Richa Dubey

Underwater adventure? Cooking experiment? Hard-hitting TV script? Richa has no fear. A lifetime of social justice work and communications has prepared her to roll up her sleeves and dig in.

Storyteller | LinkedIn
Photo of Richa Dubey
Emily looks beyond the obvious to craft designs that captivate


Emily looks beyond the obvious to craft designs that captivate

By Richa Dubey

Emily looks beyond the obvious to craft designs that captivate

Image by Suzanne Calkins

Visual storytelling is where Emily thrives. It’s her chance to dig into an idea, push through the surface, and pull together a design that’s fresh and captivating. As you can imagine, she likes it here at our storytelling agency.  

Emily’s story is, in some ways, the classic one for artists who’ve always been drawn to their work. As the artsy kid in school, she would fulfill requests for art or help friends with their illustrations, whether for school projects or fun. While growing up, she contained it to a hobby because “I was worried that doing anything artistic professionally would kill my love for it.” But some things are meant to be. 

“At every single internship or club that I joined in college, I realized that people always wanted me to do design work anyway—and I eventually realized that I would miss it if I didn’t do something creative.” So, she undertook a host of design-based internships and part-time jobs, including an art teaching assistant post in college. 

After these, being Emily, she put her family first during the COVID pandemic, helping out at her family restaurant. Then 2A caught her attention. Why?   

“Stories! The job description included the word ‘storytelling,’ which was one of my search keywords. I loved how it sounded, and when I looked at the 2A website, I thought, “This is the most fun group of people I have seen in a long time, and I love how they tell stories.” 

Visual stories are where it’s at for Emily— bringing art, illustration, and design together in service of a narrative (take this complex and fun illustration for Microsoft). With quiet courage and commitment, Emily unpacks the concepts until she arrives at the eureka moments when a design clicks into place. “When I can look beyond the obvious and pull the right pieces together in a design that works, it is so exhilarating.”   

If Emily had a theme song, it would probably be beyond the obvious—not only because of her approach to design, but also because it rings true for her life outside 2A. You probably wouldn’t guess this, but Emily will always commit to the bit in improv comedy. She boulders (“because I’m a little scared of it”), reads children’s books, and watches bad movies (“everyone watches the good ones, and I enjoy being a hater for a while”).  

Whatever Emily does, she brings her whole self to it.  

decorative headshot of Kate


Meet Kate: Our word perfectionist who weaves tech tales 

By Richa Dubey

decorative headshot of Kate

Image by Rachel Adams

The first meeting with Kate leaves you with the sense that she is not just deliberate in her choice of words, but secretly polishes each one to a high shine. She holds it up to the light, and only then, with the satisfied, tiny nod of a true expert, does she slot it into its proper place.  

As a language expert, Kate is 2A’s own lexical chef. With a master’s in linguistics, Kate has developed (and trained actors on) an authentic Dust Bowl accent for a play based on Steinbeck’s novel, Of Mice and Men; taught English as a second language in both Japan and the US at the university level; worked in academia; and simplified complex scientific and technical research into a comprehensible read for the layperson. All of this, of course, is in addition to excelling at 2A as an in-house storyteller on the agency side and an embedded consultant for Microsoft. As a former employee of both Microsoft and Amazon Web Services (AWS), she continues to dive into technology and produce stellar copy.    

Braiding stories from different threads 

When it comes to storytelling, Kate pulls three key threads to weave a tale. First, is connection. She knows how to string the right words together to make a good story great. She can connect directly with the reader, so the message makes a place in their mind and heart. And while the message may be interpreted a little differently by each reader, Kate searches hard for the nugget that strikes relevance.

Another strand in the craft of Kate’s storytelling is precision. “How can you use a word so there is no room for ambiguity?” she asks. “Different people use words and concepts differently, so I work to make sure that we’re on the same page with respect to what they’re trying to say, and I’m focused on using direct language.”  

The last strand is Kate’s imagination. “I think of things that might not have been considered with respect to the story,” she says. Drawing on the rich diversity of her expertise, she pulls disparate elements together, coaxing them to play nicely, and finally, buffing them to produce a finished product like this piece on AI and mixed reality for Microsoft.   

