Interviews

Balancing the Grind With Caitlin Turner, Senior Community Manager at Equiem

June 21, 2019

Caitlin Turner is a Senior Community Manager at Equiem, global property technology and services company based in Melbourne. Prior to Equiem, Caitlin worked as a Marketing Coordinator at ING Australia.

Balance the Grind had a great conversation with Caitlin about her multi-faceted role at Equiem, engaging with different communities, her tips and tricks to managing a busy workload, and more.

This conversation is brought to you by Teachable, a powerful yet simple all-in-one platform to create and sell beautiful online courses.

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

I completed a Bachelor of Business degree majoring in Marketing and Event Management. Originally after high school I wanted to pursue a career in advertising or journalism.

I like being creative. I like words and clever ways of delivering communication. Marketing just felt like a great combination between the two that just gelled really well.

I’ve kind of made it a bit of habit to only seek roles and opportunities that I am sincerely passionate about or have a personal interest in, from volunteering, internships, and/or part-time roles – virtually anything to give me an insight into the industry.

I never do what people say that I should be doing. The first year out of uni was a bit of a blur, with a very steep learning curve. It was the best. When you genuinely care about what you are doing, it reflects in your work and in your overall happiness and well-being.

Prior to starting with my current employer, I was a Marketing Coordinator within the retail industry.

2) What is your current role and what does it entail on a day to day basis?

I am a Senior Community Manager at Melbourne-based company, Equiem. I work in the marketing and digital content realm where we literally roll-out a pretty amazing platform that engages tenants with an experience that delights and improves their daily working lives.

We provide valuable insights and highlights to building owners on their tenants aka their communities. We take the assumption and guesswork out of what they think that their tenants might want, as opposed to the data that we can provide to support it.

We hold events, we give them a space to network, we create positive experiences and communities. In other words, this project speaks volumes to me. I am the biggest advocate for work/life balance. I also know that sometimes one can overlap the other and that’s OK. It’s more about feeling good about where you are and what you’ve done.

My role is multifaceted and a bit of a juggling act. It involves interacting and managing a community through various marketing and event management initiatives – online and offline. Connecting with a community via content creation and event management.

Collaborating and building relationships with key tenants and retail partners. I know. I get dizzy just reading it. I often forget about all of the things that I actually do in some of those ‘grey areas’ until I look back and find myself being like ‘OH YEAH, that too’.

At the moment, I feel very fortunate to be working alongside tenants such as Google, Nike, Deliveroo and Treasury Wine Estates. Not to mention, The Mulberry Group, Kate Reid’s amazing Lune Croissanterie with our retailers Gucci and Versace.

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

Shower, music and coffee – are my morning gods. A shower in the morning for me is a must. If I haven’t had a shower in the morning, I don’t feel awake. I don’t feel alert. I am usually pretty good at getting out of bed.

I try and ‘just do’ rather than think about the process of actually-getting-out-of-bed. I probably play the same songs on my Spotify most mornings, or I’ll listen to a Podcast. Most mornings though, I find myself waking up smiling to a cute message that one of my friends living overseas has sent me overnight.

I like to pace myself in the morning. Create my own quiet time. I don’t like the sense of rushing to work. If I can, I’ll walk part of the way or I’ll make it a thing to go for a walk on my lunch break. Rushing equals unnecessary stress for me.

Everyday is different but also consistent. It often feels that ‘every Monday, Tuesday etc.’ I’ll do a certain number of core recurring tasks that I need to do to set myself up and sorted for the rest of the week ahead.

Preparing curated content, checking emails, platform management, following up on retailer promotions, reporting and stakeholder management are just some of the everyday things that I do. I also do a lot of research.

Research for the months and seasons ahead. Each community that I’ve ever engaged with obviously has a different list of likes and dislikes that I love to uncover and then deliver on.

I often always try and visit each tenant rep and retailer at some point during the day too. I think personal touch points is important. Despite having a desk in the Building Management office, I rarely base myself there.

You can usually find me working in the lobby. Which initially surprises people. I think being in a Community Manager role, it is always vital to be able to see what is happening on the ground level and to be seen.

To see in action how the community is coming into work, their routines and their pain points. I think body language is also often overlooked. I find that developing a rapport with people has to happen organically and being in an office all day doesn’t give me that scope or exposure. I thoroughly love what I do.

I am definitely that person that still finds the time to intermittently interrupt my work mates to ask those really important, hard hitting questions like ‘oh hey, where do you think that guy from that show is doing with his life now? You know THAT guy’?’ or I’ll WhatsApp my mates about a particular wild thought that I’ve just had. P.S How good is WhatsApp?

I don’t often sit at a traditional working desk either. I prefer standing rather than being seated for most of the day. I’m also desperately trying to improve my posture!

4) Do you have any tips, tricks or shortcuts to help you prioritise your workload?

I think everyone knows what works best for them. It can be a bit of process to find your own working groove! During uni I had a high-distinction average and used to do my best exam studying much later at night for only a solid couple of hours, sitting on my bedroom floor with some scribbled notes.

