yourself first.

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About Author

Balance the Grind is a work-life balance publication on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.