Amelia Gain is the co-founder & CEO of Preno, a hotel property management software company with customers all around the globe.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I started my career in IT, before doing a 180 and becoming a hotel manager. It was during this role that I became passionate about hotel operations and the guest experience. However, I noticed that a lot of the work done by the team was manual and time-consuming.
In solving this challenge, the concept of Preno — which makes it easy to manage bookings, create comprehensive guest profiles and analyse hotel metrics — was born.
My current role within Preno, as CEO, is ensuring that as a team we’re driving towards our central strategy and all performing at our best.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
I live a block away from the office, which means most mornings start the same. I wake-up, get ready, grab a coffee and take a (very) short stroll to the office.
My mornings up until lunch will be spent in various meetings with different teams, for instance I meet with the sales team every morning. These meetings are a mix of in-person and remote as everyone is in different places.
As the day moves towards afternoon/evening, I tend to get my best work done. I’m a bit of a night owl, which means I’m often putting the finishing touches to something after the sun has gone down.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
Although I go into the office everyday, I do spend some time working from home. I tend to do work that requires a deeper focus, such as analysing our CRM, at home.
Going back to the night owl thing, that’s probably a result of my shift worker days in hospitality. That mentality means I’ll do blocks of work throughout the day, rather than necessarily sticking to a 9-5 routine.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
I admit I still struggle with this, however, I do make a conscious effort to seek the correct balance. Hopefully I can figure it out one day! I do make sure to see my friends regularly, for example, dinner is often spent round one of their houses.
Also, when I can, I like to go away over the weekend and see somewhere new. Working with a range of amazing hotels means I have extra insight into some of the best places to stay. A perk of the job I guess!
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
Over the past 12 months, I’ve put more time towards one of my favorite hobbies — sailing. It’s a great activity that takes me away from my phone. It allows me to fully disconnect and also get my brain working in a different way.
However, on the whole, I would say it was hard to keep a steady routine during 2020 with everything that was going on. At Preno we had to be very reactive to ensure we were doing everything we could to help our partners during a very trying time.
In many ways, 2021 is about resuming a sense of normality and returning to the routines of 2019!
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
I do read a lot but most non-fiction. Two recent books that I would recommend are Kamala Harris’ memoirs: The Truths We Hold and How Music Works by David Bynre. Both fascinating reads, albeit for different reasons.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
There are two that spring to mind: my AirPods as I use them every single day and my Technics 1200 record player. In fact when working from home I regularly listen to vinyl and it helps me take regular breaks as I have to get up and flip the record every so often.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
Good question. Not anyone famous and I won’t name her so as to not embarrass her, but I’d say my good friend who lives in Queenstown. She is an amazing mother to four small children, is incredible in her day-to-day job as a marketer and balances it all. I don’t know how she does it.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
I don’t think a successful work life balance is ever something you fully nail. Work and life are constantly changing, we just need to be as adaptive as possible while ensuring we’re putting our mental health first.
One thing I have learnt is that the work doesn’t go away — it’s always there — all we can do is process what we can achieve and plan accordingly.
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