CEOs / Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Pia Lee, Co-Founder & CEO of Squadify

Pia Lee is the Co-Founder & CEO of Squadify, a software platform for any team, anywhere and anyone who supports them.

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

I’ve spent many years supporting humans to reach their potential throughout the touchpoints of their life cycle. My first career was in teaching high school children in the UK, where I ended up in a multinational boarding school.

I wanted to see how these kids developed after leaving school so I emigrated to Australia, where I joined a Leadership Development consultancy and became its CEO, leading the business through global expansion for over a decade.

During this time we uncovered the key criteria and behaviours which created highly successful teams and developed a platform experience for teams to assess, track and develop, in order to thrive.

Squadify was born in 2021 and since then my co-founder Dan Hammond and I have been leading a growing business and supporting thousands of teams across the globe to flourish, whatever the circumstances.

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

We are a ‘work from anywhere’ team situated across the globe from the UK to Columbia, the Philippines and Australia. Squadify never sleeps – it’s a follow the sun model and allows us to attract the best talent from anywhere.

It means that I have to be organised and to carefully manage a sustainable work load. The day starts early to check emails from overnight and then is filled with Squadify client meetings, product development and sales calls.

The afternoon becomes pretty full of our team calls as the UK comes on line then and this can stretch sometimes late into the evening. I balance this with timeout in the day to get some fresh air or pick my children up from school. It’s about productivity not clock watching.

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

In December we made a family decision to leave the city life of Sydney and buy a small property in the countryside of Northern Rivers. That’s been a huge transition to a semi-sustainable life and lots of new learnings.

We all contribute to the land and family tasks and have now acquired two alpacas and four ducks with horses soon to follow. Seeing nature every day as it passes through seasons and through differing weather patterns has been very grounding for us – sometimes overwhelming as in the recent floods.

But nevertheless, it has given us all a family goal and the need for reliance and teamwork within us, to make it all work. The internet is really great and that enables the connectivity to run a global business and herd the ducks up to bed in the evening!

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

I took exercise seriously just before I turned 50 and have been regularly exercising since then. As we have had substantial renovations since we moved, I have noticed how that has sometimes thrown my motivation off balance. It’s been hard to sometimes even find my exercise bike in all the chaos and there isn’t a gym around for over 20kms ! So it’s been a good test of my personal motivation.

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

My co-founder and I are now into Season 3 of our own podcast ‘We not Me’ and as I need to review every episode before it airs – that can be a regular companion at my gym. I also listen to Pivot, a sharp, witty and insightful discussion between Kara Swisher and Scott Galloway on US tech, business and politics. I’m reading James Clear’s Atomic Habits to optimise myself in times of disorientation. Humankind by Rutger Bregman remains one of my all time favourites.

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

The 80’s and 90’s conditioned many of us to believe that 18 hour days and 5 hour sleep was a sign of human high performance. It was often revered and worn as a badge of honour. Then Jeff Sutherland amongst others challenged the notion of how to work more effectively through the agile methodology.

What makes it relevant to work-life balance is that it’s how you see the work and how you see the balance – and we are all different in our approach. Less time and more output is appealing as you challenge the traditional rhetoric of ‘just work harder’!

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

I’ve had nearly 6 decades of life and discovered it whizzes by in a heartbeat. Being grateful every day for the people and experiences that you have is very grounding. We have a little routine of each member of the family talking about their best part of the day.

Ensuring your purpose is aligned to the work that you do is also key. Our time here on the planet is short and full of opportunity, so finding your sweet spot is really important. Finally enjoy time in nature – it’s a great leveller and rejuvenator and you might even find an alpaca or two!

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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.