Balancing the Grind with Zach Kangelaris, Co-Owner & Sales Manager at Ranieri & Co.

Zach Kangelaris is the co-owner and sales manager at Ranieri & Co., which exclusively represents the world’s largest independent podcast publisher, Wondery, in Australia and New Zealand.

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

I’ve recently taken up a position as sales manager at a podcast company called Ranieri & Co. – we’re the Australian office of Wondery (world’s largest independent podcast publisher) and we create our own original content & branded content for clients.

But for a bit of backstory as how I got there, my career path was somewhat unorthodox. I’ll begin from school, as it makes more sense, chronologically, and gives you some insight into how I think.

I’ve always challenged the status quo and wanted more. For instance, I asked Mum if I could leave mainstream school at the end of year 10 as I fell out of sync with the normal school system and hated learning off a whiteboard. 

I was introduced to an event manager and started work experience alongside her at Cycling Australia. This flowed into casual jobs and learning a lot about the sports event industry. I loved it and it taught me a great deal about hard work without any expectations. The hours were long and constantly testing you, physically and mentally.

I graduated from SEDA with a Diploma of Sport and Development and I accepted an offer to LaTrobe University, studying events management and marketing, and moved to Melbourne (From Gippsland).

At uni, I thought I was keen to move into events management, but as time progressed I realised that a career in events would burn me out for not much reward, and decided to pursue the marketing side of my degree. I sought out people in the industry for work experience and eventually landed at TRIBE as an intern.

That’s when my career got somewhat interesting. I interned at TRIBE for nine months, which is typically unheard of, as an internship is normally three months long, but they couldn’t get rid of me as I just wanted to keep learning. They were transparent in saying there weren’t any roles for me, but out of nowhere, I was offered a casual position in the sales team.

After a few months, I was promoted to a full-time account executive role (again I found myself questioning the system and if I really needed my degree to have a successful career). I decided to choose practical learning ahead of ‘whiteboard learning’.

My curious nature and attitude towards challenging the status quo became more obvious the more responsibility I received and the more I had the opportunity to voice my opinions. This, as well as my performance, led to being promoted to account manager: overseeing the management of national accounts such as Bunnings and then to being a Client Partner.

This has also pushed me outside of my comfort zone. I went from account management, which is mostly sitting behind a computer, to a lot of presenting, talking and selling.

Recently this has flowed into speaking opportunities, like being a keynote speaker at multiple masterclass events, a guest lecturer at the University of Melbourne and hosting webinars with General Assembly that have more than 1200 registered attendees across two events in three weeks. All while I continue to drive business for the company. 

Now at Ranieri & Co, Podcasts are my life and I’m on the pursuit to drive education in the industry.  I want marketers to learn what value Podcasts can offer their brand now and into the future.

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

I always get up around 6:30am to go for a run or a long walk (alternate days) whilst listening to a podcast. Check my emails and head into the office, work for the day and then finish the day with a gym session or footy training.

In terms of a recent workday as we are a startup not one day is the same which is why I love it, however I’m at my best when I’m finding a balance between presenting keynotes / educating people on the Podcast industry, responding to briefs, prospecting and helping clients run their activity.

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

Yes, we are a very progressive company and are all trusted to get our jobs done no matter where that may be. It fits my life amazingly well as I’m quite an active person and value health & wellbeing among all else. It really allows me to be able to prioritise the above when planning my days and still get the work done to a high standard.

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

If I’m being honest I just call it life balance – when you enjoy what you do, work becomes a part of your holistic version of life as opposed to becoming a somewhat separate beast.

For me though it’s about prioritising 4 things – mental health, physical health, work health & social health. These four areas cover a wide range of different things but ultimately they all have to work together in order to find that balance, which is always changing and always will, so it’s a constant grind.

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

I definitely have and honestly have COVID to thank for it. I now prioritise my mental and physical health before all else.

I exercise twice a day, could be walking, running, gym or sport and I listen to podcasts more religiously – they are great for me to educate myself on particular topics around finance, business, health & fitness.

On a side note the Calm app became a staple in my routine throughout that period but rely on it less at the moment.

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

I’ve got plenty of podcasts to recommend but here are my top 4:

From an audio book point of view I always recommend You Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins, truly inspiring and motivational.

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

I don’t know if this counts haha but my running shoes and wireless headphones.

Also, I hate to say it, but my phone is a must and in particular, the apps I can’t live without are Strava, Instagram and Apple Music & podcasts.

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

It would have to be two people one from a business perspective like Jeff Bezos early days of Amazon and for health & fitness / lifestyle would have to be Kevin Hart.

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

Be kind to yourself & others but most importantly be kinder to yourself and take ownership of that. It’s your life. Work, life & balance is going to be different for everyone so don’t judge how other people choose to spend their time, it’s their time. 

Lastly, what you get out of work & life is what you put into it. Consistent effort = reward.

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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.