Victoria Butt is the Founder & Managing Director of Parity Consulting, a recruitment agency dedicated to guiding applicants through their product, marketing, communications and digital career journeys.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I studied Psychology at university and always found myself fascinated with how people behave in a business setting. After my studies, I took a break (because life was hard back then!) and became a ski guide in Austria on a resort called St Anton – I still have very fond memories of my time there.
I started my first recruitment job in 2004 and have been loving the role ever since. I was never the brightest at school or university, however I found I had a natural flair for matching people to roles.
After 3 years in Sydney (and 8 years in recruitment), I founded Parity Consulting in 2012 at the age of 29. I am the Managing Director here running the leadership team. My remit is to keep my team engaged and happy and I also run the executive search side of the business.
In addition to this, I am the co-founder of a tech start-up which supports recruitment for small businesses. Outside of the business, I hold a leadership role at Entrepreneurs Organisation Sydney, where I lead the Diversity and Inclusion initiative.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
I’ll start by saying every day is different. So, let me talk you through my day yesterday.
Up and ready for the day at 6am, 30 minutes of at home fitness spent with my husband, fed my two 4 year old’s breakfast and got them dressed and off to daycare.
Online at 8am for a client call, then reviewed comms for our upcoming salary guide, logged onto our team stand up at 9am where we reconnect every morning and talk about our intent for the day, then worked on a distribution strategy for the next quarter.
Jumped onto a virtual personal training session at 11am, followed by a shower and between 12 – 2pm I multitasked and made big batches of veggie lasagna and dinner for the kids whilst on the phone to clients, checking in on processes and how they were executed – ultimately making sure they were happy.
In the afternoon I spoke to a senior candidate and conducted a post placement review, then spent 1 hour on my new tech business looking at the modules to roll out. Starting to wrap up the day (with my huge pot of English breakfast tea), I had one more VC with a client to talk about new roles.
Then at 5pm, I dialled in for a call with my sister over in the UK. My husband picked up the kids from daycare and dinner was on the table at 5.30pm so we could eat with the kids, then had play time, bath time and bed at 7pm.
I tend to then log back on between 7pm – 9pm to clear out my emails and do some work on the Diversity and Inclusion agenda for EO Sydney.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
Parity Consulting as a business was set up on the basis that we hire the best individuals who share our values. We found most of these to be part time individuals with families and other commitments outside of the business.
We’ve always been pro-remote working and now with Covid-19, even more so. At its current state, Parity Consulting consists of 90% of its staff being part time and 100% working remotely.
For myself personally, I have always worked one day a week from home for the last 4 years with terrific success. I am now working 4 days from home in this current situation. My intention is to increase this to 2 days a week working from home long term.
I do feel it is important for my team to have a balance between remote and office-based working, however comradery and its value is not to be underestimated!
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
I don’t believe that as a mother of two 4-year olds, running 2 businesses and managing a global diversity agenda, that you can actually have a work-life balance. I’m not too sure that exists! At no point does anything come before my family or our children, so that just means that I need to prioritise well, have the right people in my team, as well as have the support I need at home to make sure I get some quality time with my husband and kids.
My kids understand that mum works hard, but they also know that at the end of the day, they along with my husband, come first. So on that note, I am actually taking 2 months off work in a couple weeks’ time to spend time with my family and have that real quality time with the kids and my husband.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
Yes, I have started a morning exercise routine which has been really good. Working from home has meant that I have been able to exercise during what would have been my commute time, so that makes me happy.
Something I have stopped doing, is putting pressure on myself to get back to everyone within 24 hours. I have always strived to be available to everyone in my life, but now I need to be kinder to myself and get back to people ASAP rather than within a set timeframe.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
I follow Simon Sinek, and am enamoured with Jacinda Ardern, who is of course the Prime Minister for New Zealand. I love any book that talks about leadership and inclusivity.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
My kindle comes everywhere with me, and along with the rest of the world, I am too attached to my phone. I need everything streamlined, from my health insurance to online shopping, apple pay – everything is done in 2 clicks. I rely on these technologies to live the most efficient life possible.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
Jacinda Ardern, Sheryl Sandberg, Marissa Mayer, former CEO of Yahoo, who was hired when she was 6 months pregnant.
I also have 5 or so clients here in Australia who I won’t name but I consider to be my mentors. I have so much admiration for the way they manage kids, work, and just consider them to be amazing mums and business people.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
There is a lot of commentary about how “you can have it all”, or “you can’t have it all”, but I believe it depends on what your “all” is. Until I went through an inter family, across border adoption case, I admit I was striving to “have it all”, and since then I realise that the only thing that matters is that I have my family, children and my important people around me.
Striving for success and financial stability were no longer as important to me. So, my last thoughts on work, life and balance is that I believe you can only strive for and “have it all”, if you know what “all” is – design your life the way that you want it and live your life by design!
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