Belinda White is the Director of Marketing and Communication at Qualitas Group.
With nearly 20 years experience in the communications industry, Belinda has built an extensive career in corporate communications and media strategy, with a strong focus on financial services.
Balance the Grind spoke to Belinda about doing her first internship during the Sydney Olympics, her role at Qualitas Group, running a finance blog, powerlifting, sleep hacks and more.
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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your background and career?
I started in corporate and financial PR back in 2000. I remember my internship was during the Sydney Olympics! It was a small agency run by the amazing Viv Hardy, who gave me a lot of responsibility from the outset.
I spent a couple of years in London living my ‘literary career’ dream before I got sick of being poor and came back to corporate PR. I then joined Tom Buchan at Buchan Consulting, where I stayed for nearly eight years.
He was a fantastic mentor and taught me so much about business and writing, and fostered my interest in economics and finance.
I became more specialised in finance, ending up at Honner, where I did a lot of work for fund managers. That was how I met the Qualitas team, and I moved from consultant to employee.
2) What is your current role and what does it entail on a day to day basis?
I have a broad remit as Director, Marketing & Communications. That includes everything from digital marketing to investor events, through to media relations and investor communication. Essentially I am there to build and protect the brand.
3) What does a typical day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
I like to workout before work, so I am in the gym by 7am.
When I get to the office I make a coffee first and always start the day reading the newspapers, putting together a ‘daily media wrap’ – the top 3-4 articles of relevance to the business, and any coverage of our firm. It goes to all staff.
Last week I was working with the team on a presentation for investors in our listed investment trust, so there were lots of conversations with the management team about what to include.
I also manage our content and thought leadership, so I put together a post-election update on the economic outlook, with a focus on property and construction.
And in between this I talked to our media agency about how our advertising is performing, signed us up to exhibit at an investor conference, and managed our LinkedIn page. So there is a big variety.
4) In between everything you do and all your responsibilities, how do you ensure you find some sort of balance in your life?
I look at my friends with kids and think I have it pretty easy from a time management perspective! But the main thing is to have a variety of interests beyond work, so you don’t feel like that’s your whole life. Balance doesn’t create itself; you have to put effort into it.
I run a finance blog, which is a good creative outlet, and attend a philosophy class once a week, am part of a book club.
And I get into the gym at least four days a week – I prefer powerlifting but am dealing with injury at the moment, so I have been mixing it up. I’m a massive news junkie too, so I spend a lot of time following local and international politics.
5) What are some of the things you do to take time out and recharge?
In addition to the above, I make sure I get out of the city regularly. I live in Surry Hills and work in the CBD, so it’s easy to stay in a bubble.
Luckily I have one parent who lives down the coast, one in the Blue Mountains, and my best friend lives on the Central Coast.
So I’m spoilt for choice on weekend getaways! I especially love the beach, and make sure I maximise my time there.
6) Are there any gadgets, tools or products can’t you live without?
OMG if I don’t diarise everything, from work to social events, I am a total hot mess. So my phone diary is number 1. I’m not big on gadgets but I am addicted to my FitBit, of course – especially the sleep tracker.
One of the best sleep hacks I have is a podcast called Sleep with Me, where this guy just tells boring stories. If I wake up at 3am, he helps me get back to sleep so fast.
I also know if I am waking up at 3am frequently, it means I’m stressed. So I do a ‘Mindfulness Movement’ sleep meditation (from YouTube) before I fall asleep, and it’s magical.
7) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?
It’s such a predictable answer, but exercise. It regulates mood and energy so much. I am lucky that I can walk to work as well, so I get that downtime in between home and the office. I’m generally strict with sleep too, which is a luxury of the child free life, I realise. I prioritise it pretty highly.