Balancing the Grind with Merissa Lennon, Integrated Account Director at The 6AM Agency

Merissa Lennon is the Integrated Account Director at creative communications agency, The 6AM Agency, where she works across health, wellbeing and good living brands.

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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 been passionate about media and storytelling. I have been working in PR and communications for over 7 years, starting my career in a tactical PR agency and moving into integrated communications.

I am currently Account Lead at The 6AM Agency across a number of health, wellbeing and good living brands with a focus on earned, owned and paid communications.

My role sees me manage purpose-driven, audience-centric campaigns that enable real business change for clients.

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

Every day is different in communications which is why I love it so much.

An example of a workday this week saw me at the office early to develop an issues management strategy for a client, host the team meeting at 8:30am to set the agenda for the day, lead a creative brainstorm on a new campaign, host a WIP call with one our international clients and then engage with new team members for their inductions.

After a team lunch together, we received a briefing from a retail client on a purpose earned campaign, I checked in with the offsite team and dealt with any emails before logging off and heading to my weekly social basketball game.

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

We are currently working 2 days a week at the office and 3 days at home, which I really enjoy as a balance between team connection and the time to do deep thinking.

I enjoy the ability to get deep into collaboration, fruitful energetic discussions and creative challenges together in the office and then empower the team to go away and independently deliver.

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

I think work life balance means something different to everyone. I believe it is important to cultivate a culture of trust and respect where everyone’s talents and individuality can shine, in order for all of us to deliver great work and be happy.

It is important to find the things that help transition from work to home. For me that is reading, exercising, time with friends and family and any moments outside in nature which will do wonders for my mental health.

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

COVID-19 and lockdown has meant major changes to routines from a professional point of view, yet I also believe it has been an opportunity to pause and reset priorities for many personally.

The influx of change that occurred from March meant that on an agency level we had to be flexible and move with a rigorous pace – with increased pressures on ROI.

However personally, the slowing down of face-to-face social activities meant that it has become even more important to appreciate the little moments, and cherish time with friends and family.

It has also meant that putting health and wellbeing first should absolutely be our number one priority – so finding the balance and setting boundaries around your work/home life has been crucial.

Instilling walking meetings, meditation sessions on Zoom and taking time in the sun after a long meeting are activities that help establish a healthier work environment.

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

I absolutely love Malcolm Gladwell and his book Outliers has to be one of the most energising reads. It shows how tenacity, hard work and intuition or trusting your instincts can absolutely set you up for success.

I also love to tune into his podcast Revisionist History for the way in which it explores the misunderstood.

I am a big fan of Good To Great by Jim Collins because of the discussions about leadership, empowering a team and building a culture of ethics and entrepreneurship.

Fantasy books are a guilty pleasure and I can lose myself quickly in strong willed characters and epic adventures – the perfect way to switch off at the end of the day.

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

  • Slack is a brilliant tool for the team to communicate informally and inspire each other throughout the day, especially while working from home.
  • The timer tools in Harvest and Toggl are fantastic ways to effectively manage your time and give me full transparency at the end of the day.
  • On a more personal level, I also love 1SE, the app that helps you capture a moment of joy each day in the form of a single second video. It is incredibly fun to collate all the videos at the end of the year and see what you have achieved and enjoyed.

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

I am incredibly inspired by Nicole Sparshott, CEO of Unilever Australia on her tenacity and efforts to instil purpose into the heart of every brand she works with.

Nicole’s career is a testament to hard work, grace and giving back, as seen in her work with World Wildlife Fund and Global Sisters. I also aspire to her transition from marketing into exceptional business leadership.

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

In the turbulence of 2020, I am trying to practice radical acceptance as much as possible – meaning you acknowledge what is happening around you and then decide what to do from there.

I am finding it a really great tool for harnessing emotions and driving greater problem solving. It has also been incredibly helpful in finding a way to balance the pressures of this year with a resilience and enthusiasm for what is to come.

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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.