Stella Cocaro is the General Manager & Co-Founder of canibuild, a world-first, venture-backed, hyper-growth prop tech that is transforming the construction industry.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I started teaching high school kids in the public education system. When my first child was born, I decided it was time for a change. I joined my husband Tim in the construction industry and together we started a granny flat building company called RESCON.
We became a market leader in the state of New South Wales (much faster than we anticipated!) and it’s safe to say that we faced our fair share of challenges. While incredibly rewarding, it was all-consuming and left us with very little time for anything else. S
o Tim drew upon his knowledge of and passion for technology to make it easier for sales teams to communicate construction-related information to prospective buyers. And just like that, canibuild was born! So far, it has been an incredible journey. A highlight has been witnessing how the platform has changed the lives of those working in the construction industry for the better.
2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
I’m usually in front of the computer within 30 minutes of waking. I like to take advantage of our quiet house by reading through my emails and compiling my to do list. Mummy duties kick in around 8:00am, which involves making lunches, packing school bags and yelling at the kids to get out the door!
We are very fortunate that the kids’ schools are within walking distance from our house. I prefer to work from home, so once the house is quiet, I’m back to responding to emails and answering phone calls.
My typical workday involves catching up with various teams to support resolving issues and improving processes as well as conducting interviews for new recruits. Before I know it, it’s time to make dinner and get the kids ready for bed.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
canibuild is a remote first workplace, so I work from home most days. Being present for our kids is important to me and working from home allows me to do this so it suits me perfectly!
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
To me, work-life balance is being able to switch off and enjoy life when you’re not at work. Being the co-founder of a start-up and a mother to four children is extremely stressful and demanding (even when things go your way!) the main way that I switch off is by exercising. I also make a conscious effort to not give too much energy to things that don’t matter or aren’t in my control.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
Many of us believe that every single waking moment must be productive. I’ve found myself to be guilty of this on occasion but I have made some small changes in my day-to-day to help change my thinking. I turn off my phone notifications and don’t read emails after dinner so I don’t go to bed stressed out. I’m also trying to be more selfish and take care of my own needs and wants rather than putting them last.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
I’m so engrossed in the business that even just watching a random YouTube video is a luxury! If I have a minute to myself, I just want to enjoy silence or something light-hearted and random.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
The first gadgets that come to mind are the iRobot and Uber Eats. Need I say more?! Both save me so much time!
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
Successful women with children in any business (provided they keep it real!) I strive to not gloss over the harsh realities of juggling a business with parenthood so as to not make anyone feel inadequate or guilty about their own journey and thoughts.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
Accomplishing a work life balance is extremely difficult and most people find it a challenge, including myself. I think that by taking it one step at a time and implementing small changes in one’s life, a balance can be achieved.
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