Interviews / Marketing & Advertising

Balancing the Grind with Virginia Towers, Content Lead & Editor at Marketing Trends

Virginia Towers is the Content Lead & Editor at Marketing Trends, an online publication showcasing the brightest minds in Australian marketing.

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

When I finished high school, I was between two major career choices: Architecture or Political Science. I decided to go with Political Science, and I soon found out that I’d made the right choice: I loved reading inspiring authors, learning to think critically and writing as a way of organising my thoughts.

After graduation, I got my first job and moved overseas to Europe, as a Country Coordinator for an international communications agency. The company produced editorial content about FDIs opportunities in emerging economies, so I got to interview the political and business leaders of many countries and it was certainly the best first job experience I could’ve ever asked for. 

When I decided it was time for me to move on, I went back to Argentina, where I started working for the non-for-profit sector.

Meanwhile, since 2014 my siblings and I had already started a side project. Our mother had passed away and left us a beautiful piece of land, in the middle of the mountains, where we decided to create our own vineyard and winery.

My two siblings are engineers with master’s degrees in viticulture, so out of the 3 of us, I was the most suitable one to be in charge of building our marketing from the ground. When the “side project” couldn’t be “side” anymore, I left my beloved non-for-profit job and decided to work full time in our company. 

It was the perfect opportunity to learn about marketing, branding and advertising. Being a founding partner, I could afford to experiment, fail, try again, fail again, and write along the way: content for social & printed media, copy for website, content for our wine labels, and so on. Once Nebula was solid and took off, I moved to Australia, where I continue to write content for our (now) not-so-little project.

My current job as Content Lead & Editor at Marketing Trends is the perfect role to improve the skills I’ve developed throughout my career. Tom and Zway, the founders, had this great idea of building an online publication, showcasing the brightest minds in Australian marketing, with the purpose being the “go-to resource” for anybody looking for recommendations in the industry.

The best thing of all: it allows me to meet incredible people that are achieving extraordinary things in every industry, and get inspired by them.

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

Living with a surfer has definitely changed my routine for the better this last year.

At 6 am the alarm goes off and my partner is in charge of making fresh coffee for us, while I stay in bed and fake-promise I’ll do it tomorrow!

Then we go down to the beach for a quick dip and by 8 am I’m going over emails, Google Calendar, Todoist and scrolling newspapers.

At 8:30 am my working day officially starts, and I structure each day according to the interviews I need to conduct. So I organise the editing, publishing and planning in between the scheduled interviews, which I do via Zoom.

I try to finish between 5 and 5:30 pm and after that, I workout. Many people workout in the morning and apparently it’s better. Yet for me, training at the end of the day is a great way to switch off work, release some endorphins, and go into the evening relaxed.

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

My role is 100% remote and it’s definitely flexible. That’s one of the things I appreciate the most! We set the goals and focus on achieving results, yet there’s flexibility in terms of how we organise our work to do so.

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

For me, work-life balance means being present. I know it might sound a bit hippie or cliché. Yet, it’s what has allowed me to have a rich life.

I noticed early-on that I’m not good at multitasking. When I’m working, I’m fully immersed in working. I achieve ridiculous levels of concentration, which, I believe, makes me highly productive, but also a potential hazard for myself (I lose track of everything!) Yet, this means that when work has me, it has all of me.

This applies to every aspect of my life. If I’m spending time with my friends & family, which I do a lot, I’m there 100% with them. If I’m swimming, running, cooking, sleeping, reading or doing any of the other joys of life, that’s literally all I’m doing.

Something really stressful or exciting has to be happening at work, for it to crawl into my thoughts whilst it’s not its turn to “possess me”.

During my first job, I was working an average of 18 hs per day, 7 days a week. I could put up with that pace because I was living in a new continent every 4 months, which meant I barely had any social life and because we were constantly facing publication deadlines.

I thought that was normal! But then I realised I’d promised I’d treat myself with a run the day I finish work before 11 pm, and that my last run had been 5 months ago.

So besides being present, work-life balance for me is understanding that there’s ALWAYS going to be something that’s “urgent” or “important”. Understanding that yes, we can always find something to improve. Yet, we can’t wait for our long term to-do-list to be clear to do the other activities that bring equilibrium to our lives.

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

In retrospective, I have to admit that I’ve had serious FOMO throughout my life. Strangely enough, 2020, and the pandemic, has really helped me stop feeling pressured into having to be at every event every time.

So the habit of RSVP Yes to everything has stopped, and I don’t intend to bring it back!

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

I am a huge fan of books and I always read 3 books in parallel, so I can choose depending on my mood.

I mostly read non-fiction and I love autobiographies. This year I read – and deeply recommend – A Promised Land, by Barack Obama and The Education of an Idealist by Samantha Power. 

I know I’m late on this one: Start With Why by Simon Sinek. Just started it and I’m very much liking it so far. 

I’m not a major fan of podcasts yet, but I very much enjoy The Prof G Show with Scott Galloway. His perspective on Marketing and life is extremely refreshing.  And Philosophise this! An indie podcast that analyses very mundane problems like having a bad mood from a particular philosopher’s ideology. Very funny, very interesting.

In terms of news, I consider reading 3 or 4 newspapers a day a civic duty, but I also believe it triggers ideas, provides inspiration and allows us to gain perspective.

A great way to do this is – and reduce potential biased news – is to develop the daily habit of taking a quick glance over a few different sources of information, that provide diversity of angles on the same piece of information. Major game-changer on staying on top of trends.

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

I can’t work without Notiv, LinkedIn, Hemingway App & Outwrite. I can’t live without coffee, Spotify, Instagram and AirPods.

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

Melanie Perkins! Would love to learn more about her everyday life.

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

I found myself lately very much aware of Time. It never ceases to amaze me that most of our lives, we live them without taking into account that we are finite. One day turns into weeks that turns into years and suddenly it’s been 2 decades.

I try not to go crazy and panic about achieving my dreams tomorrow by 2 pm. But I make the conscious exercise of reminding myself that there’s no infinite time to change a certain habit I might not like about myself or infinite years to gain the courage and pursue my goals.

So, besides dealing with the anxiety this definitely triggers, I think it’s important to walk towards my purpose on a daily basis.

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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.