From tech to the deep sea  

When she’s not creating marketing content, Kate is kayaking, volunteering for the arts, or walking dogs at the Seattle Animal Shelter. Lately, she’s been settling into her new role as pet parent to her adorable three-year-old Havapoo, Charlie, a rescue who accompanies her on her adventures.  

decorative image


Felip farms common ground, reaping rich benefits for clients 

By Richa Dubey

decorative image

Image by Suzanne Calkins

Equal parts passionate and intentional, Felip centers everything he does around building community and cultivating a shared understanding. “When I think about my profession, I don’t really think in terms of content or interactions with clients. It’s more about how I can use the skills and experience I have to align with their goals. This helps me better support their organizations and initiatives.” 

And it’s easy to find something to relate to when you’ve had such eclectic experiences. While still in school, Felip cared for dying Benedictine monks in Bavaria. He also co-started a tech education nonprofit for kids of color in Seattle.  

As a trade unionist, his father advocated for worker rights, and that helped inform Felip’s career trajectory. Working in economic development for the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan, Felip focused on diversification and training local startups in technology and entrepreneurship. “I see the results of that effort in the culture there today, and I am grateful to have played a small part in developing it.” 

From there, his next step was helping to navigate change at Microsoft. Felip worked with Microsoft 365 to review product changes with security and communication teams before rolling them out to millions of users. It was challenging, but it was core to the person that Felip feels he has grown into. “It’s a big part of who I am now. It taught me how to bridge cultures, navigate differences, and build empathy. That mindset is crucial for creating plans and roadmaps to move projects forward.” 

That emphasis on empathy and diversity anchored one of the biggest wins of Felip’s professional life: co-leading strategy at Purple Group. At this multicultural marketing agency, Felip and his team collaborated with multiple stakeholders to execute a five-year communication and outreach plan for the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA). At over $2 billion, the Red and Purple Modernization (RPM) Phase One Project is the largest capital project in CTA history.

Whether working with the community or within the technology industry, Felip excels at finding a common ground across peers and stakeholders. It’s no surprise we love having him at 2A, and the feeling is mutual. “I love the people here. Everyone is very capable, and that pushes me to be better. And it’s beautiful to see that capability buttressed by empathy and collaboration.” 

decorative image


Why our case studies score big

By Richa Dubey

decorative image

Image by Guangyi Li

At 2A we take pride in the quality of our storytelling, and it’s always affirming to have that validated. We created a lot of content for the AWS Partner Network last year, which recently shared its most viewed case studies in 2022. Guess what? 2A produced four of the top 10.

Just like AWS, AWS Partners are customer obsessed. When we interview partners and customers for case studies, our storytellers ask questions that get at the heart of the story. How was the customer’s business transformed by this partner and AWS? What are the key takeaways from the story—and how can readers apply them to their own business? Oh also, can we get some metrics to back it all up?

As a content marketing agency in the tech space, we know our content has a global audience. One reason our work resonates across markets is that we have a geographically, professionally, and culturally diverse team creating it. Our case study team of project managers, consultants, storytellers, and designers comes from backgrounds as varied as fashion, nonprofit, education, government, cultural anthropology, and theater. That helps us craft questions and write stories that encompass the wide-ranging experiences of AWS Partner customers.

Those four case studies that made the top ten really exemplify the innovation happening with AWS and Partners on that global scale. Over in Ohio, Cincinnati Airport improved employee experiences and addressed flight delays with TaskWatch’s computer vision application on AWS Panorama. Meanwhile, across the ocean in the UK and Australia/New Zealand, Sandstone Technology improved customer experience by shifting transaction processes to the cloud and increased security measures by migrating to AWS. Premier Foods, one of the leading food businesses in UK, turned to AWS Partner Pyramid Analytics for help with its business efficiency and productivity. And finally, AWS created fertile ground for innovation by supporting Canada-based Nutrien, a fertilizer company, to leverage its data for insight-based growth.

With the hundreds of case studies under our belt over the last few years, we come to each new engagement with the knowledge, processes, and team to tell the story of your first win—or your next great success. And who knows, maybe you’ll hear your company called in the top 10 next year!

decorative image of sanaz surrounded by skis, a note book, a laptop, running shoes, a calendar, and a dutch oven


Meet Sanaz—our ace of grace, in projects and life 

By Richa Dubey

decorative image of sanaz surrounded by skis, a note book, a laptop, running shoes, a calendar, and a dutch oven

Image by Brandon Conboy

When Sanaz is in a meeting, it’s quite simply brighter. Brimming with energy, enthusiasm, and a willingness to jump in and make mistakes, Sanaz, in her own words, is “not afraid to experiment” if it means she’ll learn or contribute to the process.

