Growth / Interviews / Marketing & Advertising

Balancing the Grind with Rebecca Zeitunian, Head of Brand & Growth ANZ at ResDiary

Rebecca Zeitunian is the Head of Brand & Growth ANZ at ResDiary, an online reservation system used by thousands of restaurants, bars, clubs, and hotels across the world.

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

My career journey started in Sales and Operations, though I shifted into Marketing almost 12 years ago. The majority of my marketing experience has been in B2C, although my previous two roles have been purely B2B. 

As most new marketers do, I started at the bottom in a very general marketing role, learning and developing my skills as much as possible. I then moved into more specialised roles across key disciplines such as Digital Marketing, Content Marketing and Social Media.

In the last couple of years, I have stepped back into broader brand and marketing scope roles to align with my career aspirations and strengths. I feel very fortunate that I have had hands-on experience in both the breadth and depth of marketing.

My passion for what I do really comes down to my love of storytelling and desire to help people find a solution to their problem. Whether this is through building brand affinity or mentoring up and coming marketers, it’s all part and parcel of what drives me to be the best marketing leader I can be.

I’ve recently started a new role with ResDiary, a global hospitality SaaS business. As the Head of Brand and Growth for Australia and New Zealand, I am responsible for developing and executing the growth strategy. My focus is on launching ResDiary into the Australian market and acquiring customers across Australia and New Zealand.

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

My work from home is far more balanced than the days I go into the office. I’ll wake up at 5:30am, drop my husband at the bus stop and continue to the gym whilst listening to a podcast or audiobook – anything to do with leadership and people management gets my attention.

Once I’m back at home, I’ll meditate for 10-15 minutes before having my coffee and reviewing my priority list that I had prepared for the night before. I make sure that my to-do list has a mix of urgent tasks, time blocked for bigger-picture-thinking and personal admin.

Some of the ResDiary team are based in Singapore (we also have a team in the UK), my mornings are focused on connecting with the folks in Sydney and Melbourne. Collectively we recalibrate, discuss prioritises and blockers etc., over a quick morning coffee (my second one).

I’ll have a handful of meetings most days, such as 1:1s, go-to-markets (GTMs) and partners/agencies discussions. In previous roles, I’d dedicate specific days of the week to a particular meeting type; for example, ‘Team Tuesday’ was the day I’d have 1:1s for all my direct reports. I found this approach very effective, as did the team.

My role at ResDiary gives me so much variety and scope. I might start a day working on a brief for new social media assets, and by the afternoon, I’ve crafted a partner referral programme and assisted with writing email copy. This role really does have a blank canvas full of opportunities, and as a team, everyone chips in to help execute our strategy.

I log off most nights around 6pm-ish, pending any call with the UK team and close out the day by writing tomorrow’s priority list. I was not always this disciplined in logging off at a ‘reasonable time’, and the truth be told, it was very uncomfortable to implement and does slip from time to time.

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

Absolutely! I work from home a minimum of three days per week, which is totally my discretion. I enjoy being around people, being an extrovert, and all, so I head into our shared office when most of the team is also there.  

The ResDiary leadership team are also very supportive with flexibility and lead by example, which speaks volumes about our company culture. As an added bonus last month, the new ANZ team were given a half-day off as the leadership team could see we’re putting our best foot forward and wanted to thank us.

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

What work-life balance means to me today is very different to what it meant to me less than 12 months ago.  

I would wake up every weekday by 5am and be in front of the computer by 6:30am without fail and regardless of the company, role or office location. This also meant I was doing a minimum of 12 hours in the ‘office’ plus whatever hours I did when I got home – for the jobs that I loved the most, I would be online for even longer, all on my own accord by the way.

I have learnt some key yet tough lessons, with the most powerful and gut-wrenching one being quality over quantity, and in my world, that meant the volume of output.

Not only was I always on in my job, pumping out work, but there were times that I missed out on stepping into a more senior role which I was so focused on because I didn’t come up for air, take stock and apply a strategic vision to the requirements of my role.

Once I was made aware of this, I shifted my mindset (which didn’t happen overnight) in approaching my day and how I showed up for my role and my team and began tailoring an approach to a healthier work-life balance.

So, what does work-life balance mean to me today? It means having the ability to disconnect and reconnect when it’s right for me to do so.

This could be starting work later in the morning, so I can spend more time with my husband, listening to a podcast or meeting a friend for coffee, all great things to help me disconnect from the to-do list and reconnect in the present moment, coming away with a fresh perspective.

I am passionate about people leadership and honestly believe that managing people is a privilege, so to better myself and my team, I make sure I allow myself time and space to research, which could happen in the ‘standard’ workday time. Ultimately the business will also benefit from this upskilling.

Personally, my work-life balance feels seamless and empowering.

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

Apart from applying a more conscious approach to quality over quantity, I’ve also adopted a handful more life-changing habits – mediation, yoga and journaling. All provide a sense of clarity, focus and confidence, beyond what I’ve had previously.

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

Anyone who knows me knows I am a huge Brené Brown fan, from her books, her talks (which I was able to see in person back in 2020), and both her podcasts – you name it, I’m all over it and always recommend her work, particularly Daring Greatly, and the Dare to Lead podcast.

Brene recently interviewed Susan David, so I’ve started to follow her work on Emotional Agility and the impact of being falsely positive. 

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

Insight Timer + my Smart bedside table lamp + my new (first) pair of reading glasses. All these things prompt me to learn as much as I can in all aspects of life. 

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

Of course, it would be Brené Brown.   

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

In my opinion, a work-life balance is exactly that, a balance. Don’t mistake it for a new routine unless that new routine has given you a better balance and free of restrictions.

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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.