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A Day In The Life: Venus Network and NZ Businesswomen CEO Carolyn Banks

What time do you wake up?

If I’m working out, 5am or 6am dependent on what the day is and what workout/class I’m doing.  I live on a boat and the weather sometimes wakes me up before the alarm goes off – so I have to be flexible!

What’s the ideal way to start your day?

I love starting the day working out, it puts me in a good head space and gets me revved up for the day. I also review my goals for the week to make sure I’m keeping myself on track.

Do you have any morning rituals?

Yes, I go over my meeting notes and ‘to do’ list from the day before. I find it a good way to keep on top of the 101 things that need to be done, it keeps momentum up and ensures everything keeps moving forward.

How soon do you begin doing work-related things, i.e. checking phone or emails?

By 6.30/7am, post workout.

What’s your media consumption or interaction like from the morning onwards – do you listen to podcasts, radio, watch videos, read books and magazines, visit new sites?

I usually check the local paper (online) to see what’s happening in the world and locally. I also do the mandatory social media catchup first thing in the morning.

What kind of work do you do?

I’m the CEO of Venus Businesswomen’s Network and NZ Businesswomen.

What responsibility does that involve in a typical day? What takes up most of your time?

My main responsibilities on a day to day basis is to ensure that Venus runs according to our values and that we are producing a quality environment for our businesswomen to grow and learn about business. Typically, I spend half the day slaving over a hot laptop and the other half out and about meeting members, promoting Venus and also talking with businesses that are interested in working with Venus moving forward.

My typical day is currently busier than normal as we plan our inaugural NZ Businesswomen’s Conference (taking place in October). My time is split between business as usual and staying across all aspects of the conference, which includes confirming and liaising with speakers, working with sponsors and ensuring everything is tracking as it should.

Who do you see/talk to?

My days are very social catching up with members and businesswomen (as mentioned above).

Where do your best ideas come from?

The best idea’s normally come out of conversations with people about Venus/NZ Businesswomen, or when my brain is quiet between 2-4am, oh and while walking my poodle Tilly and listening to music! I also get a lot of creatively by living on the water as it calms my mind which is good for creativity.

What are the most important tools or programmes you use for your work?

Our membership system and also Office 365. We have managers all over New Zealand, so it makes it very easy to work together online.

How do you juggle all your responsibilities?

By being very well organised! I also outsource work that isn’t my key skillset to others who usually enjoy it and do it better than me.  Ultimately I manage everything but I realised very early on I’m not superwoman or perfect!

What kind of breaks do you take throughout the day?

I love what I do so I really don’t feel the need for breaks. Although sometimes I just want to walk away from my desk for a while and walk the dog, have lunch or if I’m really naughty sometimes I’ll watch a TV programme online. It gives my brain a holiday and then I come back refreshed to whatever needs to be done.

What’s the most enjoyable part of your day?

The parts of it I spend meeting with people. I’m a people person – that’s when I feel the most alive.  It also keeps me on my toes and my brain working hard which weirdly I love!

What about the least enjoyable?

I can’t think of anything really. If I don’t like doing something and it can be done better by someone else I’ll get them working on it for me. I don’t like all the administrative stuff and to a certain extent as CEO I still need to stay involved and make decisions on things, so I suppose that’s the least enjoyable.

Do you procrastinate? Is it good or bad?

We recently had this as a discussion topic in Venus. Procrastination can be good and bad. My attitude is to ‘eat the frog’ – do the thing you don’t want to do the most first, the rest of the day is then a breeze.  Procrastination can be good in a sense though, I often find if I can’t bring myself to do something it is for a good reason and procrastination can help me work out what that is.  I often ask myself why and then sometimes find out it’s because I’m not convinced it’s right for the business, or just really won’t work/doesn’t add any value.

Do you measure your accomplishments or productivity? If so, how?

No, not really, but a business mentor of mine has suggested this is something that would be good to do. I’m more a kinda of ‘done, what’s next?’ kinda gal!

Is there anything you think is unique about your day?

Yes, I get to meet a wide range of businesswomen from all sorts of backgrounds with all sorts of passions – that is the best thing about what I do.  I get to be involved in what they are doing and perhaps help by harnessing the power of Venus behind them – that’s what I love.

What’s your interaction with friends and family throughout the day? Can you be both a successful entrepreneur and a good mother/partner/friend?

Yes I think you can.  I interact regularly with my 90-year-old Dad and my friends, again it’s a case of being organised and by taking care of yourself you maintain the work/life balance.

Do you get stressed? If so, how do you manage it? Do you practice any mindfulness or meditation?

Bureaucracy drives me insane, how do I manage it – I get others to deal with it. I don’t mediate as such but when things get stressful I find classic music blaring really loud tends to dissipate stress for me, either that or a good hard workout!

What do you do once you get home? Can you switch off?

Usually log on one last time and tie up all the loose ends of the day, that then means I can relax knowing that I’ve got everything in hand and ready to tackle the next day.

What time do you go to sleep?

My light is usually out by 10pm.

NZ Businesswomen’s Conference is being held in Auckland on 26-27 October. For more information or to find tickets, click here.

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