People of OH: Ana Rabago

I first noticed Ana’s cool studded bag and thick-rimmed glasses on our way to a client meeting. Matt Moore, Ana, and I had a meeting nestled amongst the Sedona Red Rocks during her first week at OH, and it was clear to everyone that she was ready to work. Her great wit, fierce mind, and knack for process are constant and seemingly unmatched. She keeps our projects running smoothly, while also encourages and inspires her team – just like the badass momma bear she was born to be

So, as always to start – what do you do at OH?

I am a Senior Project Manager.

How long have you been with OH?

Just shy of two years. I think March will be my anniversary. A lifetime. That’s a veteran in OH terms. For real.

What does Ana’s day-to-day look like?

Oh my gosh. It’s a lot of chaos. It’s a lot of trying to organize within chaos. It’s making sure that everything the client asks for gets done on time, in budget, and by the quality that OH holds themselves to.

Have you always worked at an advertising agency?

My first legit job was working at a local agency as an intern. I then got a full time job and bounced around from agency to agency. I’ve worked in all facets of agency life. I got into project management because I wanted to be behind-the-scenes of the deliverables to clients. I thought I would just try it and it turned out to be something I’m really good at.

What is your favorite part of project management?

I have always personally thrived in chaos. You know those cartoons where people are spinning plates on their hands and feet? I’m like that. When there’s not a lot going on, I can’t concentrate. I need a lot to happen and that’s a huge part of this job. When I figured out that’s what project management is, being organized in chaos and making everything function within that I thought, “Oh, I can do this”.

Where are you from?

I’m native. Born and raised. Well, Mesa area technically. But as you know, my family is from a small little podunk town in Arizona.

What’s your family like?

Big. Loud. Nosey. Extremely lovable to the point of exhaustion. We just love each other so much, we have no boundaries. But that’s what makes it fun.

Your work life sounds a lot like your home life.

It’s very true. My husband tells me I talk to him like a teacher talks to their student. But that’s what I do all day! It’s my job to stay on top of people and make sure they know what to focus on each day.

We all know that you’re an awesome mom. Any parenting tips?

True parenting tips? Or work parenting tips? *laughs*. With my two actual kids… I try to always treat them like they’re humans. If you want them to grow up as functioning adults, you have to talk to them like that. I always try to explain to them why things are the way that they are. We’ll say, “you can’t do that, cuz you’ll… poke your eye out, kid.” We also always try to remind them that, I hear you, I understand you, but here’s why you can or can’t. I think we’ve avoided a lot of tantrums by just explaining things.

And does this apply to your work family?

Yes, that’s very true too for my work children. Everybody benefits from having something explained to them. Nobody wants a hard no. An explanation goes a long way. It’s easy to turn someone away by just saying no. Unless you’ve really solved for what the problem was, you’re not going to get anywhere.

What do you think makes Arizona special?

There’s something so unique about how you can travel within the boundaries of this state and experience so much different culture, climates, and scenery. You’ve got cactus, pinetrees, you’ve got rolling hills, and desert.

Not to mention, there are so many hidden gems, even after this place has had so many people flock to it. The places I went to in my 20s are still the same. They haven’t lost their uniqueness after being uncovered. The places that were always gems have stayed true, and now I can bring my kids and it still feels the same.

How do you think OH positions itself in Arizona?

I think we position ourselves as a force to be reckoned with. We’ve held ourselves accountable and I think we’ve proved it to a lot of people and on variant levels. We’re not just a force to be wrecked within our region, but we’re holding our own against people who have been in this business a lot longer.

What do you need to feel comfortable to do your job well?

I like good, constructive criticism. If I’m doing something wrong, I want to know. I want to learn from it. If no one gives you feedback, you’re going to grow confidence in the wrong areas. I want honesty so that one day I can be better. You won’t know unless people tell you.

What is a goal you have in 2019, both personally and professionally?

That’s tough. It’s so early! And I’m not a resolution person. I’ve been in project management for seven to eight years now, and I feel like I’ve refined that as much as I can. I want to take the next step and help roll it into the agency in a different way. It’s fun for me to poke holes in process and I kind of have a knack for it.

Personally, I would like to be more present when I’m around my kids and my family. It’s hard to stay present. There’s always something we can be doing. Agency life is demanding, so it’s hard to shut off the emails and be there for my kids. It’s also hard for me not to ask how the kids are doing when I’m at work. I’d just like to be more present overall.

How do you think you can do that?

There’s something to be said about knowing what you can tackle in a day – and what you just can’t. There’s always something more we can do – always an email to send, always an extra phone call, or a project to quickly wrap up. I just need to ask myself, what can I do today and what won’t explode if I don’t finish it this second?

What are some brands or companies that you admire? What’s giving you creative inspiration right now?

The iconic brands of the world are always giving off inspiration, obviously. But personally, I’ve always been a localist. I’ve always hung out with artistic people, especially when I was your age. I love when you find someone on Instagram and you’re like, oh that person is from Phoenix! I love to get inspiration from local people that are doing great sh*t.

What have you noticed about OH that feels different about other companies or agencies?

The passion is palpable. I’ve never worked at a place where everyone is creative – across the board. Everyone has such a passion for what they do. It spills over. If you’re having a bad day, you can have a five minute conversation and it will lift you back up. There’s so much energy and so much passion in those four walls. It makes you go in and just want to grind.

Tenacity, too. There’s a lot of tenacity in there. In a good way. There’s no shame in our game. We’re just going to go after it. We’ll be relentless. If it works, it works. If not, it’s whatever. We take ourselves with a grain of salt and I like that. I never want to take myself too seriously.