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.  

By Jane Dornemann

Julianne lands in the 2A shop with some eye-catching pop

Image by Brandon Conboy

Before Julianne Medenblik, one of 2A’s newest designers, found herself jazzing up eBooks and PowerPoint presentations that would keep anyone’s attention, she was memorizing monologues.

Starting out as an acting major in Chicago, Julianne eventually became disenchanted with the stage when auditions became draining and long-term career options seemed too few.

To find her path forward, she decided to return to her roots: she moved back home to Michigan and started taking art classes such as drawing and photography, something she remembered enjoying in high school.

“I call it the year of finding myself as an adult,” Julianne recalled.

Rediscovering her passion for creating art, and inspired by friends who had pursued graphic design, Julianne enrolled in graphic design school. “It felt like where I was supposed to be all along,” she said.

She did the intern thing, designing marketing materials, social media posts, and infographics for a small web development company–until they hired her full-time and she found herself frying bigger fish like designing entire apps and websites. From there, the pandemic landed her in a contractor role for a package design firm, where she tackled projects for big names like Mr. Coffee and Sunbeam. (Work perk: she got to see her stuff come to life on store shelves across the country.)

“While that experience was more corporate than my previous work, I learned a lot about the legal side of design—for example, did you know that any product sold in Canada is required to have both French and English on the packaging? And the font for each language must be the exact same size?” (No, we didn’t know that Julianne, but we will be using it to fill the void of small talk silences at some point!)

Julianne was crafting designs for a real estate company when she stumbled on a 2A job post, and the rest is history. These days she’s thinking of ways to add visual dazzle to our storytellers’ words, whether it’s for an animation or a product one-pager.

As a remote worker, her only home office companion is Louis, her Pomeranian. When she’s not impressing 2A clients, she is ingesting all things pop culture, listening to Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga, playing Animal Crossing, or indulging in “awful reality TV dating shows.” And the more she delves into design, the more she realizes that her penchant for mystery novels has boosted her creative process at work.

“Those books are about finding a solution, putting information together until it fits,” she said. “Sometimes, thinking about how to select visuals that make sense, and have them work together in one space, is like being the Nancy Drew of graphic design.”

Oh, and if you like stickers, check out Julianne’s designs on her Etsy shop. If you’re not a sticker hound, you can also peruse her portfolio.

By Jane Dornemann

decorative image around a headshot of BB

Image by Brandon Conboy

When BB Bickel was 8 years old, she established a neighborhood newspaper called The Daily Blab—and while it was an adorable examination of items like the neighbor’s newest garden addition, it was also a discovery of her love for communicating information.

Today, BB writes marketing content from her sunny Florida home as a storyteller for 2A. Her ability to write about anything for anyone stems from a longtime career as a PR professional, which began with her position at a leading global PR agency, where she became a senior vice president.

Eventually, she left agency life to practice as a communications solopreneur, serving clients like Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, and Sun Microsystems.

“Every project I took on was brand new, and I’d have to learn about a lot of topics. Clients would ask, ‘Can you write about non-small cell lung carcinoma? Can you write about liquid regasification?’ Sure!” she said.

Not only does BB have a talent for learning about any topic enough to write about it, but she also helps clients consider a different approach when it makes sense. One client was interested in producing thought leadership content and had recruited BB to write whitepapers.

“But they weren’t whitepapers. So, I said, let’s publish a set of vision papers—a term I had coined—because that’s really what they were,” BB said. The client loved it, and so did the client’s audience.

BB relays her enthusiasm for storytelling to any tale, even if the topic is on the dry side. Once, she had to interview a librarian about the software that ensured a university library’s printers were full of paper.

“Boring, right?” BB said. “But this was a really exciting topic for the librarian, and for the people who were going to read it, and I was able to bring that through in my writing.”

As a discerning communications professional, BB knows a good thing when she sees it, which is why she came to 2A. While running a freelance practice was a great experience, she is happy to work with a team again and learn about the newest developments in technology.

Her personal interests are as varied as her industry knowledge. She’s a cook, an avid reader, and a coffee aficionado who drinks black coffee with every meal. And she puts as much effort into exercising as she does into her presentation.

“I have to admit, I own 76 makeup brushes,” she laughs. “In another life, I would have been a makeup artist.”

