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Pinpoint: Meet Madelaine Zahr, Pinterest Australia’s Executive Assistant Business Partner

a woman holding a cup of coffee

Life at Pinterest is headed to APAC in this edition of Pinpoint, the series where we zoom into our global regions and learn more about Pinterest employees. Pinterest’s very own Madelaine Zahr is taking us through a day in her life as an Executive Assistant Business Partner in Sydney, Australia.

Thanks for sitting down with us, Madelaine! Let’s start with a quick introduction.

I joined Pinterest Australia in its infancy in November 2019 as the ninth employee. Fun fact, I was the last cohort of new hires to travel to San Francisco for in-person onboarding before the pandemic. In the past three years, I have supported my region’s growth to now having over 50 employees based in Australia. Nothing beats the joy of being able to assist my executive and colleagues, enabling them to work more efficiently. I find so much satisfaction in being able to help others learn and grow by teaching them different tips and tricks that will save them time.

What’s your favorite part of being an Executive Assistant Business Partner?

Without a doubt my favorite thing is the ability to create and foster relationships not just with our amazing Country Manager, Melinda Petrunoff, and other executives, but also with individuals across the business. Having battled through COVID, bush fires, office moves, rapid growth, working from home and ongoing change, I have always been in a unique position of having connections with people across different teams, whether that’s Workplace, Security, IT, Marketing or the Senior Leadership Team. I truly love getting to know people and being able to work and collaborate on so many distinct projects with them. I count my lucky stars that I’ve found a career that allows me to do that.

I love that I’m known as the “go to gal” and the “glue” that holds us all together. People feel comfortable reaching out to me with questions, and if I don’t know the answer, I will always direct them to the right place. In my current role, I’ve developed a couple of superpowers along the way, specifically being relationship-centric and having intuitive thinking. As a result, when something needs to be done – no matter how big or small – I make it happen!

How do you prepare for each week or each day?

I prepare for my week ahead on a Friday afternoon and then again on Monday morning. Recently, I started being more present during my mornings, so that I can set my days and weeks up for success. Where possible, I’m more intentional with my time, so I start with school drop off for my daughter, then I head back to set up my workspace, remove any mess from the day prior and create a clutter-free harmonious workspace that is conducive to productivity.

For around 30 minutes, I check and organize my inbox first thing in the morning, and then I create or add to my paper to-do list, with a focus on three priorities for the day. My day changes by the hour, so being organized and writing things down is the key!

Take us through a day in your life.

I am a wife and mother to my six-year-old daughter, whom I take to school and pick up most days! Some exciting news – I am expecting another girl (yay girl club). I am a homebody, and I would prefer to go out for breakfast than a night out. I don’t enjoy cooking and really hope to work on that (maybe I can Pin some quick and easy recipes)! When I was in school, I always wanted to be a zookeeper or a vet, but here I am…a Pinployee!

Where do you feel most inspired working from – the office, home or another location?

I actually used to LOVE working from a coffee shop once a week, but I must admit I haven’t worked from one since finding out I’m expecting another baby. For a good six months, I worked from a coffee shop on a regular cadence and was so productive and inspired. I do love working from the Sydney office as everyone’s energy is contagious, but I also find myself more productive at home with deep focus time. A healthy balance of all three works best for me!

Amazing! We heard that you recently won an award. Congratulations! Can you share more about this accomplishment?

I did! Someone secretly nominated me for the Australian Admin Community award submissions back in August (I still don’t know who it was). The category I was nominated for was “People’s Champion” meaning it was determined by a public vote. To my surprise, I won and I’m very proud to be recognized in the Australian Admin Community. I’m really lucky that I’ve found a career that allows me to bring so much joy to others and myself. Anyone who knows me knows I live and breathe Pinterest, and I think my job is the best ever.

What are you currently Pinning?

I just finished a full redo of my daughter’s bedroom. She wanted a mermaid room! Have a look here

Lakkari Pitt, Indigenous Creator, and Madelaine Zahr standing in front of Lakkari's beautiful mural in the Pinterest Sydney office.

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