“Sanaz” means grace in Persian, which is fitting, because she rarely messes up. She’s a great consultant who fields tight deadlines and busy schedules, then delivers what clients need and want.

Sanaz regularly whips up fabulous Persian meals for her family and shepherds three teenagers through everything (including setting up their own nonprofit that was featured on the local news). Then she hits the gym. She’s a pro at juggling a busy life and multiple projects all at once.

Insert classic question that successful women professionals get asked: How do you do it all? “I am a bundle of energy, and any physical activity—cue skiing, walking the dog—helps.”

After a decade of teaching middle- and high-schoolers math and science she quit because of the Covid-19 pandemic. “I missed the human connection and couldn’t handle remote teaching.” 

Sanaz then took a leap of faith and switched to a project management role at a telecommunications consultancy. She ended up being so good at it that she went from being a project manager to VP in under a year. But this is Sanaz we’re talking about, and she wanted to learn more, “I was at the level of a VP, running the company alongside the president, but felt I could grow so much more. What I needed was to move on and be better so when I met a friend (at the gym, of course) who works at Microsoft, and she recommended I try technology marketing, I jumped at it.” 

The rest, as they say, is history—just like her brush with the Iranian morality police in her youth. 

The first time Sanaz had a run-in with the morality police, she was barely 15 and not wearing the “right kind” of hijab. Picked up from her neighborhood and dumped in the back of a van along with her friends and cousin, she was luckily able to attract the attention of her parents who were just outside and got off with a warning and having to write a promissory note. 

But we carry our history with us, and Sanaz remains an outspoken advocate for gender equity in Iran besides actively volunteering in her local community. No surprises there, because beyond being all brain, this former biomedical engineering PhD candidate is also full of heart, fun, bravery, empathy, and always… grace.  

image of a paper calendar. The 2022 page is being removed, showing just the 2023 page


Three stand-out technology trends for 2023

By BB Bickel, Richa Dubey, Mai Sennaar

image of a paper calendar. The 2022 page is being removed, showing just the 2023 page

Image by Thad Allen

A new year always presages new trends and developments in the constantly fluctuating world of technology. Since technology is part of 2A’s DNA, it’s only natural that we’d pick out a few trends to highlight. Three notable movements stand out to us, which were backed up by their featured prominence at the latest AWS re:Invent conference. They are:

  • Innovation can be experimental and disruptive
  • Responsibility and bias mitigation in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML)
  • Sustainable and renewable technologies

Solutions arise from falling in love with the problem, not the product

Technology companies are making high-quality, high-velocity decisions. The outstanding ones remain stubborn on vision and flexible on details. Those that focus on building features customers will love, whether or not it’s the easiest feature to make, will succeed. Experimentation is the holy grail this year, with the goal of being bold and disruptive while innovating. True innovation is agreeing first on what the customer would love, and then developing a product to address that desire (or need), not the other way around.

Innovation also involves a bias for action, with blessings to move ahead with 70 percent of the data. This goes back to the roots of AWS. As Jeff Bezos said in his 2015 letter to shareholders, “…failure and invention are inseparable twins…Given a ten percent chance of a 100 times payoff, you should take that bet every time. But you’re still going to be wrong nine times out of ten…Big winners pay for so many experiments.”

Thus, if technology companies are going to win big, they’re going to fail big too. They will walk through the door and close it behind them. It’s all part of the process. They will constantly reinvent themselves by keeping the dynamism of Day 1 and consider a Day 2 mentality as stasis.

Responsibility in AI and ML

Diversity brings more perspectives to the table and is therefore critical to building responsible and inclusive AI and ML. Only with truly diverse teams can a company mitigate bias in their algorithms. People are at the center of these technologies and drive the decisions; machines only make recommendations.