By Kimberly Mass

decorative image of Alyson baking

Image by Julianne Medenblik

This is a story about cupcakes. Not just any cupcakes—the kind covered with frosting, crowned with sprinkles, and filled to bursting with even more frosting. In this case, the frosting is comedy, the filling is a deep sense of community, and the sprinkles are the spark Alyson Stoner-Rhoades brings to her role as 2A’s operations manager.

Like the first bite of a cupcake—from the side? from the top?—this story could start just about anywhere and still end up somewhere delicious. Let’s eat!

Goodness baked right in

While Alyson grew up cooking for her family, she learned to bake from scratch (croissants and cookies and yes, cupcakes) at her first job at Specialty’s Café and Bakery. She also learned about the food supply chain, sustainable farming, and the joy that comes from sharing quality food carefully made with the wider community.

Alyson’s experience at Specialty’s prepared her for her next position: store manager at Cupcake Royale. There she learned to do, as she put it, “just about everything,” including baking the store’s signature cupcakes. With its focus on sourcing sustainable ingredients, giving back through donation matching, and serving as a community gathering place, Cupcake Royale was a perfect match for Alyson’s growing skills in operations management and community building.

The perfect mix

Following a brief stint with the Seattle Storm where she further flexed her community building muscles (a job she got in part due to her work with the Storm while at Cupcake Royale), Alyson landed at 2A as operations manager. While she makes sure the computers work and the bills get paid, where she really shines is in our company’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) efforts. “I never want people to feel that they’re not supported,” she shared. “Whatever I can do to help people who need a boost is something I’m going to do.”

In the kitsch-en

Baked into everything Alyson does is her wicked sense of humor and love of comedy. From intellectual humor to observational humor to potty humor, she loves it all. In fact, her husband proposed to her right before going to see John Mulaney at the Paramount here in Seattle and a couple of years later surprised her with a signed copy of an album from that tour. “I know it’s cliché, but laughter really is the best medicine,” Alyson said. “There’s magic in humor, and just being silly is beautiful.”

She makes it look like a cakewalk

While there’s also magic and beauty in a perfectly crafted cupcake, it’s the kind of beauty that lasts only for a moment. For Alyson, the operations management work she does at 2A has a much greater and more meaningful impact on her and the team: “Operations just kind of fell into my lap, but it comes naturally to me. I really like helping people and leaving situations better than I found them. People are what make a business, and it gives me real joy to take care of the things they need.”

By Kimberly Mass

Image of Madeline Sy on an opera program

Image by Brandon Conboy

What do you get when you combine a passion for opera, an affinity for processes and patterns, and a love for solving complex problems? In 2A’s case, the answer is Madeline Sy, opera aficionado and marketing consultant extraordinaire.

“I’ve loved opera for as long as I can remember,” said Madeline. “While it has a reputation for being inaccessible, it’s actually the opposite—it taps into our instinct to tell stories through music, stories that explore these big emotions that reflect the universal experience of being human.” A case in point: Madeline’s favorite opera, Bluebeard’s Castle by Hungarian composer Béla Bartók, is based on a French fairy tale and follows Judith, Bluebeard’s latest wife, as she defies her husband’s request and opens one door after another in a misguided—and ultimately tragic—quest to uncover the castle’s secrets. “At its heart, it’s a story most of us can relate to, about the desire for knowledge even when it isn’t in our best interests. Like any great story, it invites imagination—every time I see it, I connect to something different, and there’s space for everyone who sees the opera to do that.”

Driven by a desire to share their passion with a broader audience, Madeline began volunteering with the Los Angeles Opera’s community engagement programs. There they saw firsthand how the dedication of a small group of people and the power of a solid marketing message could be used in outreach efforts to bring the arts to underserved communities. From there, it was natural step to apply for the Watson Fellowship, a one-year grant that funds independent research and exploration outside the United States, which Madeline used to travel to South Africa, Australia, and Canada. “I wanted to explore how opera—and other artforms in general—can be accessible to people who experience and navigate through the world differently. I started with opera but by the end of the year had expanded to other art forms including a fully accessible music festival and a new opera produced entirely in ASL about deaf culture.”

As they worked to understand these challenges and find workable solutions, Madeline was drawn to HR and the ability of HR professionals to discover patterns, solve complex problems, and improve people’s daily work life. After completing their Master of Human Resource degree at the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign, Madeline joined bp as a People Advisor, where, in addition to day-to-day HR responsibilities, they worked on special projects that involved building relationships with internal clients and telling stories with data to develop, lead, and launch employee-based initiatives. “While I loved the combination of people and processes that HR involved, I realized I craved collaborating on projects and missed the camaraderie of working with a core team in a creative environment,” Madeline said. “I wanted to find a way to bring everything together.”

