Interviews / Marketing & Advertising

Balancing the Grind with Sarah Cagnacci, Head of Marketing at DASH

Sarah Cagnacci is the Head of Marketing at DASH, the first advice technology solutions company to focus on solving problems across the end-to-end adviser experience.

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Let’s start with your background! Can you share with us your career journey and what you’re currently up to?

I fell into marketing straight out of school and have had a great time doing it for the last 17 years.

I was lucky enough to be taken under the wing of some fantastic mentors early on which set me on a trajectory to work with some great brands.

Being in marketing and building brands means it’s very important for me to believe in what’s being promoted. Personally, I am the best at my job when I am passionate about that brand – I deliver the best campaigns and have the most creative ideas when the role and product is genuine.

I am currently working for a fintech company (DASH Technology Group) that is bringing innovation to the Australian financial advice industry. They are injecting a much-needed breath of fresh air into financial advice, aiming to revolutionise its delivery and accessibility for Australians. Being part of something groundbreaking that solves a very real need is a great place to be.

We’d love to know what a typical day is like for you. Could you describe a recent workday?

I have a hybrid role that sees me in the office three days a week, and two days from home.

A typical work from home day sees me check emails and industry news while having my morning coffee and the kids are having a play together (4yo, 5yo, 7yo). I like to get across what’s on for the day at work so I can mentally prepare while I then get the kids ready for school. I will do the school run and then come home to work. 

At 3:30pm I will head back out again to pick the kids up, and then jump back into work for a few hours once I’m home.

Working from home is an interesting juggle because its’ very disjointed at either end of the day (am I in a meeting or am I prepping food for the kids? Maybe both!), but the middle hours of solitude are very productive, probably the most productive out of any of my working week.

I tend to do a slow roll out of the working day, still checking emails on my phone while cooking dinner etc. 

Can you define work-life balance for yourself and share with us your approach in maintaining it?

I think work-life balance is about give and take. With most jobs requiring some sort of overtime or the expectation of being available when you’re needed, it’s important to balance that with flexible starts/finishes on some days, being available for the school run, or whatever it is that you need. 

So, I am happy to do what is required to get a job done and have that job done well, but I will make sure it is also returned in some capacity if I’ve had to sacrifice something in order to get there. 

Time is so valuable and having the right work-life balance is having both work and home understand your commitments, and having them trust that you can manage your time to meet everyone’s expectations. We’re no good to anyone if we’ve run ourselves into the ground.

For me, I work more hours on my office days and try to do most of the heavy lifting then. This allows me the flexibility to be there for my kids when I’m working from home.

Sure, no one gets it right all of the time. That’s the human part. 

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Change is constant, and it’s essential for growth. Have you made any lifestyle changes in the past year to improve your work-life balance?

The biggest change I’ve made is starting a new job that has a fixed routine. My previous role was very flexible when it came to being in the office and that meant I spent the majority of my time at home which eventually turned into chaos with the kids around. There are only so many interrupted zoom meetings I can handle!

Having set office days means there’s a clearer definition of my work expectations for everyone involved. My kids prefer knowing when I’m going to be in the office and when I’m going to be available for them at home. It sets boundaries for everyone (including myself). I think the lack of boundaries is when we start to let things go too far and the balance becomes unbalanced.

We’re always on the lookout for new resources! Can you recommend any books, podcasts, or newsletters that have helped you in your journey towards balance?

This is the life-balance part that I haven’t mastered yet – having the time to just sit and absorb a good book or podcast without interruption! That’s not to say I don’t have a list ready and waiting.

Before we wrap up, do you have any final words of wisdom or insights on work, life, or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

I think it’s important to remember that we are human, that if something is too much for us or isn’t working, then we need to say something or change something. Standing up for ourselves and our boundaries isn’t a weakness and it doesn’t determine how good we are or aren’t at our jobs. Have a purpose and work with greatness. This makes your job and life much more meaningful.

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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.