Blog

Katy Nally

Katy is a digger, of information and earth. It just depends if her clients want an eBook or some endive. She helps companies across industries find their voices and speak the language of their audience. She’s also fluent in tomatoes.

Storyteller | LinkedIn

02/04/2020

Meet 2A, greener than Oz

By: Katy Nally

There’s always a chance of disappointment when you reveal the face behind the curtain. For Dorothy, the Great and Powerful Oz turned out to be a green hologram operated by a stout, bald guy. So you might think that glimpsing behind the scenes at 2A would be a letdown—but when filtered through the demiurgic mind of our graphic designer Li, everything is a bit more glittery.

Let’s take a walk through the world of 2A according to Li.

First stop, the consultants. They’re always ready to take your call—happy to wheel and deal over landline, cell phone, Teams, or Owl. The footstool-supported power stance helps promote the body’s natural flow of creative juices so they can build the world’s greatest keynote presentations.

Now, the designers are a little more relaxed. They like their databases like they like their LaCroix, cold and bubbly. They’re the brains behind our shapes, handling all the triangles, squares, and circles we’re known for. Go ahead, see if there’s a shape they’ve never heard of, impossible!

How about our developers? Diligent as always, jamming to their own tunes, and working too hard to take their empty coffee cups to the sink (but not working so hard that they can’t get more coffee—it’s called a dev’s paradox). They handle our pest control (hah! Bug joke) and our beautiful websites.

Next up, our storytellers. They’re up to their elbows in ideas, so one draft is never good enough. It’s just a matter of sifting through every word for that perfect sentence. But don’t feel bad about their cluttered desks, the number of books they have is directly correlated to their intelligence…

And finally, the Coonis mesmerizers, our operations team. They’re ready to go Law and Order on that job posting to help us find our next, favorite 2A-er. Don’t be fooled by their feet-up attitude, they mean business. They keep this place running! And they make sure our snacks still surprise us.

We hope you enjoyed your tour through 2A! We’re certainly more exciting than a green talking head…and the shy showman behind the curtain. Come see for yourself! Swing by if you’re in the neighborhood.

07/10/2019

Laurie channels Mad Men creativity for inspired marketing

By: Katy Nally

While you won’t find a crystal decanter full of scotch in 2A’s bar, and only occasionally are we passed out on our communal couch, there’s at least one member of our team who’s bringing the Mad Men flair to 2A. Our Senior Consultant Laurie Krisman has a way with words and a knack for storytelling reminiscent of Don Draper’s best advertising quips.

“It’s not a wheel. It’s a carousel.”

Laurie commands the beauty and power of language. After a few years as a high school English teacher, she decided that words really make her tick, and transitioned into the world of advertising where she could write more. At a small agency in Colorado, she worked as a copywriter, crafting snappy ads and serving as a gatekeeper to all phrases that went out the door.

Much like Don Draper’s famous Kodak pitch where he branded the company’s slide projector “the carousel,” Laurie knows the value of landing the right words to stir nostalgia and connect customers to a product. By the time she transitioned to lead marketing manager at Qwest (now called CenturyLink), Laurie’s campaigns appeared plastered on kiosks at malls around the country. Today, she’s our in-house expert for turning wheels into carousels.

“Success comes from standing out, not fitting in.”

Laurie delivers strategic marketing so clients can stand out. With experience leading marketing projects at enterprises, like Xcel Energy, and small companies, like MD2, she knows how to build a story that resonates with the audience and solves business problems. First, she does her homework and analyzes the customer; then she ties in her clever way with words to produce meaningful assets that make an impact.

As a senior consultant at 2A, she’s found her sweet spot between creative and strategic. She may not work on Mad Men’s Pond’s Cold Cream account, but Laurie’s strategic thinking has helped 2A’s clients stand out.

“Technology is a glittering lure.”

Laurie expertly cuts through flashy tech talk to expose the real story. Don Draper knew what made each of his clients’ companies special—from Ocean Spray, to Jaguar, to Cool Whip—and Laurie operates the same way. She makes it a priority to follow the latest news from Microsoft, Amazon, Apptio, and F5 to understand the tech behind the trends. She’s fascinated by the power of the cloud to transform business operations, which makes her a perfect addition to the team.

We can’t promise cigarette-choked office buildings, or hard-liquor lunches, but when you’re ready to go a little Don Draper on your uninspired marketing, give us call. We’ll toast Laurie, Seattle-style (a grande, quad latte), and all the Madison Avenue talent she brings.

06/26/2019

Most likely to design your website? Vote for Annie.

