Clementine Crowther is the Partner at Loam Partners, a public relations and brand consultancy that she started in 2019.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I am a founding partner of Loam Partners, a public relations and brand consultancy that helps businesses better connect with their communities. Loam is my business baby. I started the company in 2019 after nearly 15 years in agency.
Prior to launching Loam, I’d never really toyed with the idea of starting and running my own business, although I deeply admired the hustle and effort that went into building something from the ground up (thank you years of helping startups find their groove!). The stars aligned when we (my family and I) relocated to Perth in 2019. If I’m honest, it’s been the most rewarding thing professionally I’ve ever done.
During my years in agency I was lucky enough to work with some incredible companies and people. These experiences shaped who I am as a practitioner and the types of clients we partner with.
Loam is built on the qualities I value most; transparency, empathy and passion. When I’m in work mode I bring my authentic, straight-shooting, overly passionate self to the work I do, clients I support and the team I employ.
Together we geek out on innovation that is changing the world for better; one person, business and planet at a time — and it’s awesome! Australia is a hotbed of creativity and boundary pushing thinking. Shaping the agenda / conversation supporting this progression with similarly minded, strategic thinkers is a total joy. I’m lucky that I get to help conscious brands doing cool, innovative things shape and tell purposeful stories.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
No day is ever the same. In addition to running Loam, I am mum to two young boys who keep me on my toes.
My mornings typically start with cuddles, a few episodes of Bluey and breakfast. While the boys eat, I check my emails and diary for the day, as well as pack their daycare bags. After drop off, I either travel to our co-working space or set up in my home office.
One of the joys of being Perth based is that most people are in full swing when I log on, so it’s easy to hit the ground running.
I’m my most energetic and focused first thing, so I typically start by completing a few big ticket items that I know I need to power through. I also cradle a coffee. What I’m actually working on varies depending on the week — some days it’s a brand strategy or media relations programs. Others it’s new business proposals or meeting interesting industry folk, which I do a lot of through my president role with PRIA WA.
The main thing I try to do is be really purposeful with my time. Often I fail, but the intention is there!
I try to finish for the evening by a reasonable hour to enjoy some quality time with my monkeys and a glass of wine with my other half, before it all starts again! Of course, if I’m totally honest, I also log back on for a few hours when everyone is in bed because that’s life as a small business owner.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
It certainly does! Being present for my boys is really important to me. In fact, it’s the most important thing. I don’t hide from clients that I am a working mum, as are a few people on my team, and with that comes some strange but wonderful differences.
I’m upfront about the fact that my week isn’t typically structured. I’m always there when clients need me (thanks to an incredible village of people supporting me), but I also don’t work nine to five, five days a week.
I don’t expect my clients to return my emails late at night or on the weekend (unless they want to), but I’m also pretty headstrong about setting expectations and delivering to deadlines. I believe Loam is successful as the best work happens through collaboration, transparency and accountability — not similar hours.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
This might be an unpopular opinion but I think the key to achieving true work life balance is admitting that you’re probably not going to actually ever really achieve it! As Oprah said, “You can have it all, just not all at once.”
Sure, there are things you can do to make sure that the scales don’t tip too far in one direction, but there are only so many hours in the day. There will be seasons of family, seasons of ambition, seasons of downtime and seasons of total chaotic madness.
I think having some form of harmony starts with knowing what your priorities are, and then making sure your people share (or at least welcome) those priorities. For me, it’s making sure that those priorities, in my case my little people and husband, always get their ‘mummy/wife’ fill.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
In addition to COVID, I had a baby ten months ago so it’s a big yes here! I’m still a slave to nap times and breastfeeding.
Loam has also really only come into its own in the last six months, once I started to go back to work after my youngest’s birth. So the ‘working for myself’ routine is relatively new. Like everyone in a similar boat, I’m figuring it out as I go.
That said, having a dedicated workspace is really important. Also getting dressed in work clothes, even if I’m only going to our studio.
Switching off from 5pm to do dinner, bath, books and genuine family time is also a big one for me. I also have dedicated ‘no work days’ where I give the boys my full attention. I try to do this at least twice a week (and make up that time over the weekend / in evenings if needed).
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
Absolutely! In my ears it’s We Don’t Have Time For This. A poddy by two very relatable, working mums juggling their careers and family lives. The stuff they discuss is raw and personal but also hilarious. It is a must listen for anyone deep in the intersection between ambition and parenthood.
I’m also currently reading and loving Tim Duggan’s Cult Status. Others on my hit list include Clare Press’ Rise & Resist, Miki Agrawal’s Disrupt-Her: A Manifesto for the Modern Woman and Jamila Rizvi’s Not Just Lucky.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
Can I say my slow cooker or coffee machine?
To be honest, I’m not a big personal app or gadget girl. I’ve heard some wonderful things about the email service SuperHuman and I’m intending to try it.
I’m also mad for Canva and Over when it comes to creating easy and colourful social posts. The ABC Kids app and Disney+ are also high on my must have list (huge sanity savers when the time calls for it!).
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
I feel a little obvious saying Jacinda Ardern as I know she’s the popular choice of late but she’s such a superpower, I would love to read more about her day-to-day life. I admire her greatly.
I love reading about women who are giving the world their all in the hope of creating something better. In addition to Balance The Grind, I enjoy The Grace Tales, Women’s Agenda and anything Zoe Foster Blake writes.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
- Nothing is more important than family, don’t take them for granted.
- Burnout is real. While the hustle is wonderful, it’s not a sustainable day-in, day-out. Make time for yourself or the universe will do it for you.
- Don’t work with people who treat you poorly. They’re not worth your time or energy. It’s not hard to be a considerate human.
- Learn from your mistakes, we all make them, but don’t dwell on them. Absorb, do better next time and move on.
- Always go out of your way to support others. Even your competitors. We’re all trying our best to make an impact. Be the person known for encouraging and celebrating the successes of those around you.
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