Enter 2A stage right: with its focus on building strong relationships and helping clients solve complex marketing challenges—and love of all things creative—2A struck just the right chord with Madeline. And while we don’t always know our aria from our overture, we feel exactly the same!

By Mai Sennaar

Kimberly found her voice early on—now she’s helping clients discover theirs

As our resident voice chameleon, Kimberly has the writing dexterity to perfectly capture any client voice. Her journey as a distinguished marketing writer began years ago following a move to Japan. Once back in the United States, Kimberly honed her skills for delivering rich and impactful assets, eventually building a stellar reputation as a writer and a diverse portfolio of work across a wide range of industries.

She honed her marketing writing skills over many years, and at this point, Kimberly’s knack for embodying brand voices comes naturally. Her ear is so keen that she can’t listen to too much radio in the car before the voices begin to pile up in her mind! And reading too many British spy novels have her adopting cheeky slang.

Behold the power of words

She attributes her inclination toward writing to an early awareness of the power of words. A funny story goes that perusing her grandfather’s bookshelf as a kid led her to pick up a Harold Robbins novel. Kimberly’s mother was scandalized at the discovery of her young daughter’s choice in fiction and the extreme reaction made Kimberly note the peculiar power of language and fictional worlds for the first time.

Kimberly’s pursuit of a college education was unconventional in the eyes of many in the rural Michigan town where she grew up, and literature served as a catalyst in her courage to cultivate her own perspective on the world. She cites To Kill a Mockingbird as a particularly transformative book when it came to her understanding of diversity and the broader humanity of people across cultural and religious lines. Gaining academic accolades for a feminist-leaning essay at her conservative high school was the moment when Kimberly first discovered a talent for persuasion that would later make her marketing work so impactful for clients.

From infographics to animations—giving life to a brand voice

For one of her first assignments at 2A, Kimberly used her chameleon-like skills to deliver an illuminating animation. While adept at shifting between distinct voices, she also helps clients discover and develop new brand voices to take their marketing approach to the next level. With an equal aptitude for persuasion, infographics and animations remain some of Kimberly’s favorite assets.

Kimberly has a long history of volunteer work that’s just as diverse as her writing portfolio. From working with hospice patients to coaching youth flag football, Kimberly has done it all. Perhaps most notably, she founded a longstanding Play in the Park program at her son’s former elementary school. The program is designed to foster community by helping students stay in touch over the summer. Her son is now 23 and the program is still going strong!

Kimberly says that her favorite thing about her volunteer work and her work at 2A is using her skills to enrich the lives of others.

If client feedback is any indication, she’s meeting her goal so far! 

By Katy Nally

Meet Liz, your source for viral content 

Image by Guangyi Li

As a marketer, having your work go viral is like chasing down the double rainbow, discovering its pot of gold, and diving in as if you were Scrouge McDuck. Few have felt that glorious feeling, but those who do will never forget it. Liz Mangini is in that select group.

A lifelong writer turned 2A marketing consultant, Liz not only lends her viral magic to our clients, but she also delivers a consulting experience as thrilling as a DuckTales adventure. She provides a Huey-Dewey-and-Louie trifecta that can’t miss. Here’s what it’s like to work with Liz:

Huey—the brave one with panache

Liz is fearless. She’s always up to try something new, which is why she’s dabbled in real estate, construction, higher education, healthcare, hospitality, entertainment, and finally technology. Throughout her long career, writing and marketing has been the common thread. After graduating with a degree in communications, Liz went on to support marketing at a hospital and later founded the Body Image Blog where she wrote posts related to body positivity and self-esteem. No matter what she’s focused on, Liz is driven to help other people succeed. It’s what motivated her to ghost write for c-suite executives at Microsoft and promote small businesses as a writer for Fidalgo Living Magazine.

Dewey—the clever one with great ideas

While running the Body Image Blog, Liz perfected the art of turning great ideas into viral content. Within just one year, the blog reached over one million viewers, as several posts took off and racked up the views. Her Q&A post with model Lizzie Miller quickly spread throughout the blogosphere. She also interviewed big names like Laurel Touby and was invited to Leeza Gibbons’ radio show, Hollywood Confidential to discuss her blog. As attention from the press mounted, Redbook even reached out to see if Liz would write an article for the magazine.

