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Balancing the Grind with Renata Barbosa, Head of Integrated Content at DDB Group Australia

Renata Barbosa is the Head of Integrated Content at DDB Group Australia where she works across brands like McDonald’s, Westpac, Volkswagen, Kmart, Netflix, 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 in my second year at uni in Brazil when I landed my first job at an agency as a PR intern, at what was at the time the biggest advertising agency in São Paulo, MPM Lintas.

Soon after that I secured a full-time position in the Account Service department, and 4 years later found myself quitting my job to travel around Australia, where I am to this day.

I have since worked at some of the most iconic agencies in the industry such as McCann, JWT, Campaign Palace, Leo Burnett and Saatchi & Saatchi.

I’m currently the Head of Integrated Content at DDB Group Australia where I manage a large team of broadcast and print producers, motion graphics editors and sound engineers across the Sydney and Melbourne offices, working with some of the largest and most influential brands in the country – McDonald’s, Westpac, Volkswagen, Coles, Kmart, J&J, Netflix, Dulux, Porsche, LinkedIn to name a few.

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

My workdays vary drastically depending on the projects I am working on. But regardless of how busy I’m, I usually start my days around 6am reading overnight emails, checking the news headlines and having a skim across a couple of social media platforms.

When I can, I also try to squeeze in an online exercise session before getting my boys ready for school.

Even though we are still operating under a very flexible WFH approach, most of the agency is back in the office now, and with that the buzz and culture are also back, which is great.

So when I’m not working from home I like to use my drive to work to make early calls to production partners or agency colleagues about the most pressing projects we might be working on.

Once at the agency, I grab a quick coffee and breakfast at our DDB Café and I either go straight into client and management meetings or take time to have one-on-one chats with the producers and editors. Although we are a large production team, probably one of the largest in Australia, I like to make time to bounce ideas and keep up to date with the projects going through the department.

We can go through extremely busy periods where we might have anything from 3 to 4 campaign shoots happening in the same week, so it is important I stay close to the team and offer any support I can during those busy times.

Lunch if often spent reading the latest industry news at my desk or sitting with the team on the agency’s terrace.

The afternoon often flies by between meetings, multiple calls, catching up with the Melbourne office over Teams, or getting work out the door.

I like to be home in time for dinner with the family around 6:30pm and have a play with the kids and our two dogs. During summer I also like to go for a long work after work to clear my head. I’m lucky enough to live in Sydney’s Northern Beaches and be 5 minutes from some of the best parks and beaches in the world.

Bedtime is never before 11pm for me. My partner and I either watch a series on Netflix or I read articles I saved on my phone along the day before switching off for the night.

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

As a producer we are trained to work mostly remotely anyway, as we are constantly out on shoots or at post and sound sessions. So even though the remote working circumstances are slightly different now, at DDB Sydney we have mastered a really nice balance between WFH vs in the office.

When I’m working on a particular project that requires my undivided attention for long periods of time, or if I have multiple budgets and timelines to work through as well as watch remote streaming of one of our shoots, I might opt to WFH to avoid distractions and interruptions.

But whilst WFH can be beneficial at times, nothing beats the feeling of being amongst the team at the office on a busy day.

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

Work-life balance means different things to different people, especially in the Advertising world. For me it means being present when I’m at home. I love what I do, and my team knows they can reach me anytime. But unless the phone rings when I’m home, which actually doesn’t happen that often, I’m focused on my children. I try to completely switch off when I’m at home.

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

At home we completely moved to online shopping for our groceries, which saves us so much time to do other activities around the house or with the kids. And also took the stress out of the whole process.

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

Probably a bit controversial, but I never really got into podcasts, and having small children meant books took a second stage for a while. But I do like to keep up with documentaries and movies, so we do sign up for most of the current streaming services.

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

Probably my laptop and phone, as well as my NutriBullet and Spotify.

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

A famous brain surgeon.

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

What works for you as work-life balance is not necessarily what works for others. So always respects what is important to everyone else around you.

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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.