I’d then arrive at uni and see hoards of people doing my course that would have highlighted pages of their textbooks, nicely typed lecture notes and had been studying from the early morning, and it made me think – should I be doing that too?

I realised fairly quickly that I wanted to work smarter and not harder. That. And, also I quite liked sitting on the floor. Ha. I just feel that successful people don’t need to tell or show people that they are successful. It’s evident.

I know that for me, I flourish in environments where it is busy, there is natural light, I see people, I hear noise and hustle and bustle and I love it. It is probably the reason that I loved living in New York, I usually would do some of my best work in a busy cafe or hall. I’m not one to sit in a quiet space.

A few things that I know that I do (subconsciously/consciously) include:

Setting alarms on my phone – I am a big alarm setter. For meetings, to buy gig tickets, to make a dentist appointment and/or cancel said dentist appointment.

To do lists – I used to be obsessed with them. Then the lists got outtta conTROL. So, I’ve opted for a notebook. It feels cathartic making a list and crossing off items once the task is done.

Agenda/diary/calendar – Whatever you call it. I would literally perish without mine. I write everything and anything that I need to do, have coming up, events etc in it. I still write in it with a pencil and eraser. I also use it to schedule and organise ahead of time dates, seasons and events that could assist my work and overall calendar of engagement.

Save notes/ideas/thoughts in a draft on my phone – I often find that my most creative ideas happen when I am not at work. I’m either at the gym or in the shower, out and about, buying a salmon bagel that comes at the price of a return flight to Bali yadda yadda yadda, so I quickly bookmark them.

I have a long string of random words saved in drafts. It could be something from an idea for work to a quick reminder for me to return a friends call. My favourite ones are usually left at 2am. One time I left one that just said ‘oppa gangnam style’.

Stakeholder expectations – I am one of many working insync with a wider team. Each team has their own set of deadlines and demands. I try and think of what I need to do for them and prioritise.

Each role we play, plays another significant role in the work productivity of another person and/or team.

Declutter – I usually work with the bare minimum. If I see mess, my brain becomes a mess.

5) In between your job, life and all your other responsibilities, how do you ensure you find some sort of balance in your life?

I try to have a balance by making time for me. Making time to be active. Go for a walk. Go to the gym. Write. Self reflect. Turn off the phone and just think. Or not think. I usually often have a jam-packed week either at work or socially or both but I always make some alone time for me.

I think ahead a lot. Perhaps, not plan, but definitely think ahead of what I might need to do in the next couple of weeks. I feel if I do that, than I can kind of play life Tetris and know when I might need to shuffle things around or make time for something else during a busy period.

It’s so cliche but ‘two birds, one stone’. I’m a big believer in it. I like to utilise my time wisely. I’ll reply to a friend and catch up on our Whatsapp group while I am waiting on my morning coffee in a cafe. Or, I’ll collect one thing if it is in the same direction as another thing. That kind of thing.

I try to focus on my short term self with a glimpse also at my long term self. I orbit between the two.

6) What are some of the things you do to take time out and recharge?

I go out, I see people, I do things. Each week is different. It really depends on the week. I have a few different friendship groups that I float between.

Some live scattered in various cities overseas and some live local. They don’t always know each other and I’ve often thought about holding a soiree and inviting them all (even though that thought also leaves me with a little anxiety).

But then, I have another thought. I quite like that I get to see each of them during different times of the week or days or on certain occasions. I’ve never really been that person that sees the same group of friends each week.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I just feel that if you constantly surround yourself with the same people and talk about the same things than you become at the risk of limiting the amount of new ideas and perspectives that can be gained.

I’m naturally a pretty curious person and I seek that stimulation of something/somebody totally different to me. I’m open to it. I love someone that leaves me thinking of something that they’ve just said. I find the ordinary, extraordinary.

You can usually find me having a drink with mates. Either that, or wandering around an art gallery and listening to Spotify.

I also probably waste a little bit of time zoning out posting some dumb bullshit on social media for a bit of fun. I’ll reply to someone on Whatsapp, and then send a photo to someone else on Facebook Messenger to then text message someone via SMS. The number of avenues for communication is wild.

I love to travel. I know everyone says that, but it definitely rings true to me. The sights, smells, getting lost in a city, exploring, discovering – ahhhhh. Everything. Sometimes I get so overwhelmed by being in a new city. Like, there is just no time to waste!

My interests are, however, always changing (as you can probably already tell!). A friend and I are also memorising the dance moves from Janet Jackson’s ‘Rhythm Nation’. So, there’s that too. Ha.

7) What do you think are some of the best habits you’ve developed over the years to help you strive for success and balance?

  • Probably making sure that I get enough sleep!
  • Avoiding the words ‘too busy’. We are ALL busy. It’s not a competition.
  • Being transparent.
  • Being positive.
  • Continuing to learn.

8) Are there any books you’ve read that have helped you with work-life balance?

I can’t recall a particular book that I’ve read on the subject. I think that I usually gain an insight from interviews or columns. Another way is usually through conversations with people. I find that far more enriching sometimes than through the traditional academia.

9) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?

I’m a minimalist. I like to keep things simple and organised.

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