After the University of Washington caught word of her popularity, the school asked if Liz would lead a social media workshop to teach students how to spread their content. She was such a hit that the UW also asked her to serve as an advisory board member for the editing program.

Louie—the charismatic one you can’t get enough of

By the time she landed at Inviso, Liz had so many varied experiences under her belt that she could connect with just about anyone. In that role she also moved away from writing toward marketing consulting. As a natural-born people person, Liz felt right at home helping clients achieve their goals and supporting new hires to build their skills.

It takes a trifecta of elements—a Huey, Dewey, and Louie, if you will—to create the perfect consultant. With Liz at 2A, clients get a fearless writer, creative thinker, and relationship builder bent on success.

Work with Liz to see how she can help you make your next blog, eBook, and case study go viral!

By Jane Dornemann

Tammy, the air traffic controller of content

Image by Thad Allen

Being a program manager is a lot like being an air traffic controller (but in this case, the planes are ebooks, animations, case studies, and decks). It can be a high-stress job that requires a laundry list of essential skills—communication, organization, and maintaining a cool-as-a-cucumber disposition chief among them.

That’s why we were so psyched that Tammy Monson joined 2A as our newest control tower extraordinaire, a.k.a. program manager. Her personal and professional experiences have provided Tammy plenty of opportunities to sharpen her skills.

There’s nothing Tammy can’t do

She started out as a first-grade teacher (how many of us are so brave?). Then she had children of her own—and THEN took on a new job while chairing events like charitable auctions on the side. Which is to say, Tammy walked (or ran) a pretty solid path to mastering the art of juggling it all.

For more than a decade she was a consultant who contracted with tech companies, primarily Microsoft. That meant each year she had to enter a new logistics-centered role with new processes and new team members. Sometimes it was business management or executive administration, other times it was strictly program management. Some people would bristle at having to relearn much of their job every year, but not Tammy. She saw the challenge as a growing experience.

“Doing something different each year made me realize I can learn anything if I put my mind to it. You start to realize you can do whatever you dig your heels into,” Tammy said.

Since that’s exactly how we feel at 2A, we hired her when her contract with Microsoft ended. It was a match made in technology-marketing heaven.

“2A is always trying new ways of doing things. The agency is all about discovering how to do better work, and that means not doing the same thing every time,” Tammy said. “How can we be more creative? How can we elevate our work? You can never ask a dumb question at 2A, and I love that freedom to be curious. It’s how we develop.”

Overseeing every day at 50,000 feet

In her day to day, Tammy is the control tower for our workflow management, operating with a 360-degree, bird’s-eye view of projects coming into and out of 2A. She’s the liaison that coordinates client work requests with consultant workflow management. She knows how to quickly learn the details of what each client needs, communicate that effectively to the team, set up meetings, and coordinate deadlines—conducting all the moving parts needed to ferry projects from initial request to a finished product.

When she’s not directing our projects’ take-offs and landings, she’s spending quality time with her college-aged daughters, binge watching her favorite TV shows, and exploring the great outdoors. It’s no surprise with her ability to take on challenges that she loves adventures. While the pandemic has paused those activities, she plays tourist in her hometown of Seattle, exploring Pike Place and taking long walks.

We’re so grateful that this talented woman has joined our group of high-flying marketers!

By Katy Nally

Mai oh my what a writer! 

Have you ever met a playwright? I hear there aren’t as many as there used to be. So, if you’re fortunate enough to cross paths with one, consider carving out a moment to chat. If Mai Sennaar is any indication, they’re fascinating.

At 2A we’re always looking to grow our crew of creative minds, so we jumped at the chance to add Mai’s talent to the mix. Mai wowed us with the fact that she ran her own production company and wrote, directed, and produced several plays. Her first production, The Broken Window Theory, starred a Tony Award winner. In addition, her play The Arsonist was performed at both the Smithsonian Affiliate Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco and the Berkeley Art Museum.

A natural-born creative with an immense ability to wield words, Mai takes the storyteller position to new heights. Much like one of her plays, Mai’s work at 2A builds the story arc, pulls the audience in, and influences the reader’s point of view.

Building the story arc

Mai comes from a creative household. Her mother was a founding member of Sweet Honey in the Rock and went on to compose music for the Broadway show, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf. While at Howard Community College, Mai started channeling her creative streak into theater and even picked up an award for one of her early works. By then she’d caught the playwrighting bug and applied to NYU Tisch School of the Arts to study with the greats.

