We had a chat with Anna-Maria Morena who is the Director of Marketing & ECommerce at In-Cloud Business Solutions. Although she is an astute marketing professional today, Anna-Maria actually started out in Health Sciences before making the transition to marketing. Let’s learn more about her on this segment of Women In Marketing.
LET’S GET PERSONAL
THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO PARTICIPATE IN OUR WOMEN IN MARKETING SERIES, ANNA-MARIA. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR MEMORIES GROWING UP?
I was born in Montreal (Canada) to parents who immigrated from Italy (and I’m still not sure why they didn’t choose Florida vs the cold weather here).
My fondest childhood memories are days spent at our family cottage. We were surrounded by nature, played sports, sat by bonfires at night while fireflies surrounded us. Oh, plus all that super FUN manual labour, like tending to the enormous garden, cutting firewood and so on.
WHAT WERE YOU LIKE IN YOUR HIGH SCHOOL/COLLEGE YEARS?
I was probably more of a tomboy… loved sports and cars and did not know how to apply mascara without stabbing myself in the eye. In college, I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by a lot of diversity; I learned a lot from the people around me (including how to apply mascara safely).
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE MEAL? THAT ONE MEAL YOU WOULD FEEL NO SHAME FOR NOT SHARING!
Do people share food? Kidding., not so much a meal, but a dessert: Cherry or Blueberry Crumble Pie. Hands-down.
IMAGINE WAKING UP $10 MILLION RICHER TOMORROW, WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH YOUR FORTUNE?
I’m not sure I’d change much to be honest…I’d make sure all my family were taken care of so they can live comfortably. I would then proceed to travel the world and work from different countries. Maybe not work per se, but continue to contribute to society somehow and provide value.
WHAT IS THE ONE INTERESTING THING ABOUT YOU THAT WE WOULDN’T FIND ON YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE? ANY HIDDEN TALENTS PERHAPS? PREVIOUS WOMEN IN MARKETING CANDIDATE, ANASTASIA HAMEL SAYS THAT SHE CAN BREATHE FIRE!
So, not as cool as Anastasia… But probably speaking fluent pig-Latin (uncommon constructed language).
It came in really handy in high school when my best friend and I wanted to hide things from our teachers… or in modern-day, when we don’t want her 3 kids to understand our conversations.
CAREER AND WORKPLACE
WHAT ENCOURAGED YOU TO PURSUE A CAREER IN MARKETING? AFTER ALL, MOST OF US GREW UP WANTING TO BE DOCTORS, RIGHT?
A veterinarian in my case 🙂
I started in Health Sciences, then switched to Commerce and Marketing a little later… I think it was because it just seemed like a really “fun” career at the time. Lots of brainstorming and creativity mixed with psychology and business and analytics- essentially always using both brains.
GIVE US A SNEAK PEEK OF HOW YOU TYPICALLY START YOUR DAY. ARE YOU #TEAMCOFFEE OR #TEAMTEA? OR BOTH? YOU BEAUTIFUL REBEL!
I’m Italian so it’s #TeamEspresso all the way… although, since Covid, I’ve had time to make smoothies in the morning…so lately it’s been Greek yogurt/berry smoothies (don’t tell my mom).
THE PANDEMIC DISRUPTED OUR ROUTINES AND DAILY COMFORTS. HOW BEST DO YOU MAINTAIN A WORK-LIFE BALANCE?
I think surrounding yourself with good people to remind you of work-life balance is crucial. Whether it be co-workers you can laugh and joke around with or friends/family that get you to log off and enjoy life. Left to my own devices, I’d probably be a workaholic since Digital Marketing is constantly evolving and there is always something to learn. Thankfully though, I have great people around me.
WORKING FROM HOME/HYBRID MODEL OF WORKING MAY SOON BECOME A REALITY FOR MOST ORGANIZATIONS GLOBALLY. WHAT’S YOUR TAKE ON REMOTE WORK AND WHAT HAVE BEEN SOME OF YOUR CHALLENGES AS WELL AS WAYS YOU’VE MITIGATED THESE?
Remote work is great. However, I believe one of the biggest challenges is the loss of that in-person feedback from body language or non-verbal cues, thus making our brains work harder to fill in those gaps and experiencing fatigue more easily.
I guess a Hybrid model would probably work best to give people balance…and in the meanwhile, extra effort on communication skills and empathy/openness towards your colleagues helps.
