A Day in the Life of a Working Mom Using Timezones to Her Advantage: Meet Gina
Without the diverse, hardworking, intelligent, and kind people who make up our team, Shield wouldn’t be able to offer the level of service we do. At Shield, we love our team and know that our unique perspectives and backgrounds make us stronger while our common values connect us. That’s why each month, we love sharing our team’s stories through our A Day in the Life series, where we hope you can get to know our team a little better.
Shield GEO is now part of Velocity Global, the leading global work platform. In July of this year, Velocity Global announced its acquisition of Shield GEO, and over the following months, the two companies have been in the process of integrating their internal teams.
This month, we’re profiling Gina Stocks, who is currently leading our integrations with Velocity Global and was previously our Director of Operations. Gina lives in Sydney with her husband and three kids, Kai, Noah, and Emi.
Gina’s introduction to the Shield team came in a few different waves.
She first met our co-founder, Tim, at a co-working space in Sydney when the team was in its early stages.
“At the time, I was a full-time parent wanting to get back into doing some contract and freelance work,” Gina shares.
“He said he’d love to have some process thinking and some project management to kind of help them set up some structures around how they wanted to organize ourselves. And so I got in at the very early stages and was doing some project work with him.”
With a strong background in marketing, process development, and operational organization, Gina was able to set up critical internal processes, formalize relationships with local partners and put structure around messaging and marketing plans, all of which laid crucial foundations for the growth of the business.
After stepping away during her pregnancy with her second child, Tim and Gina reconnected again in 2019. Tim was in the process of building out the Shield compensation model and was, again, looking for some project support.
“The timing was perfect,” Gina says of the opportunity. “And so I came in to help set up Bamboo HR with Stella and Tim, helped set up and move the organization on to the new compensation model. And then some entity set up work with Duncan too.”
After about a year of managing these various projects, Tim suggested Gina join the team full time.
“He said to me, ‘I really want you to help manage these departments — HR, tech, marketing, finance, and ops, because I’m just really stretched, and those teams need a bit more structure than I’m able to get with them at the moment,'” she says. “And so I came in as the Director of Operations.”
In this role, Gina supported the department leads and helped establish processes and documentation to streamline the teams’ workloads. She continued in this position until July 2021, when Velocity Global announced the acquisition of Shield GEO, and Gina’s role began to shift once again.
Gina is now leading the integration efforts, liaising between the two companies to ensure a smooth transition for everyone.
“Integrations and acquisitions and mergers breed a lot of uncertainty, and there’s a lot of change which comes with a lot of instability and a lot of emotions,” Gina says.
“I just try and keep it really simple and back to basics. At the crux, what I’m trying to do is create as much clarity as possible amongst the change.”
She says developing clear roadmaps help, laying out important dates, and outlining what’s coming up next gives at least some sense of certainty.
“There’s a lot of moving parts at the moment, and I’m just trying to keep getting them into some sort of order,” she says.
Discovering her passion over time
While Gina’s roles may have shifted across departments and areas of focus, there was a common thread within them all.
“I really thrive on organization and structure and bringing clarity to things. I think that’s always underpinned a lot of the work that I’ve done, and I didn’t realize how prevalent it was until I started actually getting into operations,” she says. “I loved bringing organizational structure and clarity to processes and people and developing the systems around a combination of people, process, and technology.”
She says this even flows into her personal life, particularly in running a household and parenting three young children.
“I love creating systems. I know that sounds so nerdy, but when I’ve got three kids being two, four, and six, you have to, in a way,” she says. “There is so much chaos, but if you can bring some organization to that chaos [it helps].”
Of course, she knows this isn’t always possible.
“Kids at this age don’t have a timetable at all,” she says. “They have no concept of time, you know, things could just go haywire at any point and I need to be ready for that too.”
This is where flexibility in scheduling helps.
“I think [remote work is the] perfect scenario for me because I can have a meeting, keep the kids occupied on something, and then if they need me go, ‘Okay now, I wanted to work on this at two o’clock, but no way kids are ready for it, I’ll work on it when they’re asleep instead,'” she reflects. “I’ve loved that Tim has been very supportive because he would say, ‘I don’t care when you get the work done, you know when the deadline is, and you just do what works.'”
A Day in the Life of Gina
Woken by the tsunami that is my kids who I sometimes think have snuck into the kitchen and had a dose of coffee. They are ready to start the day!
Get the kids fed. Chase them around the house trying to get clothes on bodies, teeth brushed and shoes on feet. Often feels like a mad rush like we have a taxi on a meter waiting out front!
(Lockdown schedule). Kiss my 2 and 4 year old goodbye and get them to remind me of their morning affirmation of being smart, kind and loved 😊 My husband does the morning daycare run.
I can start getting ready while my 6 year old is still easing into the day.
My meeting scheduled is a lot earlier now that we have more US based colleagues. On the rare occasion I have no meetings, I love that I can get on top of emails and slack messages (a great feeling!) as they come through overnight.
(Husband comes back home and gets my son started on home schooling)
Back to back meetings usually finish at this time. Reply to slack and emails. Get some desk work done.
Try and spend 30 minutes with my son while having something quick to eat.
Leave for afternoon daycare pick-up.
Return home. Dinner, bath and evening shenanigans
Get kids into bed (storytime and cuddles).
Quick house tidy-up.
Back online to get through my “to do list” for the day. I sometimes have evening meetings with EU/UK colleagues
Log off for the evening (my goal is to shrink this evening time down and where I can, have 1 night off a week)
Catch up on the day’s messages and personal to-dos. Feels like I have an endless list of groceries and sometimes gifts I am needing to buy online (all groceries and gift are ordered online due to lockdown)
Get to bed (trying to get this earlier!)
Structuring her day around work and family
With the demands of her new role, Gina can spend the bulk of her day in meetings. However, she says in this case, the timezone disparity actually helps.
“Moving to Velocity Global, a lot of the remote teams I’m working with, you know, nine times out of 10 are based out of the US, so I know a lot of my meetings are going to be very morning-heavy.”
To compensate, Gina was able to split school drop off and pickups with her husband.
“We both wake up early, and we help get the kids ready. Then we tag team and I go, ‘Right, I’ve got to jump into my meeting at seven or 7:30.’ And then he kind of manages the rest of it,” she says.
“Then he starts his meetings when he gets back around 8:30 or nine, and then I’m able to wrap up most of my meetings around the 2 pm mark.”
Gina will then have a few hours to catch up on emails and the day’s tasks before picking up her kids from school and daycare.
“I have between four and seven where I focus on the afternoon/evening shift, getting them bathed, getting dinner ready, getting homework done, and bedtime.”
After the kids are asleep, she’ll jump back online to finish off any tasks for the day or meet with anyone from the UK or Europe.
While the flexibility of her role has meant gaining more time for both her work and family, she’s conscious of not trying to be it all to everyone.
“Especially with lockdown again this year, I think we all really need to be kinder to ourselves,” she says.
“We can’t be coach, can’t be psychologists, can’t be, you know, entertainers, teachers, cooks. All those things at once, it’s just not possible.”
But if there’s one thing she’s grateful for, it’s being there to see the look on her kid’s faces at pick up.
“I love being able to see my kids in the afternoon, and they’re just so happy to see you,” she says. “It’s so heartwarming.”
By nature, our world is incredibly diverse. Our communities are full of people with different backgrounds, ethnicities, physical and mental abilities, sexual orientations, gender identities, income levels, body shapes and