Interviews / PR & Communications

Balancing the Grind with Venus Landero, Account Manager at Soda Communications

Venus Landero is an Account Manager at boutique PR consultancy Soda Communications, where she works with brands across beauty, lifestyle, food, health and non-profit sectors.

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

I didn’t start out thinking about working in PR. I studied journalism and cultural studies hoping to someday write for the magazines that I grew up reading, like Girlfriend Magazine and Dolly. I wanted to write for magazines that helped me throughout my teen years, almost like a pay it forward.

You could say that journalism is a hard industry to crack, I think that’s why I started interning for PR / Communication Agencies, it was easier. After my first internship, I fell in love and I never looked back.

Throughout my time in PR, my role and the media landscape slightly changed to include influencers and talent relations as well as social media – creating and driving content plans for different brands.

You can’t just sum up PR and Communications in one word, there are countless branches that all lead to one goal- to communicate a message and tell a story.

I’m currently an Account Manager at Soda Communications, with around 6 years’ experience in the beauty, lifestyle and fashion PR sectors.

Now I work with a number of amazing brands, still in beauty and lifestyle sectors but also branching into food, health and non-profit.

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

There isn’t really a “day in a life” in PR. Every day is different especially with everything going on with COVID-19. I try to keep everything streamlined, doing things like it’s a normal day in the office is key to surviving back-to-back days at home.

I always start my day with clearing my inbox, I can’t stand an inbox that has countless flagged emails and e-newsletters that need to be filed or deleted.

With the team having been working from home, every morning I’ll create a to-do list and circulate this with the rest of the team. This ensures that everyone is across my time as I am with theirs.

After emails have been filed and to-do lists have been circulated, I take few minutes to scroll through news sites and google, this gives me ideas for coming up pitches and I like to be informed with what’s going on in the world and if this ties into or affects the brands I’m workig with.

Daily morning zoom calls are a MUST for working at home! At Soda, we’ve started doing a check in zoom at 10am, which can be used to discuss current work or deadlines or even to just brainstorm.

After this it’s a free for all. Pitching, writing media materials, reporting, planning media send outs and the daily running of each client. This will change every day really depending on what’s needed and what’s urgent. Using project management sites like Asana, are a god send to keep track of everything.

I do have one rule that I follow every day and that is to step away from my computer and have lunch / take a walk. I have to make myself step away because I know if I don’t I’ll literally be sitting staring at a screen all day.

Usually when I’m working from the office, I drive into work and then drive home, I’m constantly traveling which helps me differentiate from work life to home life. What I learnt while working from home is that it’s hard to have a work and home life when your home is also your office (it kind of blurs into one), by actually closing my screen and stepping away to have lunch helps me keep balance to my day.

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

100%! My boss is a mum so she understands that personal things can’t always be done after 5:30pm and on weekends.

I live about a 40-50 minute drive to the office which isn’t that close, so I know that if I need to have an appointment near home or I have someone come in during the day to install or repair something in my home, I know that it’s fine if I work from home.

Having laptops (which we can plug into screens when in office) makes it easier to work remotely.

What COVID-19 has taught us, is that we don’t have to be in the office 100% of our time.

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

Work-life balance to me is harmony. There is balance between the different aspects of my life where I don’t have to sacrifice different commitments, I feel supported through each area of my life and I am able to manage my time in a suitable manner.

When first starting in the industry, I didn’t truly know what work-life balance was. In PR we’re “always on” and to me I was constantly checking emails and replying at night and also working when I had a free moment, sometimes at 10:00pm when I didn’t actually need to be.

I have since learned to finish my work on time and not take it home with me. Of course in PR, there are times when we work late for events or international clients, but it all comes down to managing my time effectively

Through my years in PR and finally learning what worked for me, helped me figure out what I wanted in my life and how to achieve those goals professionally and personally.

I’ve had some amazing bosses throughout my career and watching them helped me manage my time. Dani Lombard, my current boss said to me last year “are we curing cancer? The answer is NO, so it could wait for tomorrow”.

We always have deadlines and they are super important to stay on top of, but we don’t have to sacrifice our personal time to get it done. Learning to manage time will help make these deadlines seem less scary.

Working from home and need inspiration? Grab a copy of our Workflow book, featuring beautiful photos and inspiring stories from workspaces around the world.

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

Absolutely! I try not to rush in the mornings anymore, I used to quickly wake up, get ready then head to work.

Now, I slowly wake up and my alarm is a lot less aggressive than the one I had blaring previously (if you have an iPhone, the chimes are beautiful). I feel this helps me to start the day more calmly and as a result I am less grumpy first thing!

I’ve also started taking a walk around the block if I’m stuck on something to help clear my head- it truly works! This is something I picked up from my team at Soda!

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

I think reading in general is amazing for you! I love to read; this could be short stories to self-help and anything and everything. I’m a HUGE nerd and I love the Harry Potter series, but I also love the classics too, I just started Persuasion by Jane Austen.

Podcasts for me are HUGE as I’m in the car constantly, I need something to help pass the time, I have so many that I love.

I’ve pretty much been in beauty PR for most if my career, so I love listening to Get Lippy, You Beauty and Breaking Beauty and I also love podcasts like Fearlessly Failing with Lola Berry.

Anything about pop culture and social media is a must so Renegade is also a great one. Do you remember The Teacher’s Pet: The unsolved murder of Lyn Dawson? I was pretty much obsessed with this too.

And also last but not least, my best friend started a podcast called Whose PU$$Y Is This and I listen religiously, it’s pretty much a platform about finding your inner power, essentially it’s a safe place with no judgement talking about life and love.

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

Hmm this is a good one. In an ideal world I’d like to think that we don’t have to be dependent on products, gadgets or apps. But I’m a HUGE skincare junkie and I definitely can’t live without my skincare routine. Work-wise I definitely can’t live without my phone, my phone carries everything I would need on a daily basis.

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

Jessica Alba and Jacinda Ardern. They are in completely different careers and seem to have work-life balance down pat.

Jessica Alba is an actress, businesswomen (The Honest Company) and a mum – essentially juggling 3 careers.

Jacinda Ardern is the current Primer Minister of New Zealand also a mum and always seems calm and collected- did you see her during that interview when an earthquake hit? Amazing!

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

If you believe you can do it, go and do it, don’t let anyone hold you back. And also, treat people the way you want to be treated- this is one of the sayings that I 100% believe in, in and out of the work space.

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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.