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Interviews / Marketing & Advertising

Balancing the Grind with Mads Hallett, Head of Marketing at Mr Yum

Mads Hallett is the Head of Marketing at Mr Yum, a global web-based mobile ordering and payment platform based in Melbourne.

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

My career in Marketing started in Melbourne, Aus with the UberEats launch team. We grew to be the largest market in the world in my first 6 months. My manager and I built the playbook for launching new cities, and scaled that strategy to San Francisco when we built the first Eats global marketing team.

I had the opportunity to jump to New York, working on the global strategy on campaigns like Tonight I’ll Be Eating and learning the ropes of Marketing Operations with our VP of Marketing.

Similar to many expats, Covid-19 and the political tensions in the US brought me home in late 2021. I was intro’d to Kim Teo, Mr Yum’s CEO, when I asked an ex-colleague who is doing cool things in food & hospo.

I came away from our first Saturday lunchtime zoom BUZZING. It was lockdown, and I was a fish out of water back in Melbourne, but I took the leap to head up our Marketing function and haven’t looked back.

We have a 90 person team, closed a $11M funding round and expanded to the US and UK this year, and I get the pleasure of working with some of the best venues in the world to help them go-digital with mobile menus and payments. 

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

Working across timezones is second nature to me, but it does make my days, umm, non traditional. Exercise, cooking (and sleeping!) depends on the day, but my favourite days are the ones I can wake up, do a short meditation, exercise and be at my desk with my fave smoothie bowl at about 8:30am to do an ‘email crush’ and tick off some of my biggest items with a fresh mind.

Many leaders and people managers have meeting-heavy days, but I find it helpful to accept that routine and maximise work ‘blocks’ outside of meetings. Mondays are pretty sacred to me, focused on setting myself and the team up for success, as are Fridays. If Tuesday-Thursday is a blur, so be it, because at least we know what we’re running towards!  

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

Absolutely. We’re really proud to offer a trusting work environment where there are no questions asked about when and where your work happens, as long as you’re getting sh*t done!

I live a 25min walk to the office, so I love doing my emails and brain-heavy work until about 11am before walking into the office. In winter, I catch the last light of the day to walk home at 5:30pm and continue working from home. 

4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

Like many in the start-up world, I’m not striving for a black & white separation of ‘work’ and ‘life’. The many excellent people at Mr Yum mean it’s a positive environment and we all work to our own pace. 

My one mantra is “you can’t sprint all the time”. Startups love talking in sprints, but the industry is starting to finally talk more about what happens between sprints, and how we place the same value on marathon projects. Burnout is a scary and widespread phenomenon that we’re all responsible for helping to counter in our teams.  

5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

STARTED: Exercising at home! For me, at-home workouts aren’t just a Covid-19 thing. Even when gyms are open, I prefer a few runs a week with at home yoga and HIIT workouts. I can more easily manage my time and reduce the stress of darting around between gym classes.

STOPPED: Underestimating the time required to get back to something, properly. My sister gave me amazing advice to double my SLAs with non urgent tasks and switch “I’ll have that to you by tomorrow” to “I’ll have that to you on Friday.” Life changing. Makes the todo list much more manageable.

6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

Pod: For young women who want to learn about personal finance – She’s On The Money 

Pod: A classic for news (and because I miss New York!) – The Daily 

Pod: My friend’s latest project – As I Am 

Book: On tech workplace culture – Netflix No Rules Rules 

Book: For knowing your strengths – Managing Oneself 

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

Dixi! She’s a Slack widget that automates my team’s ‘standups’ and keeps us accountable to share our top 3 priorities for the week, and stick to them. And Strava – I don’t know how they do it, but I’ll always add the extra kms if Strava tells me the milestone is (literally) just around the corner.

8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?  

Beyonce. 

Joking! But I do have a running joke with my team that “if Beyonce has the same 24 hours in a day that we do, there are no excuses!” 

Being in the hospitality industry, I hope that forums like this can make more room to spotlight chefs, venue managers and publicans in the industry, and hear how they balance it all.

9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

Be kind to yourself. Writing this in July 2021, we’ve all had stressors and new info hurled at us in the last 12 months. You’re doing a good job!

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About Author

Balance The Grind gives me a platform to talk to these people about how they're achieving their ideal lifestyle. I'm inspired by the passion, the work ethic, the hustle; and these conversations motivate me to live life the way I want to live it.