Balancing the Grind with Yi-Hsia Koh, MD, New Venture at x15ventures

Yi-Hsia Koh is the MD at Kit, a smart money sidekick for kids, as part of x15ventures, a venture-building outfit, powered by CommBank, on a mission to launch 25 enduring businesses by 2024.

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

I started my career as a management consultant at Bain & Co, then spent a number of years in not for profit – first in early learning, disability services, and then health insurance.

I wanted to build digital delivery capability to scale my impact which is why I took a digital partnerships role at CBA, which turned into a role leading new investments and venture builds for x15ventures.

I’ve recently transitioned into an MD role full-time for a venture within x15 (still in stealth mode!), one that combines my passion for purpose and impact with digital innovation.

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

I have a young son (<2) and at the moment his sleeping patterns are pretty unpredictable! After breakfast, we go out and walk the dog, before I head to work. The first thing I do is set my intention and priorities for the day. Stand-ups/team meetings are in the morning, 1:1s are on Tuesdays, and apart from that I try to reserve blocks of time for deep work almost everyday.

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

Our team works flexibly (we are spread across different cities). With offices re-opening, I think it’s still important to have some in-person days for the banter, corridor conversations and a better pulse on how people are feeling. Working from home is great for deep work, and one of the biggest perks being we get to have lunch as a family.

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

I’ve always worked in roles where I’m 100% behind the purpose of what I’m trying to achieve, so I’ve never really considered that work-life balance has been a ‘problem’ for me. I like to think of zooming in & out: 

  • Zoom in: Taking care of the small moments by being mindful (e.g. by setting my intention for the day, checking in with my energy levels & breathing, making sure I’m prioritising the right things)
  • Zoom out: Tracking work/life balance over weeks and months, and riding the peaks and troughs.

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

In the past few months, I’ve started checking in with my energy levels right at the beginning of the day, and to use visualisation before important moments & meetings to influence how I come across to others.

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

  • Against Empathy by Paul Bloom – makes a really great distinction between empathy and compassion and how to prevent emotional burnout
  • Antifragile – Nassim Taleb
  • Happiness by Mathieu Ricard
  • Reid Hoffman’s Masters of Scale – a classic!

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

My phone co-ordinates my whole life, and I unfortunately spend too long on social media in the evenings! During the last lockdown I started using the Nintendo Ringfit – so that I could exercise without worrying about childcare (no excuses now).

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

Jacinda Ardern – having a young baby and running a country is incredibly impressive.

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

If you are doing something you love, it will never really feel like work. It sounds macabre, but I like to think about what regrets I would have if I die tomorrow – and live accordingly.

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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.