We had the good fortune of connecting with Bernice Chao and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Bernice, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
I’m a Creative Director at R/GA and a mother of two. For me, the definition of work-life balance has changed over my career. Early on, I thought that work-life balance meant that work shouldn’t be all-consuming in my life, and for me, it was as practical as the hours put in vs. hours left for fun.
Now I see the balance being less about practical hours and more about the sense of satisfaction or overall mental balance. If I’m loving what I’m working on, the extra hours don’t feel like “work,” and I leave the project energized even if I’m working long hours. This sense of satisfaction is how I quantify if I take on extra tasks or spend enough hours with my family and adjust my commitments accordingly.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Going into the creative path, I didn’t realize that I was a stark minority. To this day, I’ve never worked under a woman of color. In every job I’ve held, the creative department has consistently hovered around 10% female, with a slight skew being minorities. It wasn’t until I made an effort to find mentorship that I learned to self-advocate, defend my work, and that it’s okay to leave an environment that does not give you chances.
I genuinely believe in the saying “be who you needed when you were younger,” and in March of 2021 have co-founded an organization with Jessalin Lam called Asians in Advertising which now has over 1,200 worldwide members. This year we have hosted five events and launched a podcast.
I also dedicated a section of my website called Creative Corner, where young and emerging talent can access advertising resources. I enjoy working with non-profits, host TEDxCulverCity events, mentor and teach at LMU and GA.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Los Angeles has so many beautiful places to choose from. My three favorite social distancing safe spots have been The Row in DTLA – great for picture taking and check out Pikunico’s for the best chicken sandwich, Fia for a delicious boozy garden brunch, and Underwood Farms for family fun.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to shout out to my husband, Matt Miller, who wholeheartedly supports my career and many ambitions.