Balancing the Grind with Vivian Luo, Head of Digital & Events at The Misfits Media Company

Vivian Luo is the Head of Digital & Events at The Misfits Media Company, an Australian creative agency behind the publications B&T and Travel Weekly.

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

I’ve been working in advertising since graduating from uni – with a range of roles from sales, and marketing, to digital product development and events. I’m currently the head of digital and events for The Misfits Media Company.

We’re the owners of trade publications B&T and Travel Weekly. I look after all the industry awards programs, conferences and bespoke client events, as well as all the digital properties we own, including websites, awards submission portals, apps and software.

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

A typical day would be: wake up at 6.30am, sorting out lunch boxes and breakfast for my two kids, answering urgent emails before getting public transport into our office in Surry Hills.

My days are filled with lots of meetings, phone calls and emails. The absolute highlight of my role would be all the interesting and amazing people I meet as a part of my content curation for our events.

I’ve met everyone from politicians, celebrities, refugees, activists, and those unsung heroes who are working everyday to make the world an amazing place. I usually leave the office by about 4 (earlier on Mondays and Fridays) to pick up my kids from school.

An interesting recent work day would be Wednesday of last week. I had the pleasure of travelling to Cairns to inspect venues for our upcoming conference, Cannes in Cairns. After a very bumpy boat ride, I found myself responding to emails and chatting to prospective speakers at the Green Island Resort. Surrounded by tropical flora and fauna, it was a work day in paradise.

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

My work has always offered flexible working hours, since I started with the business 7 years ago – in fact, the job ad for the role mentioned it was most suitable to a return-to-work mum. I’ve always done the 3 o’clock school pick up on Mondays and Fridays.

Working from home has always been an option for me and one that I take advantage of on a regular basis. This has allowed me to attend netball games, assemblies, presentations and reading groups.

I also leave work by about 4pm on other days so that I can have dinner ready at a decent time. We like to have dinner together as a family every night, it’s our time to unwind and relax – we like to chat about our days, the ups and downs and share any funny stories.

I usually respond to a few last emails before fully shutting work out of my mind by about 7.30pm.

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

It means having a fulfilling role, intellectually and creatively, while giving me ample time and space to live my life.

We’re very lucky that my husband also enjoys a lot of flexibility with his role, so that we can meld and blend our schedules to fit in work travel and some late nights (event nights for me and overseas con-calls for him).

We also like to travel so we usually save up 4-5 weeks of leave to have a big adventure. Our last big trip was to Japan and China in 2019, we plan to visit New Zealand next, and then off to Europe to visit family as soon as borders open. 

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

I used to stay up quite late, but since I moved at the start of the year – my 30 min commute is now just over an hour. COVID has really exacerbated our cabin fever so we forwent proximity to the city for a house and yard.

With the extra travel, I find myself going to bed much earlier and am now getting 8 hours of solid sleep. I think it’s made me more focused in the morning. I have also totally disconnected from most personal social media, so that all my updates come in the forms of calls, texts and in person catch ups. 

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

I love cookbooks. My favourite is Adam Liaw’s Destination Flavour. I’m currently reading The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty. I love a whodunit and have read most Agatha Christies.

I love Baumgartner Restoration on YouTube – it’s an art restoration channel by a Chicago based restorer. It’s relaxing and melodic and gives me a great excuse to gaze at art for 30 minutes at a time. His voice is also particularly soothing so it’s great to watch before bed as well.

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

My phone, Netflix and IMDb. I’m a huge film nerd so I spend a lot of my time with these 3 things. In terms of products, I love minimalist fashion, so a visit to COS or Assembly Label makes me very happy.

My other love is food – I’m forever bookmarking new recipes to try – with a fruiting lemon tree in the backyard. I’ve recently perfected my lemon tart.

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

I’d love to read about Taika Waititi’s day, or a day out of Sarah Burton’s life (head designer at Alexander McQueen.

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

I work to live. After kids, I consider my office job my hobby job. My real job is being a supportive parent and partner. This job is what gives me true meaning in life. If I can bring some joy, positive change and knowledge to someone’s day with my hobby job, then it’s a job well done in my books. 

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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.