By: Katy Nally

A yearbook chronicles bygone events—campy theater productions, glitter-dusted dances, and sports teams’ hot streaks. But for Annie Unruh, serving as editor in chief of her high school yearbook was less of a wrap up, and more of a surprising beginning. It wasn’t your typical yearbook. Called the Lair, it was award-winning and beefy. Before she knew it, the project had pulled her into the vortex of graphic design and set her on a course to 2A where she continues to use timeless design to capture the present.

Student life

Annie spent many afterschool hours camped out working on the Lair, slaving over page layouts to get portraits and feature stories just right. She even designed a profile story about a classmate’s World of Warcraft mastery that earned an award from the University of Kansas School of Journalism. On another page, she wrote a story about high school students who hang out at Sonic Drive-In because boredom is real! They passed the time slurping down the 44-oz-soda special.

When she heard about a yearbook convention in California, she didn’t hesitate to jump on a plane—it was a golden opportunity to refine her craft (and also get out of Kansas for a while).

Career superlatives

After getting a taste of California, Annie headed back to pursue a bachelor’s in fine arts at Chapman University in Orange. With her freshly minted degree in graphic design, and solid experience in print design, she landed a few gigs after college that pushed her skills further:

Annie collected credentials all along the West Coast, designing websites, apps, posters, swag, and animations for sole-proprietors and large enterprises alike. At T-Mobile, she worked as a graphic designer and communication specialist, finding ingenious ways to incorporate the patented magenta into onboarding swag and solve communications problems through design. But 2A won her over with the opportunity to take on a broad range of projects—like award-worthy sock graphics—and enter new territory with non-corporate clients—like Colombian artist Juan Manuel Echavarria.

She’s also steadily taken on more responsibility within the 2A design team. An insatiable reader, she’s devoured books about how to achieve a harmonious workplace culture, and how to run an efficient meeting. Annie doesn’t hesitate to apply her newfound knowledge, which has helped her team grow together.

Extra curriculars

Management books are just a subsection of Annie’s extensive library. Her extra-curricular schedule includes all the books the library is willing to loan her, in addition to scenic bike rides and queer events around Seattle. Her appetite for reading usually doubles as her breakfast companion—you might find her in the morning charging through a new memoir, its pages held open by the plate in front of her. Only halfway through the year and Annie is well on her way to best her 2018 total of 42 books read.

Need a designer who can give your work the timeless sheen of a yearbook? Just look up Annie (she’s on page 4) waiting for your heartfelt note about enjoying the summer.

05/01/2019

From taglines to tagliatelle, Clinton always lands the story

By: Katy Nally

Anyone who can make up a song about tacos just to entertain his Dachshund-mix, Remi, clearly speaks the language of storytelling. And no matter the medium—dog songs, data sheets, designer cocktails—Clinton Bowman taps his inherent skills for seeing the creative and strategic angles of each story to craft the perfect arc.

Photography was Clinton’s creative outlet growing up in Oklahoma. And it’s where his adventures in storytelling began, learning to capture the right image in the right moment to make an impact. His hobby eventually snowballed into an education at Oklahoma City University where Clinton earned his BFA in photography with a minor in advertising. After being selected as a young artist winner, he accepted the opportunity to tour the country and show his photos, starting at the Smithsonian.

Catching a glimpse of the museum side of things, Clinton quickly craved more. He worked as an exhibit manager, falling in love with nonprofit management, then went on to accept a prized fellowship with the Kennedy Center in DC. In his new role he drew on his storytelling chops, this time writing tug-on-your-heartstrings narratives for fundraising. Instead of capturing the perfect moment with his camera, he captured donor empathy with words.

Through the MBA program at UW’s Foster School of Business, Clinton took his background in nonprofit management to the next level, graduating with solid marketing expertise. He was attracted to 2A as a place where his creative yin could finally merge with its strategic yang. He loves the chance to problem solve for clients and devise marketing solutions, using his storytelling powers to craft the perfect one-liner for Microsoft Dynamics, and sum up the complexities of AI in a compelling datasheet.

Clinton continues to push the boundaries of his repertoire by mastering new storytelling languages—these days he’s focused on recipes in the pursuit of a homemade tagliatelle and Bolognese, and the perfect gin martini.

So the next time you need a consultant with a creative eye to sculpt your business strategy or even perk up your pup, bring in Clinton for a pow wow with the bow wow.

