Interviews / PR & Communications

Balancing the Grind with Maya Ivanovic, Account Manager at Palin Communications

Maya Ivanovic is an Account Manager at health PR agency Palin Communications, where she is working with a range of clients in the pharmaceutical, consumer health, natural therapies, not-for-profit and medical innovation sectors.

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

After a few short months studying journalism, I realised it wasn’t for me. Instead, I uncovered a passion for PR through my classes and a number of internships, including one at the Museum of Human Disease (which was just as cool as it sounds!).

After graduating, I landed a role at leading health PR agency – Palin Communications – working with a range of clients in the pharmaceutical, consumer health, natural therapies, not-for-profit and medical innovation sectors.

I’ve been at Palin for almost 5 years which is wild – time flies! I’m currently an Account Manager and so my day-to-day is about driving creative communications strategies for our clients.

I lead teams to support on product launches, awareness and advocacy campaigns, medicine registrations and reimbursements, and other health-focused projects.

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

I don’t think I have a typical ‘day in the life’ – which I absolutely love, but it can be tricky to find your ‘groove’ sometimes. This is especially true as working life has changed significantly in response to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

I usually kick off my day by reading and doing some brain training. Then it’s full steam ahead with whatever is on for the day. This could be:

  • Getting creative in a brainstorm for a prospective client
  • Working with my team to pitch an exciting health story
  • Attending a shoot, pitch, event or conference
  • Announcing the registration or reimbursement of a lifesaving medicine
  • Doing a fun team activity – we went axe-throwing recently!
  • Meeting with my fellow Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA) NSW Young Guns – a committee focused on professional development opportunities for PRs in the early stages of their career.

Things change so quickly in PR, it keeps things interesting and on your toes.

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

Absolutely – and this made the transition to working from home full time (in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis) much easier.

That said, it’s been an interesting shift. I used to work remotely once or twice a month to go to an appointment or just have a day out of the office.

So, where I’ve typically used remote working as a tool to break my usual routine – it is now the foundation of a new routine!

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

My view of work-life balance isn’t about constant ‘equilibrium,’ as I see this as something that is transient and relative. It’s about understanding the best ‘balance’ for me at different times and adapting to that, as this is constantly changing in light of on what’s going on for me, my personal life and at work.

As we continue with social distancing however, I’ve noticed this needs to be far more intentional as being at work and being at home is not as discernible. I’m very fortunate to work for an agency that was founded on the principle of respecting work-life balance and prioritises employee wellbeing.

But I do have my non-negotiables when it comes to how I like to keep myself busy outside of work – read, hit the gym, spend quality time with loved ones and volunteering with PRIA. This year I’ve also cranked up my hiking, cooking and joined a basketball team with my colleagues.

5) What do you think are some of the best habits or routines that you’ve developed over the years to help you achieve success in your life?

  • Prioritising health and wellbeing. I know I perform better when I take care of myself mentally and physically.
  • Being aware of the impact you have on others. Trying to inspire others, celebrate their successes, encourage the best from them, help them to grow and understand how you also can learn from them.
  • Embracing failure and difficulties. It is very easy to celebrate ‘wins’ however, the challenges are often the very things that guide the course to success. I’ve coached myself to actively seek out constructive feedback – not shy away from it.
  • Never really settling for success at all. Once I’ve have achieved a great success, I tend to recalibrate my benchmarks to reach even higher.

6) Are there any books that have helped you improve over the years?

I’m a big reader (I read 45 books last year!), so this is a tough question for me. There have been so many, but fundamentally it really is just about reading, full stop.

Fiction, non-fiction, poetry, whatever – read and keep on reading.

It will improve your writing, broaden your perspective and expose you to new ideas. Ultimately, this will translate into the different facets of your life for the better.

7) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?

I‘m a chronic list maker. It helps me prioritise and there’s nothing better than seeing progress as you tick things off.

I’ve also recently been following Maria Forleo’s advice to “create before you consume.” I’ve been trying to do this daily in different ways before I crack open my email inbox or fall down the rabbit hole of news, messages and social media.

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

Zoe Foster Blake. What a legend – teach me your ways!

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

I think we all need to try and keep ourselves at the heart of these issues. While we should certainly inspire each other and share our experiences (it’s why I love Balance the Grind), we’re all different – and so are our approaches to work-life balance.

Don’t compare yourself to what you think you ‘should be.’ Understand what really works for you and what makes you happy!

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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.