Finance / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Magdalena Kosior-Molloy, CFO of Holman Webb Lawyers

Magdalena Kosior-Molloy is the CFO of Holman Webb Lawyers, commercial and insurance law firm with offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide.

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

I moved to Australia as a young professional from Poland.

Today, I have over 15 years financial management experience and expertise, gained predominately from senior management roles within a consultancy environment, professional services and corporate business.

As a COO/CFO Holman Webb Lawyers (HW), a national legal firm, I am responsible for maintaining the control of diverse business operations. My role is critical in building on the success the firm has had to date and taking the Shared Services group (Finance, IT, BD, HR and Admin) to the next level on their journey.

As part of the Sage Finance Futurist program, I am focused on giving back to help other female professionals gain visibility and rise through the ranks themselves. 

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

I wake up around 6am and go for a walk or have a PT session. I can’t start without my morning coffee and reading an online paper. I then check my emails and plan my day.

The next job is to get my daughter ready for daycare for an 8.15am drop off. I start work around 8.30am with an Executive team stand up, followed by multiple meetings. We normally have a family dinner around 6pm. 

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

We have been working remotely since March 2020. The firm is very supportive and flexible working arrangements are part of our culture.

Currently, on average, I work from home 2-3 days per week which suits me well as I have a 4-year-old daughter and in the past juggling the drop off and pick up was challenging.

As a result of the flexible working arrangement, I am less stressed and have more time in the morning and in the afternoon to spend with my family.

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

Work life balance to me means finding the best balance between work demands, personal life and my interests, which can be difficult while working full-time and being a mum.

It is important to have time with my husband and daughter. Carving out some “me” time is also just as necessary and allows me to reconnect with myself. 

Having a successful professional career is also just as significant for me. I’m focused on growing my network by joining professional groups, cooperating with partners and entering awards.

Hence I was recently included in Sage’s inaugural list of Finance Futurists, which highlights finance pioneers across the globe. ’Putting yourself out there’, professionally, is a time investment and can feel daunting but it’s absolutely worth it in the long-term. 

Balancing all the above can be challenging at times but pausing, reviewing my priorities and changing the approach is part of my work-life balance method.

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

In the last 12 months my workload has increased so to improve my work life balance and my wellbeing I started a new morning routine which includes a walk or PT session as well as daily meditation.

Recently I also started to practice self-care by being healthier, keeping track of my accomplishments, expressing gratitude and basically having a digital detox every now and then. I have found that in making self-care a priority, I feel more energised and ready to take life head on.

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

My favourite podcast series is Unstoppable Woman by Glin Bayley. The podcast delves into all things to do self-leadership, from cultivating an unstoppable mindset, developing emotional intelligence, being your authentic self, understanding who you are and how you find your own voice to claim your seat at the table.

One of my favourite books is Dare to Lead by Brene Brown. It’s an inspiring read about being different with a meaning and leading with a purpose. 

Some other talks and conversations I really enjoyed include: 

  • Brené Brown – The power of vulnerability
  • Mel Robbins – When I feel overwhelmed
  • Simon Sinek – Empathy

Thanks to all these different mediums, I have really taken on the lessons and learnings that have enabled me to be agile and forward-thinking in my career. 

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

My top three apps that I cannot live without are:

  1. Insight timer app – a relaxing meditation app 
  2. Xplor home app – to keep track of what my 4-year-old daughter gets up to at daycare
  3. WhatsApp – to help me keep in touch with my family overseas

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

I would like to find out how other executive women who are mothers with young children also approach work-life balance. I am sure I would get great insight and tips that I could take on and action in my life.

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

It’s important to celebrate your accomplishments. It does not matter how big or small they are. Be a leader who is authentic, has empathy, is not afraid to fail and empower people to achieve their full potential.

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.