#WFH Diaries: Scarlett Leung of Sugarbreak
As the pandemic continues, and with most folks still working from home, we're continuing to check in with industry pros to see how they're faring. Below, we chat with Scarlett Leung of Sugarbreak.
Give us a one-line bio of yourself.
I am the CEO and co-founder of Sugarbreak, the first all-natural, complete solution for blood sugar management and diabetes.
Where are you living right now, and who's with you?
I am at my apartment in NYC right now, and I live alone—which has its pros and cons during quarantine.
What's your work situation like at the moment, and how is it evolving?
I work mostly in my apartment, rotating between my favorite (only viable) spots at my dining table and couch. I'm experimenting with working from my armchair in my bedroom next to the window. At the beginning of Covid, I wouldn't dare step out of my apartment. Right now, I'm starting to go back to the office once a week to see some team members face to face (socially distanced, of course)! I'm also going to try working from outdoor coffee shops or in the park while the weather is still nice.
How is the return to the office going?
Thankfully, our office is very large, with lots of windows, stair access and individual bathrooms, so it's much easier to limit Covid exposure. However, the safety of my team is my top priority, so I am not planning for a full return into the office until the spread of the virus is under control.
Describe your socializing strategy.
Keeping my social life alive has been important to me during this time, as starting a company is already grueling and isolating in itself. I try to schedule in Zoom and FaceTime lunches and coffees with friends, but not too many, to avoid Zoom fatigue. One of my best friends has a large rooftop patio where I meet with my "bubble" once a week. I also make time to call family and friends, especially those who are overseas, as we don't know when we can plan to see each other next.
What are you reading?
I am currently reading Shoe Dog by Phil Knight on how he founded Nike. It was gifted to me by a fellow entrepreneur, since Phil also started his career as an accountant. Another book I have on my bedside table is Cults Inside Out, which is written by a professional "deprogrammer" who is employed by families to help loved ones leave cults, which I can't wait to start reading.
What are you watching?
Schitt's Creek has been my favourite show to watch during Covid, especially after a long day, as it helps me unwind. I went to high school with Dan Levy, so it was nice to see a friendly face during a period of isolation. My other favourite was Dix Pour Cent, a French show about talent agents in Paris, which satisfies my wanderlust.
What are you listening to?
I am the type of person who needs to have music playing all day long, from the moment I wake up to the moment I fall asleep. Right now, I wake up to Julien Dore, then Anderson .Paak when I work, followed by bossanova jazz to put me to sleep.
How are you staying fit?
My good friend, Nicole Winhoffer, is a celebrity trainer and has an amazing app that I use at home (but frankly, I am better at sticking to it when she does workout classes on IG live and calls me out for not working hard enough). I've also decided to start going back to the gym, as the ability to leave my apartment and focus on myself is outweighing the potential health risks.
Have you taken up a hobby?
I have always loved cooking, and in a prior life even had a short stint in chef school, so the ability to spend more time in the kitchen has been a positive during this time. I've completed a course in Chinese medicine and have also been brushing up on my French.
An awkward moment since all this started.
I think all my awkward moments are Zoom-related. Every time there is a delivery to my apartment building, the delivery person tends to press all the buttons, so I might be in the middle of a pitch and having to buzz someone in so the ringing will stop. Another awkward moment is just being in back-to-back meetings all day and not having the time to look in the mirror, then jumping on a Zoom call looking disheveled, but it's too late to do anything about it.
An aha! moment since all this started.
The aha! moment was just realizing how lucky I really am that all my friends and family are safe, and that even during the terrible year of 2020, I was able to raise funds and launch Sugarbreak.
What's your theory on how this is going to play out?
I am hoping that we will have a preliminary vaccine by the beginning of next year, but the supply-chain issues to distribute the vaccine to the general public will cause significant delays. Overall, I think how companies hire and how they view remote work will change for the better and will allow for more flexibility. I hope that after going through Covid, people will understand the importance of preventative health and think of health safety from their community's perspective. In many parts of the world, wearing a face mask even when you have a common cold is status quo, because protecting the health of those around you is basic human decency.