Interviews / Operations

Balancing the Grind with Melissa May Curtis, Chief Operations Officer at Pets on Q

Melissa May Curtis is the Chief Operations Officer at Pets on Q, a socially responsible animal media and booking company.

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

Currently I am COO of Pets on Q, an animal influencer management company and media licensing and booking platform.

I was never interested in business when I was in school, I spent all my time doing plays and writing poetry. I have always been a creative dreamer and fell into the world of business by accident due to circumstance. 

Unlike most creatives, I am actually rather organized and good at teaching others, so I stepped into the business world over 20 years ago as a “day job” to help make ends meet. That ended up turning into a career in finance that would last for decades, and eventually bring me to Pets on Q when I met Colleen at the office one day.

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

My day usually begins rather early in the morning with my children. I have two daughters, both of whom are in school (one is in elementary school and one is in college) and due to Covid, both of them are home with my husband and I, along with our pets.

Once the family is up and running and everyone has been fed, the dog always needs walking and the lizard needs tending to, then I can finally start work. I usually dive into my emails around 8:30 am and have a few conference calls with the team to touch base and see what is in store for the day. 

I spend a lot of my time reading contracts and reviewing agreements, wrangling influencers and their content and keeping everyone on track for whatever deadlines we have in front of us. 

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

Absolutely! I have worked remotely from home since well before COVID happened, and it is wonderful! It can be difficult to disconnect when you work from home, so establishing concrete working hours and boundaries is key.

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

Work-life balance, to me, means being organized so I don’t get spread too thin on anything. Using a calendar is key and I have several shared calendars in my life – separate ones for work, home, just for kid stuff, etc.

Working full time at home, plus remote learning with both of my kids at home, plus just regular life stuff that comes with being a wife and mother can be a lot to deal with.

A schedule is so important to me; I start my day at the same time each morning, and have everyone on a routine. I determined a few rules for myself to ensure that I am able to follow my routine on a daily basis:

  • I take breaks throughout the day to make sure I don’t get burned out.
  • I stop and disconnect at times.
  • I make sure I am standing up and moving my body throughout the day.
  • I end my workday by 5pm, and I don’t work in the evenings or over the weekends. 

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

In the past year I started a new workout routine and new methods to decompress from the unexpected stresses of everyday life. I bought a Nordic Trac stationary bike and it is literally my favorite purchase ever.

I love that I can take a quick ride on my lunch break, or do a hardcore workout in the early morning hours, all from the comfort of my home. It has been key in keeping me sane.

Also, I am a big believer in meditation and prayer and spend time each day being thankful to my Creator and going within to find my calm, even if it is only for 30 seconds.

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

The Catcher in the Rye is one of my favorite books from my youth that I still read at least once a year.  It reminds me of all the angsty feelings I had growing up, and keeps me humble. Think and Grow Rich is also great and super simple for easy visualization and positive manifesting. 

I am a huge movie buff, so I always listen to The Launchpad Podcast and as a lover of creepy things, LORE is always a favorite! I am also a podcaster myself and have a parenting podcast with a friend called After The Kids Are In Bed that I am, of course, partial to and proud of.

I don’t really have any newsletters I peruse, but I have subscribed to National Geographic for over a decade and find it to be a fascinating publication that covers broad topics and I highly recommend it.

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

As I mentioned, my Nordic Track is an item that has become a part of my routine and I just can’t live without it. I also can’t live without Google Calendar; I live and die by my calendar, it keeps my schedule straight in all aspects of my life.

Otherwise, I am a big believer in being “unplugged” whenever possible. My family has  “No Screen Sunday” at our home every weekend where there are no phones, tablets, laptops, TVs, and we spend time reading, writing or painting, either together or individually. This one day is my favorite day of the week and I definitely cannot live without it. 

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

For living people definitely Elon Musk and Oprah Winfrey. For those that have passed Eliza Schuyler Hamilton.

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

I think organization is key in most things. Make time for yourself – put it on your calendar!  Even if it’s a 30 minute walk, schedule it and make sure you set time aside for yourself.

You cannot draw from an empty well, especially when so much of our lives these days are go, go, go! Put yourself first so that you are always at your best and you won’t go wrong!

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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.