People-centric design has become a different model for AI, as it considers others and seeks out not only explicit but implicit bias. Today, leadership places emphasis on helping engineers develop the right skills so that fairness, integrity, and dignity become part of AI’s DNA. In fact, in December, Amazon’s Machine Learning University launched a new course, “Responsible AI—Bias Mitigation & Fairness Criteria.” It is an entry-level course for technical individuals and explains where bias in AI systems comes from, how to measure it, and ultimately how to mitigate bias as much as possible. Since AI and machine learning touch so many aspects of peoples’ lives, it’s crucial to build trust and prevent disadvantages among subgroups of customers.


Sustainability could conceivably be the most important word in our world today. The statistics on climate change are horrific and only a focus on sustainability and renewable energy will make a dent. Thankfully, wind and solar energy technologies are growing at an unprecedented rate, and there is a greater interdependence between gas and electricity. According to Gartner, 80 percent of CEOs who plan to invest in new or improved products in the coming year cited environmental sustainability as the third largest driver, making it a competitive differentiator.

Among the cloud providers, AWS has done the lion’s share of work toward sustainability. The company’s mandate is to achieve net zero carbon by 2040, ten years ahead of the Paris Climate Accords, and it is working toward 80 percent renewable energy by 2024. Amazon buys more renewable energy than any other corporate buyer on the planet. In addition, Amazon has already invested $2 billion in clean technology.

As we kick off the third year of what has been the most unpredictable decade of the 21st century, here’s to making disruption work for us—and our planet.

Storytellers / storied tellers in the house


Storytellers / storied tellers in the house

By Richa Dubey

Storytellers / storied tellers in the house

Image by Julianne Medenblik

“Leveraging best practices for synergistically delivering elasticity across the content value chain to ensure that the asset is delivered to the client as committed priorly”—a gem that popped up in the 2A storytellers chat—makes as much sense as this line from a classic Bollywood film song: “You see, the whole country of the system is juxtapositioned by the hemoglobin in the atmosphere because you are a sophisticated rhetorician intoxicated by the exuberance of your own verbosity.”

And that, dear reader, is what we in the trade call a run-on sentence.

Our storyteller team chat is called the Storyteller Shuffle. Here, we dissect sentences, punctuation, usage, style guides, and grammar. We also like our wordplay, so the shuffle often turns into a rumba…

This is where we take a break, have fun, ask for, and receive, unstinting help from each other. Writing can be a solitary activity, which is why the wisdom, support, and camaraderie we find here is so important. The Shuffle is also where we collectively make your asset shine. If you’re wondering at the ‘collectively,’ try proofing an eBook you’ve written without going cross-eyed. You need a fresh pair of eyes.

Holding each other up, learning together, and having fun is at the core of our little group. Witness this (not entirely) imaginary chat: “I’m slammed for capacity. Can anyone help me with this case study?” Katy Nally, Director of Storytelling par excellence, jumps in, “Sure, I’ve only got a million things to do. But I can take this. And let me fix your calendar so that you’re not overloaded.”

Stuck for punctuation? Kimberly Mass generously weighs in on a hot debate about the merits of commas versus em dashes in a sentence.

Looking to sharpen your interview skills? Shadow Mai Sennar who, with her background in theater, exudes calm confidence while drawing out even the most reticent clients.  

Want to keep up with what’s happening with the cloud biggies? Jane Dornemann keeps us in the loop about all things cloud with her tongue-in-cheek newsy blog.

Wondering how to write about a completely new technology? Get a load of BB Bickel’s confident, successful approach.

Need to pin the client down to answer tough questions? See what happens when Editorial Lead, Forsyth Alexander, wields her trademark Southern charm to soften critiques as she reviews a section of Gandalf’s CV.

Description of the battle with the Balrog in Lord of The Rings, The Two Towers, Book III, Chapter 5, The White Rider: “I threw down my enemy, and he fell from the high place and broke the mountainside where he smote it in his ruin. Then darkness took me, and I strayed out of thought and time, and I wandered far on roads that I will not tell.”

Forsyth marks it up and inserts a comment in the Word document: “Your story is utterly gripping! I was wondering, though, can you explain this gap in your resumé?”

As you can see, it falls to us ask the hard questions. You can also count on us to coax answers out of interviewees, keep your head in the cloud (and feet on the ground), and match the perfect storyteller to your project.

We’ll dot your ‘i’s
And cross your ‘t’s
We’re better than fries
We’re the bees’ knees

Your content, we’ll align
And be sure to make it shine
We’re the bounce in basketball
So don’t you wait—just give us a call