#WFH Diaries: Marissa Pace of World Rugby

Even as parts of the world are beginning to open up amid the pandemic, most folks are still working from home. We're continuing to check in with creative people to see how they've adapted to this new routine. Here's an update from Marissa Pace, CMO of World Rugby, the world governing body for the sport of rugby union.

Give us a one-line bio of yourself.

Digital marketer, beekeeper, fly fisher and foodie, someone who tries to live with passion and lead by example.

Where are you living right now, and who's with you?

I was caught out in the lockdown while traveling. Living in an Airbnb apartment!

What's your work situation like at the moment, and how are you moving ahead during the crisis?

Just like the rest of the world, I'm currently on as many video conference calls as there are minutes in the day. But aside from that, I've found it important to set aside big blocks of time to strategize and make sure we're moving our business forward.

Describe your socializing strategy.

This has been an interesting one. I've made it a point to socialize with at least one person a day, whether it's in a backyard with plenty of space on a picnic blanket or via FaceTime with my family back home. I usually try to plan it around meal times and do video calls while we eat … just feels a bit more normal and differentiates it from work calls.

What are you reading?

I'm currently reading The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek. I read Start with Why almost 10 years ago and thought it would be a good time for a refresher on his thought process. Coronavirus has a lot of great leaders that I know doubting their ability to impact people in the same way we have in a "normal" working environment.

What are you watching?

Certainly not the news! After the first two weeks in lockdown, I banned myself from more than 30 minutes of news because it just became too depressing. As a news junkie, it was hard to step away but I'm glad I have. Now I try to see the world through the lens of comedy. I've been watching Seth Myers and Jimmy Kimmel quite a bit. And like everyone else, I'm in therapy because The Last Dance is over.

What are you listening to?

I've stayed away from podcasts because they've been reminding me too much of our conference calls, so I try to fit in as much music as I can. I've been listening to my two favorite radio stations—one from home in Ottawa, Canada, called Live 88.5 that lets me hear new alternative music, and Oe3 from Austria—a great combo of modern/pop and it especially keeps me from forgetting my German!

How are you staying fit?

Keeping fit has been the big positive for me during coronavirus. I've been running 12–15 km (7-9 miles) every couple of days, biking, swimming, paddleboarding… anything that gets me outside.

Have you taken up a hobby?

I haven't taken up any new hobbies, but I can say I've honed my pretty decent cooking skills into near Michelin quality. That's been a real bonus, and thank goodness I've upped my exercise. Can't wait to have people over for dinner again.

Any tips for getting necessities?

The grocery stores near where I am have started opening from 6 a.m., and the key for me, especially as someone who has trouble sleeping more than four or five hours a night, is to get in there early. Beat those crowds.

An awkward moment since all this started.

Every Friday, we do a happy hour with each of my teams in the northern and southern hemispheres—and I always try to attend. I made the rookie error of napping for 20 minutes before one of the calls and set my alarm for 2:55 a.m. to join them. Someone took a screen shot of my face on the call and sent it to me on the Monday morning. Probably nothing more awkward than how I looked on that call!

An aha! moment since all this started.

My biggest aha moment has been about mental health and how leaders shouldn't be afraid to show their vulnerabilities during these times. We're all feeling uncertain, tired, frustrated and especially stir crazy. I think it's OK to show your team that we're all feeling the same things and that it's healthy to talk about it.

My second aha moment is that wearing makeup is an unnecessary evil. Last I checked, being makeup free for the last 10 weeks hasn't impacted my ability to work, so I think there may be a new fresh-faced me returning to the office when we start over.

What's your theory on how this is going to play out?

My father has been recounting all sorts of doomsday scenarios, but I'm trying to put a positive spin on the situation every day. Major sport and rugby will definitely return, hopefully by the end of the year, but the economy will no doubt make a massive correction. It's up to us to make sure that we prioritize what needs correcting and that we reprioritize what matters in life. Business, jobs and life will follow.

See the full #WFH Diaries series here.

Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd was editor in chief of the Clio Awards and editor of Muse by Clio from 2018 to 2023.

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