I’m Dr Catriona Wallace, And This Is How I Work

I’m Dr Catriona Wallace, And This Is How I Work

Dr Catriona Wallace is the co-founded and CEO of Fifth Quadrant, an Australian consultancy which specialises in advice on how to improve the customer experience. Plenty of scope there! Competing with multi-national consultancies, Fifth Quadrant has done very well: the company just picked up the Telstra NSW Business of the Year award. Dr Wallace is an inspiring and impressive individual, plus Fifth Quadrant also has the best-looking boardroom I’ve ever visited. So what tools and tactics help her stay productive?

Current gig: CEO and Customer Experience Futurist, Fifth Quadrant Location: Live on the Northern Beaches in Sydney, work in North Sydney Current mobile device: iPhone 5 Current computer: iPad 2 and Toshiba One word that best describes how you work: Glamorously

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint, Basecamp, Dropbox, Harvard Business Review app, BRW app, weather app, Lockbox, news apps, Viber, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, banking apps, YouTube, Posse, Temple Run, Browify, Snapchat, LinkedIn.

What’s your workspace setup like?

My office has no door, a dead cow skin on the floor (roadkill), a Chinese day bed with loads of purple cushions, a couple of arm chairs from the nightclub I used to own, some fake deer antlers on the wall, a large Bratz doll with flaming orange hair that apparently my staff think looks like me, really massively bright purple and black wall paper and loads of books.

What’s your best time-saving trick?

Delegate everything even to people who think they won’t be able to do the work. They will.

What’s your favourite to-do list manager?

After having tried everything, notes on iPad is the only thing that works for me. I no longer touch a pen ever or hand write any to do’s

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without?

GhD hair straightener. I have four. No idea why I have so many.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?

Getting out the door in 30 minutes with full make up, hair straightened, big heels after feeding horses, dogs, birds, five kids and knocking out a dozen emails.

What do you listen to while you work?

Kids & staff screaming. With joy.

What are you currently reading?

Women & Power (Griffith Review), the Misogyny Factor (Anne Summers), Lean In (Sheryl Sandberg) …getting the picture?…. Also Harvard Business Review, Tibetan Book of Living & Dying, Tribes (Seth Godin) and Small Giants.

Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?

By nature an introvert…. but…. by conditioning a total raving extrovert but with elegance and sophistication…. and an occasional or more than occasional swear word!

What’s your sleep routine like?

Hhhmmm… sleep between 1230am and 6:00am. Sleeping is overrated!

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Revenue is vanity and profit is sanity. And don’t wear pencil skirts when trying to walk up stage to do public speaking. You won’t make it.

Is there anything else you want to add?

Working space and style should reflect who you are — it should be ‘normal’ to you and not contrived or sterile or clinically corporate. Express yourself, even if you are a bit quirky. Be real. Be normal. We do… and we just won a big business award… woohooo! Seriously.

We’ve asked heroes, experts and flat-out productive people to share their shortcuts, workspaces and routines. Every week we’ll feature a new guest and the gadgets, apps, tips and tricks that keep them going. Want to suggest someone we should feature or questions we should ask? [contact text=”Let us know”].


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