At Tisch she learned the ancient art of storytelling and practiced building stories to follow a narrative arc. Euripides and Sophocles taught her the origins of dramatic writing, and mentors like Richard Wesley encouraged her own burgeoning voice. After graduating, Mai wrote The Fall of the Kings, which debuted at the Andrew Freedman Home in the Bronx.

Pulling the audience in

Mai knows how to expertly uncover cherished soundbites so characters can woo an audience and marketers can connect with customers. Just before joining 2A, Mai worked for the U.S. Senate democrats as a digital creative director, writing commercials to promote mid-term election candidates. In that role she faced a new challenge of marrying scripted and unscripted moments into a piece that won over viewers. Today, she uses those same skills to write compelling blogs and build customer-evidence videos.

Mai also has a knack for interviewing, which she honed through her work for the Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO) in Washington DC. She interviewed dozens of high-profile individuals and published the conversations in the CLEO Edge magazine to attract more people of color to the legal profession. At 2A she puts her Q-and-A skills to use during customer interviews for case studies.

Influencing your point of view

No matter what she pens, Mai shines when she’s tasked with influencing the audience. Her plays have a way of making you pause and evaluate, while her case studies and videos compel customers to act. Wherever she goes, Mai lets her values lead her. Her most fulfilling experiences have been when her writing has mobilized people who were disenfranchised. When her work was performed for a New York City high school group, they told Mai how they’d connected with her characters, especially around issues like gentrification and displaced families. Seeing those students relate to her work was one of her high points as a writer.

At 2A she’s found a place where she can tackle new writing challenges and push the boundaries of storytelling. We can’t wait to see where she’ll take us next.

By Mai Sennaar

Nora blends creativity & people skills for the ultimate mix of marketing magic!

At 2A Nora Bright has found a place where her prodigious people skills and acuity for creative approaches to business problems work in tandem. Her knack for the arts, culture, and imaginative business strategies lead to the surprising and innovative approaches to marketing that her clients can’t get enough of. 

Nora first explored her creativity as a multi-instrumentalist musician. Before killing it on the drums as part of the opening act for some major artists (Ty Segall!) on campus at Scripps College, Nora was already uncovering her knack for leadership. She worked in the non-profit sector at several prominent arts and culture organizations in Los Angeles including the Colburn School, a music conservatory where she studied clarinet with world-class instructors. She impressed the leadership of Colburn, eventually following the director to New Roads School, where she had her first formal position as a Development Assistant. 

But Nora truly discovered the extent of her talent for people management when she served as a 23-year-old co-owner of her family’s recruiting business. Instead of taking a backseat to more seasoned team members or sticking close to the script of how things had always been, Nora immediately took on the challenges of leadership, managing the day-to-day operations of the company with an eye on growth. She sought one-on-ones with colleagues and clients with a sincere interest in gaining a more nuanced understanding of their challenges. She understood that her greatest strength as a leader would lie in her ability to empathize with and understand the perspectives of her collaborators. It was the beginning of Nora honing what she refers to as “servant-leadership”, an approach that allows her to see her role as one of service, even when it comes to employees. 

Through a commitment to gaining greater awareness of the needs of her customers and team, Nora managed to quickly build a positive rapport with the company’s clients. She supercharged the work culture, successfully diffused internal conflicts, and brought new creative strategies to the company’s marketing challenges. Her hard work paid off, ultimately propelling the company into a new era, with a 47% increase in revenue. As a testament to her people skills, many of the new clients under her tenure at the recruiting firm were former employers, including the Colburn School, where she successfully placed several key roles, including a Deputy Director. 

Following a transformative experience with her family business, Nora was inspired by the depth of her impact on people. She was excited by her ability to help others realize their strengths and was prepared to take her leadership and marketing skills to new dimensions. She decided on an MBA at the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business. 

It may have been the oysters that first attracted Nora to 2A’s on-campus recruitment happy hour, but the more she learned about the company’s reputation for combining creativity with marketing expertise, the more she wanted to know. Once she had an opportunity to personally meet with several members of the 2A team, things really clicked for Nora. She found the culture extraordinarily creative, welcoming, dynamic, and nourishing.  

When she’s not brainstorming fresh marketing strategies for her clients at 2A, Nora’s grooving to Yo La Tengo, Riot Grrrl, and honing her own electric guitar skills.