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Balancing the Grind with Melissa Overman, General Manager of Consumer Growth at News Corp Australia

Melissa Overman is the General Manager of Consumer Growth at News Corp Australia, where she looks after sites like news.com.au, Kidspot and Body + Soul.

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

My career started in magazines. I worked for CLEO (may she rest in peace!) and many other women’s titles on some very fun projects such as Bachelor of the Year. I got into what was a hard industry at the time because my cousin was a security guard at the ACP Park Street offices and negotiated work experience for me. So I guess I owe my big break to him!

I made the jump to digital early and worked for a digital startup which is where I really cut my teeth doing everything from writing content to creating products to marketing.

I’ve had several roles since then crafting content, product and engagement strategies for audiences across a variety of news and lifestyle titles in digital, print, TV and radio. I have worked on some fantastic brands such as Foxtel, Nova and news.com.au and I love the fast pace of media.

There is nothing like being in a newsroom when huge news is breaking. I’ll never forget working through tragedies such as the Sydney Siege and triumphs such as the same sex marriage vote. 

Right now I am the General Manager of Consumer Growth at News Corp Australia looking after the growth of digital audiences for sites like news.com.au, kidspot.com.au and bodyandsoul.com.au. It’s an ever evolving role that now takes in subscriptions which is a whole new horizon.

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

Sometimes I feel like I have lived a whole day before I have even started work! I have a 5-year-old and a 3-year-old so things are hectic in the morning.

I try to keep my work to work hours because otherwise I am only paying attention 50% of the time anyway but I always check the news sites when I wake up and then listen to podcasts on the way to work. 

Once at work I am mostly in meetings with our team about how the audience was the day before and what we can do better today.

It’s not just about audience growth anymore, it’s about loyalty, habits, consumer journeys, feedback. The data we now have available means we can get so much more nuanced about how to deliver people what they want.

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 now because of COVID. I currently work from home two days a week which has cut out up to 1.5 hours of travel each day. But I have always only worked four days a week since having kids. I negotiated this on my return to work and am very glad I was able to.

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

Work- life balance to me means loving what you do and doing what you love. If you are passionate and energised by work and life then that’s winning.

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

I’ve started running. I use the Couch to 5km app and I find it’s the only fitness I have been able to stick to because I get to listen to music, go when I like and get a good workout. It’s still bloody hard though. 

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

I am into self help books at the moment. I recently read Glennon Doyle’s Untamed which was amazing. I also recommend Julia Baird’s Phosphorescence and The Happiest Man on Earth by Eddie Jaku.

I listen to the news.com.au From The Newsroom podcast every morning for my news update and I also love the Chat 10 Looks 3 podcast by Leigh Sales and Annabel Crabb. I also read Quartz newsletters religiously on various topics. 

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

No thank goodness! 

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

Right now? Kamala Harris. But I’m pretty intrigued by people who start their own business or write books while running jobs and families because it’s something I would like to do one day.

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

Everyone can have days off but try to live your best life with others.

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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.