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Balancing the Grind with Mirella Di Iorio, Director of Strategic Recruitment Group

Mirella Di Iorio is the founder and director of Strategic Recruitment Group, a Melbourne-based recruitment agency specialising in marketing, tech, creative & design, and more.

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

I was lucky enough to get accepted into Art School in the early 1990s, where I received my Diploma in Illustration. I was barely 19 years old, and I was already showing signs of someone who was extremely passionate about getting involved in projects and organising and bringing people together.

I have also worked in large multinationals dealing with clients who needed a lot of support. Over the years I have been lucky enough to be trained and mentored by some amazing leaders and fortunately that has meant I have been able to apply some of the lessons learnt in my current role. It was this passion for assisting others that ultimately led me to a career in Recruitment!

Now, as the director of my own recruitment agency, I am focused on helping startups, agencies and established companies with their business strategy and growth. It’s so rewarding to be able to have such a positive impact on the companies I work with. And let’s face it, recruitment is an incredibly important part of that growth!

In my current role, I oversee business development for the agency nationally, and we’ve had a terrific run in recent times, partnering with some of the country’s biggest and most significant brands.

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

Each day is different so an effective way for me to manage my time is to stay on top of daily routines, rituals, and habits. I like to start each day with exercise.

Before I begin each workday, I like to complete a scheduled Pilates class followed by a run, and then a coffee. Like a lot of people I am attached to emails so after a quick sort through the important and urgent, I try to dedicate my time to the important stuff. It’s a real challenge to stay focussed as we all know that distraction kills productivity.

For my workday, I find that dedicating time to accomplish a specific task, or group of tasks, helps lay out what and who I’ll work with and keeps me on track. For tasks that come in unexpectedly, I can adjust my time for the rest of the day or week.

I recently spent some time on a major search for one of my clients for a senior role they asked me to assist them with. That involved writing copy, posting to my network, a series of telephone conversations and zoom meetings.

It’s an exhaustive process and one where I am able to demonstrate my skills and experience. The day started early and finished late however I was still able to find time for me which is so important.

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

I’ve always been a big fan of working from home. Even though I go to the office almost daily, I find that when I work from home I’m able to get a lot more done and be incredibly productive.

The pandemic has forced the adoption of new ways of working. With remote work on the rise I see this fast becoming a new normal, the benefits it can bring to businesses and employees is empowering!

Work fits into my life and routine and that’s an important delineation. I love what I do and am so lucky that I have the flexibility I need to get things done.

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

Over the years I’ve learned that work-life balance is a critical ingredient to achieving success — for me that means taking regular breaks, stepping away from my desk and grabbing a coffee with a co-worker or friend and dedicating time during the week to exercise.

I’m also a very social person, so allocating time to spend with family and friends is very important to me. There is always something to be done and behind every engagement I have, there is a human who understands how important work life balance is.

When I am at my best is when I have managed to follow the 8-8-8 Rule (Work, Rest and Leisure) in equal proportion.

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

I have recently been learning about, and falling in love with, the idea of a “pivot”. It’s the idea that if you are getting resistance in one direction, you pivot and change directions to take a different path.

During COVID, I pivoted my business and took things into a totally new direction. I became the marketer for my company, and focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content — which, ultimately, led to new business opportunities in a very challenging market.

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

My all time favourite book is Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell, first published in 1936. My favourite reads are romance books, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and sci-fi. Another great read is Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.

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

Apple – I’ve been loyal to Apple products since the first Portable Apple computer was launched in 1984!

WhatsApp, Slack, Evernote and Zoom are my go to applications for keeping organised and on top of communications at work

Health apps – 7, a daily 7 minute workout app, the Adidas running app, and Smiling Mind for meditation

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

Coco Chanel for many reasons. She is a global icon, and has so much class and has managed to stand the test of time across many generations.

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

In the last few months, I’ve met with a lot of job seekers, and have been asking about the ‘right’ amount of remote working days for them.

The majority are saying that working from home at least 1-2 days a week is preferred! For many people, it’s the perfect balance between in-person collaboration with workmates and focussing on work at home.

As we look forward to the future of work and employment, I would suggest for companies to offer more flexibility and more remote working days to their employees and to start building workforces around that.

Anecdotal evidence supports a healthy mix of work and play means both benefit. Companies that are known for promoting a good work-life balance have a better reputation and are able to attract higher-caliber talent.

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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.