ACCORDING TO A REPORT COMPILED BY MCKINSEY, THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC HAS HARMED WOMEN IN THE WORKPLACE. THE REPORT FURTHER ILLUSTRATES THAT WOMEN HAVE INCREASINGLY BECOME MORE EXHAUSTED AND SUFFER FROM BURNOUT AS COMPARED TO THEIR MALE COUNTERPARTS. IN YOUR OPINION, HOW CAN ORGANIZATIONS PROVIDE THE NECESSARY SUPPORT FOR WOMEN AS WELL AS MOTHERS?
I think it’s always a matter of knowing your audience.
Do not assume what they would like – ask. And then come to the closest possible solution to that. Beyond that, I think one of the main components is flexibility. If a company can be flexible accommodating, as well as put their employees at the heart of decision-making, then it’s pretty hard to intentionally mess this one up.
2021 AND BEYOND
ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, HOW HAVE YOU BEEN SINCE THE START OF THE PANDEMIC? ANY PIVOTAL MOMENTS IN YOUR PERSONAL OR PROFESSIONAL LIFE YOU CAN SHARE WITH US?
We had long stretches of government-enforced curfews during the pandemic (lockdown at 8:30 pm). The restriction, therefore, placed a damper on outdoor physical activity in the evening or any type of social life. But, I took the time to take a few courses and get a few certifications (something I always complain I don’t have enough time to do).
So I guess it’s always trying to make the best out of a bad situation, even if it isn’t always evident.
KNOWING WHAT YOU KNOW TODAY AND IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL YOUR YOUNGER SELF?
Always speak your truth, even if it’s terrifying as heck. In the end, great things can come from putting your ego aside and being fully authentic.
ANY BUCKET LIST ITEMS?
Most of my bucket list items are centered around travel. So as soon as we’re allowed to travel again, I’d discover Croatia, Israel, California and Iceland (as a start). The rest I try to accomplish in my day-to-day life so I don’t accumulate a huge list of things I want to do.
WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR SHEROES?
One of my biggest mentors was my old E-Commerce supervisor, Catherine (or, as she preferred, Cato). She was a woman of integrity, authenticity, pure-hearted kindness, laughter and all forms of intelligence. Unfortunately, she passed away from illness way too young, but I’m so grateful for the time I had with her. She is the person I aspired to be as a leader and mentor today.
WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?
I rarely read books. I’m more of an online article/whitepaper junkie. Although, someone recently shared an ebook by Gabrielle Bernstein called ‘Super Attractor‘ and I liked some of the concepts the author speaks to.
WHAT IS ON YOUR NETFLIX WATCHLIST?
Same here… I rarely watch TV. Unless it’s professional Hockey and the Montreal Canadiens are playing (shocker from the Canadian). But once again, Covid did change this habit slightly. I found myself watching series like “Cobra Kai” and “Emily in Paris”…not to mention almost all the Marvel Superhero movies (thanks to my friends).
WHAT WOULD YOU COME BACK AS IN THE NEXT LIFETIME CAREER-WISE? DO YOU THINK YOU MISSED A CALLING?
I don’t think I’ll wait another lifetime, but if I can manage it in this one, I’d like to be a life coach or career coach… maybe write a book too. We’ll see… or maybe, I’ll finally become a veterinarian so I can hang around puppies all day.
WE ABSOLUTELY LOVE HOW FORBES CURATES THEIR MARKETING-CENTRIC CONTENT. HAVE YOU HAD A CHANCE TO READ THROUGH THEIR CMO NEXT 2021 FEATURE? WHILST ON THE TOPIC OF GREAT MARKETEERS, WHEN YOU RETIRE ONE DAY, HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE REMEMBERED AS A PROFESSIONAL?
Someone who added value to people’s lives. Who made others feel great and inspired them to be the best versions of themselves. Someone who got people to think outside the box and break conventional ways of speaking or acting.
WHO HAVEN’T YOU SEEN OR TALKED TO IN A LONG TIME AND HOPE THEY ARE DOING OKAY?
Mmmm… Usually, if I’m thinking of someone or concerned about them, I simply get in touch with them. Mostly I just miss hanging out with my family when all 35 of us get together, eat way too much, share old memories and joke around- creating new memories. Hopefully, once the pandemic is fully over we can get back to doing that regularly (and probably have a greater appreciation for it).
A UNIQUE MESSAGE FOR ALL YOUNG PROFESSIONALS IN THE MARKETING INDUSTRY
Don’t be afraid to start at the bottom; it’ll give you a greater perspective and make you a better leader once you’re at the top.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME ANNA-MARIA. WE HOPE THIS INTERVIEW WILL INSPIRE FUTURE LEADERS AND OTHER WOMEN IN MARKETING. HOW CAN PEOPLE FOLLOW YOU AND YOUR COMPANY ON SOCIAL MEDIA?