Sandra Aloi is the Director & Founder of The Bureau of Business, a Melbourne-based national creative and branding agency specialising in marketing, public relations, media relations, communications and events management.
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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
Throughout my professional career I have protected and enhanced the reputation of multinational organisations servicing markets in Australia, New Zealand, Asia Pacific and North American regions.
I have worked in advocacy, brand strategy, government policy, media, marketing, and public relations where my work has contributed to shaping national policy on matters impacting manufacturing, energy and innovation.
Today, I am a Director and Founder of a branding and creative agency in Melbourne, the Bureau of Business. Our unique focus is to bring brands to life – where it really matters.
We cut to the purpose of a brand to unlock its simple truth, then develop strategies to solve problems for brands and drive growth for the business.
It’s through my keen interest in enhancing the reputation of brands, that I bring this unique practice alongside my team of creative strategists to improve the way brands connect and impact the world we live.
My work is distinct and reflects my passion and deep beliefs in making a difference. It’s also what gets me out of bed each morning. Sometimes too early.
2) What does a typical day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
I wake up about 5.00am with my cat purring in my face (in a feline way) saying, ‘good morning mummy’. I make a cup of earl grey tea, feed the cat and get on my news feeds for the day.
There is no such thing as a typical day for me. I often get into work mode around 7.00am from home; I find I am more productive than when I am in the office. When I go into the office, it’s usually around 9.30am.
My office has systems in place, so we can control varying workflows. Whether it be managing an event, steering communication narratives or coordinating food styling photoshoots all at the same time. It all seems to miraculously work.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
For me, great purpose and joy comes from learning and solving the myriad of problems that a business delivers.
The sole reason I am in a position to go to work from home, is the amazing team of four creative strategists I have in the business.
Our philosophy is to ‘bring brands to life’. It’s at the forefront of everything we do for our clients and drives every decision we make.
That’s why, we only want the best people working for us. By getting the best, then giving the team room to thrive, allows me to have the flexibility to do what I want to do, instead of ‘needing to do’.
4) Do you have any tips, tricks or shortcuts to help you manage your workload and schedule?
Organisation is the key, making sure you always catch up once a week with your core group, albeit, your team members, family or friends to ensure everyone knows what everyone is up to for the week ahead.
I diarise everything. If it is not in my diary, it does not happen.
I love news but don’t always have the time, so I subscribe to media outlets including The Australian, CNN, BBC and SkyNews for the daily updates, latest news, debates and discussions about what is happening in Australia and around the world.
I am quite organised, but occasionally things fall through the cracks.
5) What does work life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
Now I am older and have great people in the business I can spend time for me to reenergise and recharge my creativity- and be a better person for it. I love the working environment.
When you are surrounded by smart and driven executives it is exciting to work with these people where we can make a difference and bring brands to life!
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?
I want to help others reach their dream, just like I’m living mine. I have established a program, #befabulous – where we help boys and girls aged 8 to 14 years overcome adversity to follow their dream.
We hope to get this ‘fabulous’ program into schools around the country. The Mind of Femme is another initiative (soon to be released) where I focus on themes women care about.
We provide the tools women can use to feel better about themselves to make a positive difference to their lives and in the lives of others.
From the recent passing of my sister to Cancer, I have realised that life is a gift. It’s up to each and every one of us to find our purpose in order to live the life we are destined to live.
So, I am wanting to help others do the same. It is through my programs, I aim to become a leading voice that connects our community with like-minded change makers or inspirational leaders – who are making a difference for a better future.
Our programs range from school-based activities, podcasts, corporate programs, health & fitness collaborations, in conversation events – to name a few.
7) Are there any books that have helped you improve over the years?
There are so many, but the one that started it all for me was, Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action, by Simon Sinek.
8) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?
Every day, I try to make a difference to someone’s life. No matter how big or small. And, I always say, thank you.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
Final thought is to get involved in a cause that is important to you. As you become aware of the people around you, you will start to feel a deeper appreciation for what you do have.
And finally, we’ve all heard the phrase, “don’t sweat the small stuff”. The age-old idiom implores us to let go of the little things – there are bigger things that are worth our energy.
And it’s the truth. If you remain focused on your goals, you won’t lose momentum when little challenges come your way.
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