Take 5 with Pioneera is a series of micro interviews with key business leaders on wellness, leadership, productivity and workplace culture.
This week we’re taking 5 with Anna Fitzgerald.
Anna is a current mentor for the University of Sydney Genesis program, and working as a CMO advisor with for-purpose for-profit companies to create and deliver growth opportunities.
She most recently spent nearly 6 years at Prospa, helping the fintech to scale in Australia, enter New Zealand and then built a corporate affairs function. She has chaired the Corporate Affairs Advisory Group and the Working Capital Division for the Australian Finance Industry Association, where she led development of the online lenders Code of Lending Practice, successfully advocated for fintech access to the federal government’s various Coronavirus support programs, and worked on both of Prospa’s IPOs.
1. What does your workday routine look like?
Rain or shine I get up before 5.30am and walk my dog for an hour along the coastal walkway to North Bondi and back. Starting my day with fresh sea air and movement energises me, plus I love my small interactions with all the regulars I see every morning. I grab a coffee on my way home, make breakfast and sit down at my desk. If it’s a day in the office, I jump in the car as fast as possible to beat the traffic.
Once I’m working, I make a list of the key things I need to accomplish for the day and get started. I get up and go for a walk every hour, even if it’s round the house/office to get water. I’ll finish up between 6 and 7 and then shop for and cook our family dinner.
2. How do you stay focused and maintain a positive mindset when things get crazy busy?
For focused thinking, I keep my Airpods in so I’m not distracted. I have a playlist called ‘working music’ with tracks I know so well they’re background noise while my brain is ticking. I’ve learned to “self soothe” if I feel things getting stressful, which means consciously taking hold of myself - even if just for a few seconds - and focusing on my breathing. I’m a huge believer in positive visualisation.
3. What are your three must-haves for a healthy work-life integration? And why?
A strong sense of purpose:
I believe in having a clear guiding philosophy for our lives that reflects who we are and our values. Knowing ourselves means we can show up in demonstrating our values, be brave even when things are tough, and not feel lost or powerless.
Acknowledging how you’re feeling - whether that’s good or bad, and being kind to yourself. Don’t engage in negative self talk but be your own best supporter. Embrace your imperfections. Think about the possible, not the perfect outcomes. We all do so much better when we feel confident, so give yourself that gift. And apply the same principle to others.
Somehow exercise always puts everything in perspective. I do it everyday. More if needed!
4. What’s your top tip for creating a thriving workplace culture?
A workplace culture thrives when the leaders are able to create and communicate a clear guiding purpose that reflects their personal values, and then live those values - demonstrating them everyday. People will notice what you do, not what you say. Actions speak louder than values printed out and posted on the wall. So leaders should try and be consistent, keep promises, build great relationships, and foster an environment where people can bring their whole selves to work. This engenders trust. And with trust comes passionate followers.
5. How do you bounce back when things don’t go as planned?
Give it some time. Then take a little more time to reflect on what I can do better next time. No one is perfect and everything is a learning opportunity. In fact, I’ve always learned more from my failures (perhaps because I reflect more on those than the wins!).
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