Rachael Greaves is the co-founder & CEO of Castlepoint Systems, an information and records management solution for the enterprise.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I am the co-founder and CEO of Castlepoint Systems, which is a GRC solution that reads, registers, and automatically classifies all the data in a whole network based on risk, value, and regulatory requirements.
I started my career in IT in 2006, and established a consulting company with my partner in 2012. I’m a certified security manager, auditor, and records manager, and certified in privacy, project management, and change management.
I designed the Castlepoint solution after many years of auditing some fairly catastrophic failures of information governance and security in the largest government departments, where I realised that these projects were mostly failing because they never could have succeeded.
There was no technology that allowed agencies to meet their requirements to understand and manage all of their data, in every format and system, securely and compliantly.
2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
I’m usually up between 5 and 6, I go to the gym, and then the farm to feed horses. I come back around 730 and get ready for work, and get the kids up and ready for school, then I take my son with me to the office.
We walk from the office to his school, and then I walk back and start the day around 845. We try to schedule things so I only have 3-4 hours of meetings a day, more or less successfully, and I try to keep one day a week meeting-free.
I pick up one or more kids in the late afternoon and head home, where it’s dinner, baths, and bed (plus playtime and homework). The second part of the workday starts around 9PM, to get the work done that didn’t fit neatly between meetings during the day.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
Yes, we set up the company with a flexible and remote working policy. Any of our staff can work from anywhere (depending on security requirements), and at any time of the day or night that suits them.
We do have an office, and a lot of people prefer to come in (me included), but others rarely attend and work almost full-time from home. We have people all over the country, and overseas, and everyone knows how to be available to their colleagues as needed while still being able to structure their days around school pickup, going to the gym, or even going to the movies.
We monitor hours worked to make sure everyone stays very close to a maximum of 38 each week, because it’s easy to work too much when there are less clear boundaries around work time versus personal time.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
Flexibility is key here. We have made it a core part of our company values, and to us it means that we aren’t always working, and we aren’t all working on the same schedule. But when we are working, we are working hard.
We have a sense of urgency, high standards, and effective communication. If we don’t feel productive one morning, we clock off and do something else. Balancing not just your activities, but your moods and energy levels through the day, week, or month, is really important for quality of life.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
I started committing to going to the gym, which I had only done sporadically before. What I noticed after I started doing it regularly was that on days I didn’t exercise, I felt anxious. Getting my heart rate up, even just for 20 minutes, makes a big difference to my outlook and energy.
I usually use the time on the machines to watch half an episode of something too, which makes me feel like I’ve had some ‘me time’, and that I’m not totally disconnected from popular culture!
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
Cautionary Tales is a fantastic podcast hosted by Tim Harford, which covers great historical mistakes and missteps, and breaks down why they happened and what we can learn from them. There is always a twist, and I come away every time feeling like I have learned something new about human behaviour and why we do what we do.
We also have a Castlepoint podcast, which is a series of interviews with experts in the cyber, governance, and risk space. The interview with Andrew Barr MLA (the ACT’s Chief Minister) right at the start of the pandemic is a real highlight for me.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
There are certainly some that I really appreciate, like my smart watch. Tracking my sleep patterns, steps, and heart rate have become an important way to monitor how I’m doing with regards to health and wellbeing.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
A woman working multiple low-paid jobs. Everybody’s challenges are real and valid, but I think we sometimes lose perspective. I and most of my network have comfortable lives, where we are safe, our children have access to education, and we are overall healthy.
This is something we shouldn’t take for granted, as most of the world doesn’t share this experience. We already hear a lot from women just like me. I think we need to hear from women who represent the wide spectrum of humanity better, who also have obligations, deadlines, challenges – and children (or other caring responsibilities).
It’s hard to fathom living with real insecurity, or in very vulnerable circumstances. I think we can learn a lot from people who do.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
There is no advice on this that’s applicable to everybody I don’t think. Advice to ‘just work harder’ or ‘always make time for your hobbies’ coming from successful executives is usually tone-deaf, because most of the world is already working incredibly hard, and has very little leisure time.
Probably the best thing individuals can do in order to have an opportunity to shape their own career and lifestyle is to invest in ourselves in whatever way we can, which might be continuing education, or even focus on health. Those little investments in ourselves can potentially pay dividends over time.
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