Bec Brideson is the Founder of Women With Agency, a company focused on supporting the growth and development of female-founded businesses.
In addition, Bec also runs a consultancy, founded a fintech startup and is a regular speaker, trainer and facilitator.
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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I worked in large multinational advertising agencies from 20 years old to 32 on big brand clients in Melbourne, Sydney and NZ. I was one of 3% of women in advertising to become a Creative Director. After too many #metoo moments in my career I left to start my own agency in 2004.
In my own agency there were no gender politics – my team were diverse in gender, age and culture and everyone was there to make great work and build impactful brands. A collection of ambitious people swimming against the tide. There are only 0.01% of women to start their own advertising agencies.
It hasn’t been easy – but it has been an amazing journey. Now I run a consultancy, have started the #womenwithagency movement and am working in a fintech start-up. There’s never a dull moment – it is a rollercoaster though – and you have to have the stomach for riding it.
2) What does a typical day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
Wake up at 5am. Work for two hours and plan my day. Wake up the kids, make lunches, do school uniforms, get ready for the day and leave the house by 8am.
Drop girls to school and go to office. Start with a hot WIP – a standing meeting where we plan the day with the team. Work hard for 8 or 9 hours – meetings, calls, creating things, designing solutions and managing work and timelines.
Go to gym, listen to podcasts, come home to a lovely meal my husband has usually cooked and spend time with the girls. Bed. Rinse. Repeat.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
Yes – and whilst I love the psychological freedom of “remote” and the ability to work in the airport lounge, plane and hotels – I also love having an office space.
I keep pretty regular hours and like routines to keep me in the tracks!
4) Do you have any tips, tricks or shortcuts to help you manage your workload and schedule?
Plan, plan, plan. Big picture year, 90 day sprints, 30 day actions, 7 day weeks, 24 hour days.
I’m very visual and I keep calendars, plans and sticky notes of all of these things around me so I can always orient to where I am when things start getting overwhelming.
5) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
I’m not very good at it. I’m “all in” any activity I do though – if I’m with family they have my full attention.
Because I plan meticulously, I always make sure there is time and room for everyone and everything.
I definitely have times when I don’t see friends or family enough, but they are well used to me being on the go.
6) What do you think are some of the best habits you’ve developed over the years to help you strive for success and balance?
Getting up early is AMAZING. Going to bed early is equally as good, the hours you sleep before midnight are better right?
You see I always used to be a night owl but then I wanted to write a book and the only time I had was in the morning to be uninterrupted and think and write and think.
It was a great habit to start. If you’d asked me this a decade ago whilst I was working hunched over a laptop after midnight I would have said “no way”. But now – I am a new person.
I also go to the gym 3 times a week ( great workouts and podcast time) and eat healthy. But everything in moderation including moderation, we all need to blow out sometimes.
7) Are there any books that have helped you improve over the years?
I am a learning junkie. I have over 400 books – colour coded on my bookshelves. Whether its books or Ted talk, or videos – or academic learning or casual courses – I never stop learning and expanding my mind.
I have probably read most self-improvement, life-hack and biographies about successful people. I don’t do fiction – true story!
8) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?
Coffee, cuddles and conversations. With my husband my girls and my people.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
I believe it’s different for everyone – some of the people I love most do more leisure time and less work because that is how they like their life – they are optimising in those segments that suit them.
Me – I like doing more work than leisure because I am driven by different ideas about how I want to live, the legacy I want to leave and the lifestyle I want in my next decade.
We all have only 24 hours a day every day and how we choose to spend the time is a very personal decision.
I think everyone should give it all a try – from crazy working hours, to crazy leisure hours – and see what their best course is and be prepared to change it up whenever life opens up new options and possibilities.
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