Balancing the Grind with Simone Thomassen, Packaging Projects Manager at Ego

Simone Thomassen is the Packaging Projects Manager at Ego Pharmaceuticals, where she brings people together from across the Global Ego to focus on Ego’s Sustainability goals.

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

After graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Deakin, I initially worked in another pharmaceutical company, but I found my home when I moved to Ego over two decades ago. It’s a family-run business and those nurturing values really shine through. 

In the beginning, I was overseeing the Quality Control lab with just two scientists as we developed new, reliable, and science-backed analytical methods to produce Ego’s trusted skincare solutions like QV and Aqium. 

Over this period, Ego has grown astronomically, and I’ve (mostly) hung up my lab coat as I lead our award-winning Packaging Projects team and chair Ego’s Sustainability Committee. My role covers anything from exploring how we can create a packaging circular economy with local businesses, to reducing C02 emissions and water consumption, to inventing innovative ways of replacing single-use packaging. 

It’s an incredibly exciting area, and I’m particularly proud of how this sustainability focus helped Ego become the first Australian Pharmaceuticals & Biotechnology Company to join the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC). 

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

Key to my role now is really facilitating the collaboration between the different parts of the organisation like production, engineering, marketing, etc.  

I’m a firm believer that you get the most out of your team by figuring out what they’re good at and playing to their strengths. As a result, those conversations are a vital part of my day. I want to know what gets each individual excited about work, how I can create opportunities that will challenge and engage them and connect them with the right people across Ego to make that happen.  

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

I learnt early on that my wellbeing is my biggest priority. Everything I do, I ask myself: ‘how will this affect my wellbeing?’. I’m a mum, a friend, a leader, and valuing my wellbeing is the only way I’ll be able to fulfil those roles in the way I want to. 

How I fulfil those roles will look different day-to-day, sometimes even minute-to-minute. There’s a constant rebalancing of priorities and figuring out what will be best for my own wellbeing is what helps me get the right balance. 

For instance, I love my career. It excites me, and it’s rewarding. I also love my two teenagers more than anything. Balancing my career and being a parent means I might not be the mum who can volunteer at school functions because I choose to focus on my career, but I am the mum who will be cheering on my kids in every sports game before and after work, and every weekend. 

The balance is different for everyone but if you focus on whatever is important to you and learn to rebalance, you can be successful in all that you do. Don’t beat yourself up if you get it wrong, just learn from it and readjust for next time.

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?

As a leader, you should always look to your team to learn and grow from. As we eased out of the pandemic, my team needed more flexibility in their lives and this, in turn, taught me that I needed this too. 

Having the option to tailor where I’m working and when I’m working means I can rebalance my roles and prioritise my well being far better. 

It’s also created a great harmony and respect for our team and each other’s lives. Maybe a little ‘wellbeing’ has rubbed off onto them too.

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?

I got into ‘The Growth Faculty’ webinars during Covid-19. I think it’s important to never stop learning, and they’ve now become a permanent part of my monthly routine. It’s an amazing series of webinars from incredible leaders around the globe, and I’ve loved learning from people like Simon Sinek, Chelsea Pottenger, Barack Obama, and my favourite, Sir Richard Branson.

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?

Focus on what drives you, and don’t let others derail you from this path. Take the time to understand what brings you happiness and fulfilment, professionally and personally, then look at how you can achieve that balance. 

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.