Balancing the Grind with Rachel Hopping, Head of Strategy at Superhero

Rachel Hopping is the Head of Strategy at Superhero, an online investing platform that allows customers to invest in Australian shares, U.S. shares, and ETFs.

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

My career started out via the UNSW co-op cadetship, where I completed an internship with Jaguar Land Rover in marketing and events. While I really enjoyed this internship, I had an interest in technology, so decided to apply for an internship at eBay. What started as a six month contract ended up being a four year stint, where I worked in roles across product marketing, shipping, operations, seller marketing and payments. 

After the market crash in 2020, I started looking at investing to grow my wealth. At the time, I couldn’t find a platform that suited my needs as a young, female investor, and also didn’t feel comfortable asking friends how to invest. 

In 2020, I joined Superhero as the first marketing hire, just three months after the platform launched. Interestingly, I was a Superhero investor before I took on the job! In the year that followed, I led campaigns across television, out of home, affiliates, partnerships and lifecycle marketing. 

While I loved connecting to our investors in my role, after a year and a half developing the Superhero brand, I began to develop a stronger interest in the strategic direction of the business. I wanted to be part of figuring out the highest value opportunities for both our business and our customers, and then working with both internal and external stakeholders to successfully plan, launch and grow these new initiatives.

This led to me being promoted into my current role as Head of Strategy at Superhero. In late 2022, I also co-founded a mortgage broking business, called Unbroke.

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

A day in the life starts with my 5:30am alarm, usually snoozed once. I then drag myself out of bed in the dark and I’m off to Virgin Active for a Grid Class or Boxing. Working out in the morning makes me feel like I’m prepared for the day ahead (and I don’t feel as bad if I happen to reach into the snack jar a few times during the day). 

No day is truly started without a coffee, so it’s a large almond latte (LAL) from Capp on O’Connell St. They know my order, which makes me happy every day. I’m normally in the office working around 8am.

My role is very varied, and no day is the same, which is part of the reason I love it so much! One day I’ll be working on a big partnership, the next I’ll be implementing a new piece of software across our team to make our communication and task processing more efficient. I also act as project manager on most of our cross-functional projects, such as our recent country launch in New Zealand.

I’ll normally eat lunch at my desk, unless I’ve got lunch booked in with a friend. This then allows me to go for a 15 minute walk after I’ve eaten, which helps me avoid the post-lunch slump. I like to keep afternoons as meeting free as possible, so that I can follow up on any action items from the morning’s meetings and get prepared for the next day.

My work day usually finishes around 6pm, and then depending on the day it’s either home to cook dinner, out for drinks/dinner with friends or Tuesday night run club with Kings Cross Track Club. My night normally ends with a sugar free hot chocolate and a Four Corners episode.

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

At Superhero, three days in the office is encouraged, which allows everyone flexibility as well as ensuring we’re in the office frequently enough to collaborate and make decisions.

I’m in pretty much every day, as I live only one stop away on the train and because so much of my role is cross-functional, being in the office where I can quickly go up to someone’s desk and ask a question is really important! As one of four kids, I also love having people around, and when I work from home I really miss my friends in the office, no day goes without laughter and we always have a cracker playlist going on the speakers. 

Working in the office also really helps me to make the distinction between work and my personal life. While I’m not the best at following this rule and there are definitely exceptions, I’ll try not to take my work laptop home too often, which helps me to unplug and come into the office refreshed and excited to get stuck in when I arrive at the office the next day.

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

Work-life balance to me means that I feel that I am present in everything that I do, which is hard to achieve in today’s world of scrolling and over-stimulation. I’m someone that loves to be busy and very social, and while this fills my cup it can sometimes mean I go weeks without checking in on myself. 

One of the things that really helps me find balance is calendar blocking, everything. From gym sessions to date nights and work tasks, I keep my Google Calendar up to date. I also write a new to-do list every day, which keeps me always focused on the most important priorities.

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

I’ve really gotten into running in the last 12 months. Going from not being able to run 3km at the start of Covid, I now understand what a runner’s high means! Running is also a great way to socialise and I love that you can run at a conversational pace and really get to know someone over the course of an hour run. This year I did my first half-marathon and triathlon, and I’m planning to run the Sydney Marathon in September.

Getting into fitness and setting yourself new goals to achieve really bleeds into the rest of your life. When you prove to yourself that you can improve your running speed, or hit the longest distance you’ve ever run, you feel like achieving your goals in other areas of your life (career, personal) is also achievable if you just apply yourself consistently and push outside of your comfort zone. And it’s fun!

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

I definitely have a few favourite podcasts! I love Diary of a CEO and On Purpose. Basically I just love hearing people’s stories, what led them to where they are in life and what they value most in life. From listening to hundreds of episodes, I’ve really realised that despite our many differences, humans are very much united in our desire to feel connected to others, and that true happiness lies in the impact we have on others, not in how much we get for ourselves.

When it comes to books, I really don’t read enough but I recently read Red Notice, which was just wild and probably one of the most fascinating books I’ve read. I travelled to Russia in 2019, and was blown away by the history and culture that is truly unlike anywhere else in the world.

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

The first thing that came to my mind was my Garmin (if it wasn’t on Strava, did it even happen? ), and other than that probably my Airpods, Phone, Nutribullet and a drink bottle, as I’m always trying to drink more water (I have an obsession with sugar free cordial that I really need to curb).

My most used apps are Spotify, Slack, Gmail, Instagram, Whatsapp, LinkedIn and Superhero of course! I’ve tried to remove any games from my phone, but my guilty pleasure is Candy Crush, which I only allow myself to play on flights. 

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

I really admire women who have both incredible career achievements and also prioritise family life. I was one of four kids, and had a stay-at-home mum. While I loved having my mum around all the time, as I’ve grown up I’ve realised that I want to continue my career throughout the next decades of my life, which will hopefully include having a few kids!

One woman who stands out is Susan Wojcicki, who was the first marketing manager of Google and later the CEO of YouTube from 2014 to 2023 as well as being a mum of five. I’m also a big fan of YouTube (much preferred over TikTok), as it combines the ability to tell longer-form stories with the opportunity for video content creators to earn an income from ad revenue without spruiking products (like the influencers of Instagram) that they never actually use, which I think is a major consumer trust issue.

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

Work-life balance is so different for everyone. For some people, they’re happy to work a job they like but don’t love, that is flexible and allows them time to enjoy their hobbies outside of work. For me, I’ve always wanted to love what I do, so much so that when I first interviewed at Superhero I told our CEO that ‘I just want to work somewhere where even if I didn’t get paid, I’d still rather come into the office and work instead of watching Netflix at home.’ Thank goodness he didn’t take that literally! 

To me, my work is a really important part of my personal development, an opportunity to learn as much as possible and keep growing in my knowledge of technology and finance, but arguably more importantly to continue to develop my relationships and communication skills, which will hopefully allow me to become a great leader. I want to get to 80, look back and truly feel that I’ve made a big impact, which doesn’t necessarily mean a tiny impact on billions, but could also mean a really big impact on a few people I have the honour of getting to know throughout my life.

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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.