CEOs / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Vincent Nair, CEO of SMARTECH

Vincent Nair is the CEO of SMARTECH Business Systems, a global industry leading channel partner for a range of businesses in the print and communications industry.

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

Throughout my career, I’ve worked for many global fortune 500 IT and technology brands in C-suite roles managing many worldwide markets. Eight years ago, I went into partnership with a former Texas USA-based boss to acquire SMARTECH, where I led the growth and turnaround from a loss-making enterprise in 2016 to 988% earnings growth in 2022. 

In my current role as SMARTECH’s executive chairman, I lead our range of businesses in the print, mailing, communications and e-commerce industry globally. We provide industry-leading print solutions, including print finishing hardware, print mailing solution and ecommerce technology such as parcel lockers and parcel sortation solutions. 

The business has over 10,000 customers across Australia, along with businesses and customers in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macao, Vietnam, Indonesia, New Zealand, India, China, USA, Fiji, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and beyond.

We represent some of the biggest manufacturers in the world including HP, Canon, Quadient, Pitney Bowes, Bluecrest, Duplo, Kodak, Epson, Multigraf, Fortoba and more.

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

I am an early riser each day and generally watch the sun rise over the Sydney Heads at the entrance to the Sydney Harbour, followed by a routine workout with my personal trainer. 

I am very fortunate to have an EA who routinely sends my daily schedule early in the morning. I will then head to the office – either in North Sydney or Parramatta – or to the airport depending on the day. 

My meetings start the moment I am in the car, with a combination of customer, employee or stakeholder meetings. As I’m based in Sydney as the CEO of a global business, time zones are tricky to manage and something I am very accustomed to. On a busy week, my evenings will end around 10 pm. 

Most Friday afternoons I play golf with my wife Veena at Terrey Hills Golf Club, something that helps separate the working week from the weekend. 

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

COVID has fractured the world in many ways forcing employers to determine what works for their personal and professional productivity. The pandemic carnage has been unsurmountable. 

We have all had our fair share of lockdowns over the last two and half years, and it’s been suffocating. I’m personally busting to get back into the office and be with real people again, which also helps redefine the healthy boundaries between work and life.

Playing golf each week on a Friday afternoon also helps me in many ways. I am seldom thinking about work when I am on the fairway or on the green. I also ensure my weekends are spent with my family and circle of friends.

My home looks straight out onto the beach just 10 km out of the Sydney CBD, so I am fortunate that I am able to spend quality time in nature as weekend therapy.

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

I have played sports my entire life. COVID immensely disrupted everything, but I am now working through getting my health and fitness routine back on track on a daily basis. I have to be match-fit and fit-for-purpose to manage my responsibilities as diligently as possible. 

I have also stopped over-caring for situations that add no value to my future or my immediate family’s future. Cognitive empathy is an important quality, but I have learnt not to act on it anymore, which was something I did on autopilot before.

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

My favourite book was published in 1998 and remains very relevant today. The book changed my life and the way I see things. It’s called Who Moved My Cheese? By Spencer Johnson. The book made me see a better way to manage my work and my life.

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

Richard Branson. He is the epitome of leadership and life. He works hard and he plays hard and importantly, he has fun. 

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

Work-life balance is very situational and cannot be seen as a one-size-fits-all situation. Try to avoid the pressure to find the perfect balance, because it’s impossible to get right all of the time. 

The internet changed the world, and a connected world is now a much smaller world than in the eighties and nineties. Work follows you home now and home follows you to work. 

Try your best to find time away from either work or home to focus on healing and repairing the negative emotional impositions caused by the constant stream of good and bad information. 

That healing might look like regularly exercising your mind and body, or just taking some time out to reflect. Finding that time is your own personal responsibility, and you should not expect your family or your employer to make it happen for you. 

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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.