When client work is clipping along well and our team is feeling busy but not burdened, AC&C founder and CEO Ali Cox will tell you that project management is responsible. Project managers might seem the quiet ones in the meeting, but only because they are closely mapping out timelines in a separate browser window. Scrolling and dropping in tasks, coordinating with vendors, all to make certain we can do the work well and in a timely manner without mounting stress on any one part of our team.
Abbey Stith is our Senior Project Manager and frequently our “win of the week” for her ability to keep all teams moving without colliding. She once chose “favorite wooden spoon” as the kitchen utensil she most identifies with because everyone benefits from her and she can be trusted to get the job done – big or small. In an email tête-à-tête from Turlock, CA to Columbus, Ohio, our Content Manager, Renae Bowen, got to the bottom of how Abbey Stith makes difficult work look easy.
Renae Bowen: Okay Abbey, what gets you excited for the day when your feet hit the floor in the morning?
Abbey Stith: Some days, it’s fresh air on my walk to yoga or an iced coffee on my front porch. Other days, it’s chit-chatting with my parents via Facetime then dancing to Taylor Swift’s latest album while I get ready for the day. It might be a little cliché, but like a snowflake, no two days are the same and that is how I like it!
RB: Aside from company values, what personal values drive your work?
AS: I think it’s pretty simple for me. Create margin. Margin is the space between our load and our limits. Decide to be a thermostat not a thermometer and always leave things better than how you found them.
RB: How do you describe project management to those that don’t know what it means?
AS: Project management is the glue that keeps projects and people together. Project managers are responsible for the day-to-day operations of planning, organizing, managing and executing projects from beginning to end. Project managers are also responsible for keeping our team members motivated, excited, responsible, and involved. Our project scopes can vary from single pieces of print collateral to multifaceted, multichannel marketing campaigns. Without project management, we could not serve the clients we do and achieve the successes we do.
RB: There are a whole lot of tools out there meant to support project management across teams, are there any apps or tools that you like working with?
AS: Slack for easy team communication and collaboration. Dropbox to store, organize and send files easily. Focus Keeper to keep productivity high, avoid burnout and track personal to-do lists. The World Clock to keep up with different time zones for coworkers, clients and partners across the globe.
RB: What would an alternate career path look like for you?
AS: If I didn’t enjoy the wild ride of a creative project manager, I would own a boutique flower shop in downtown Columbus. I dream of spending my days surrounded by stems of garden roses and peonies. Being able to celebrate special moments with flowers and gifts has always brought so much joy to my life.
RB: Are there marketing campaigns past or present that you consider memorable?
AS: The Bud Light “Victory Fridge” Campaign is one of my favorites. In 2018, Bud Light decided that it would give away free beer in Cleveland, but only if the Browns won. The Cleveland Browns had been the worst team in the NFL for years, at the time only winning one game in the previous two years.
To make the potential win a little sweeter, Bud Light installed “Victory Fridges” in 10 Cleveland-area bars and FirstEnergy Stadium. The fridges were to unlock simultaneously when the Browns won, allowing fans to celebrate with 200 free beers per venue. After a 635-day losing streak, the Browns beat the Jets and Bud Light hadn’t ever tasted better!
RB: What is the super-strength that you bring to the AC&C team?
AS: The ability to see many options or solutions and how that can impact everything else we have moving. Or high levels of energy and optimism, it depends if the team has had their coffee yet hah!
RB: What are you reading, watching, or listening to these days?
AS: ALL. THE. THINGS! I just finished reading Normal People and Never Split The Difference. I am currently reading Malibu Rising and honestly can’t put it down. I’m watching the new HBO series, Gossip Girl. It feels like 2007 all over again and I’m loving every minute of it. While I work, Taylor Swift plays on repeat.
RB: What is the top-secret, little-known best thing about working for AC&C?
AS: Aaron Himmel, our VP of Operations. If you know you know!