Kendall Flutey is the co-founder and CEO of Banqer, a financial education platform used by over 180,000 primary and secondary school students around Australasia.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
My professional background is quite the winding path.
Following university I landed a job as a graduate big four accountant. That really didn’t work for me on a number of levels so I quit after only six or so months. I then retrained as a software developer, and worked as a Ruby on Rails developer before founding Banqer.
Eventually, Banqer pulled me across full time when my role as CEO has evolved (over the last six years) from doing a bit of everything, to now being more focused on our strategic direction. I also tend to assume the role of company spokesperson (for better or worse!), and we’re still a pretty small team (nine people) so I dabble in the likes of product too.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
Despite the focus on strategy my days can still vary wildly, due to the fact we have a few strategic streams open in experimentation mode.
Some commonalities between my days would be external meetings with really interesting people (either in the education, start-up, or finance space), internal product team meetings, working with an external contractors we’ve got supporting us on strategic initiatives, and then a lot of research, documentation, spreadsheeting, or meetings with our COO.
Then I’d usually have some kind of talk/workshop/presentation once a fortnight at various scales, for various audiences. Typically I like to support youth/education initiatives.
I’m not into meditation or yoga, etc, so when I get home I’ll generally decompress by playing the guitar for a bit, albeit pretty badly.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
As a small team we like to be in person as much as possible, but the general rule of thumb is that if you need to work from home you can and should. I actually prefer working from the office majority of the time so I can allow myself time to disconnect from work.
Because of the nature of what we do, and its social impact, it’s easy for me to carry it everywhere – I really do love what I do. It’s really complex, interesting work, and creeps its way into my mind very easily. So the locationation separation is a bit of a cue for me to try and think about something else and lighten up!
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
I probably don’t think of work/life as a binary thing. I’m really into loving what you do. I quit my accounting job because I hated it, and I think because of my personality type, it really affected my wellbeing. I probably give a bit too much of myself to my work, but when there is alignment with my values then that can be magical.
The real reason I seek separation from ‘work’ at times is to ensure firstly, that I don’t burn out (sometimes without realising it), and secondly so I get to enjoy those I love and be a more interesting person for them.
5) What do you think are some of the best habits or routines that you’ve developed over the years to help you achieve success in your life?
These are less habits and more things I actively avoid, but they work for me:
- Don’t compare myself to others
- No cellphones in the bedroom or emails until I’m fully awake
- Don’t watch the news/pour time into news sites
- Dance in the living room more than I’d like to admit (along with not being able to play the guitar, I also can’t dance)
6) Are there any books that have helped you improve over the years?
I’m probably ringing strong nerd alarms now, but I’m a big Harry Potter fan, and there are a lot of lessons in there if you unpack it. Other than that, The Alchemist, The Great Gatsby, and Walden, all create a lot of room for self-reflection.
7) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?
I use a timesheet, much to the disgust of the former-accountant in me. It really helps me understand how I spend my time, the investment I’m making in various activities, and keeps me accountable.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
Probably a single mum who’s working full-time. It doesn’t matter what your job title is, they’ve probably got it harder.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
The turning point for me was getting intentional about it. Deciding what I valued in life, and being realistic about what that meant for me. That can be really confronting, especially when you’re on a bit of a career conveyor belt (like me as an accountant). Be brave, and lead with your values.
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