Samantha Saunders is the Head of Marketing at Plenti, a fintech lender providing Australians with faster, fairer loans through smart technology.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I started out working agency-side in account management in Sydney and then Vancouver. While my daughters were very young I contracted to a previous client (Destination British Columbia) back in Australia, gaining experience that helped me land a dream role on the Global Brand Team at Air New Zealand.
These last 12 months, I’ve felt privileged to work with the collaborative and clever team behind Plenti, Australia’s largest fintech consumer lender. Now Head of Marketing, I’m excited to be building awareness and respect for this brand from the ground up.
Our team of eight marketers each have their own fields of expertise, and are energised by different ways of working. As a new team, we’re learning from each other every day.
2) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
Yes (both), and I’m so grateful. I’ve worked from home at least one day a week for the last decade. It has made all the difference in balancing home and work priorities, avoiding unnecessary stress and parental guilt.
We’re a high-achieving team, and as a result, we trust each other to do the right thing and do our best. And as a result, everyone can bring balance to their week – be that managing your ongoing health and well-being or being there for friends and family.
3) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
I think it’s important to take a longer-term view. Some days, some weeks will be completely out of whack.
For me, that’s often okay – so long as I feel in control of my choices, take satisfaction in my achievements and have a chance to recalibrate after periods of intensity. And at home we all share the load – initially that meant shared child-care, but now our daughters are older everyone plays their part.
We model habits we want them to adopt – making time for work, but also for friends, family, exercise and volunteering. For me, Surf Lifesaving is a great way to cover those last four priorities at the same time!
4) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
Simple things that make a big difference – turning off self-view on video conferences to better focus on others; matching my task list to the day’s diary; going offline when I have important work to do; setting diary deadlines for projects that might not otherwise stick to a schedule.
Lockdown days can be challenging, so I try to be realistic with what I’ll achieve, so I’m more likely to exceed my expectations. I’m currently more productive and focused in the evening, but I prefer not to send emails to my team out of hours.
Right now, it’s working well to review the previous evening’s draft emails first thing and send them while I’m still enjoying my first cup of coffee. Preparing my daily task list the night before is also the best way to help me check off easy wins first thing in the morning.
5) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
I’m a big fan of Amantha Imber from Inventium’s advice and her How I Work podcast. She’s professional but keeps it real and the advice discussed is actionable and well researched. I also love Alan Alda’s podcast Clear & Vivid – all about communication and connection from wide ranging experts.
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