04/22/2019

We built a learning portal that keeps the Silicon Valley dream alive

By: Katy Nally

You know the story: a classically nerdy guy grows up tinkering with computers, teaches himself how to code, heads to college, drops out to launch his startup, and poof, becomes a millionaire. It sounds familiar because it’s the origin story of tech legends like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg. And increasingly (finally!) there’s a parallel plot shaping up for women developers, just look at Melanie Perkins from Canva and Lucy Guo from Scale.

The DIY nature of coding—plus the potential for a lasting legacy—has lured many into the field of computer science. As our economy shifts to weight technology jobs more heavily, the once-nerdy hobby and self-taught education now hold the promise of a secure, lucrative career for people on the developer track. In fact, more than half of today’s developers don’t have a degree in computer science or a related field.

This idea of self-empowerment was central to a new initiative from the Windows Developer Marketing team at Microsoft. Meet the Dev Collective, a learning portal for developers to grow their coding skills across Microsoft platforms. 2A’s mix of developers, designers, and PM consultants built the Dev Collective site from the ground up to help all skill levels boost their coding acumen. Here are some highlights:

  • Extensive content: The Dev Collective connects developers to Microsoft tutorials to learn everything from Azure Blob Storage to working with Javascript.
  • Curated learning: Developers have the option to nibble away at a variety of courses—maybe they want to brush up on C# or better understand Azure Databricks—or they can bite off a whole learning path that includes each course they need to master a new skill.
  • Personalized experience: Skill level badges on courses assist with navigating the catalog, while progress tracking and bookmarks help developers pick up where they left off.
  • Mobile-ready: The truth is, learning happens everywhere. That 15-minute bus ride every morning or that coffee break at 2 are opportunities to brush up on old skills and learn the latest techniques. That’s why we made sure Dev Collective travels well and is accessible in all formats.

We’re proud to help democratize coding with this learning management system, because who knows where the next unicorn will come from?

04/04/2019

Partners, ostriches, and everything in between, Jesi will be there for you

By: Katy Nally

Defeathering a chicken isn’t the only valuable skill Jesi Chrisman brings to the table. Growing up on a 5-acre farm not only left her with a love of homesteading, it also gave way to fundamental qualities that make her a dynamite project manager. With chickens to feed, pigs to wrangle and horses to check on, Jesi learned quickly how to be a caretaker, and how to stay organized and flexible to overcome unexpected challenges.

From ostrich care to customer care

Her pet ostrich was one of the first things she learned to take care of. Little did she know that 6-foot bird would help her develop patience and attentiveness—skills perfectly suited for a string of customer service roles later in life. Before joining 2A, Jesi worked as a lead assistant at a dentist office, helping to deliver the utmost care for patients and efficiently run the back office. As a project manager at 2A, she supports Microsoft partners who develop accessories for Surface.

Ready to tackle new challenges

Jesi is always game to tackle new challenges to further her team. She’s on point when you need her, ready to get your flock flying together. Once she even chased down an escaped ostrich that managed to jump its fence. If she can corner an ostrich that’s capable of running 43 miles per hour, and successfully get the giant bird back through a gate… well, not much is harder than that. As a project manager, Jesi’s willingness to take on more responsibility is what transformed her first short-term position at Microsoft into a long-term role, advancing her entire team to provide better support to partners.

A rise ‘n shine timekeeper

If only Old McDonald had a coordination master like Jesi on his team, he wouldn’t waste his time finding one animal at a time—he’d have an animal inventory at his fingertips! Jesi knows how to keep teams organized and operating efficiently. To support her Microsoft team she works across departments, ferreting out events that spotlight Surface and tapping into her customer service skills to showcase the right partners.

Jesi might consider herself an ole farm girl, but when it comes to project management, she has some nifty tricks up her sleeve.

03/29/2019

3 ways journalists take your marketing to the next level

By: Katy Nally

I ignored a lot of advice in college. My dad was the first one to try to steer me away from journalism—he nearly had a heart attack when I shared my “highly impractical” degree plan. Then there were my professors. Many of them had climbed the ranks at print publications and were still wounded by the slashed budgets and staff cuts occurring at outlets large and small. They weren’t shy about portending the demise of newspapers during lectures, and I thought I detected a little smugness in the “writing for web” classes.

So chalk it up to stubbornness, or naivety, but I stuck with journalism and surprised even myself when I landed a job at a small newspaper after college. It wasn’t until I ran into my favorite professor outside the state legislature building in Hartford that I started to think about other career options. Instead of telling me I was doing great and boosting my fragile 22-year-old ego, he told me, “Get out while you still can!” That time it sunk in. Maybe it was the genuine concern in his voice, but I started thinking about where—other than print publications—my journalism degree could take me.

Turns out marketing makes a great home for would-be journalists. Here’s what we bring to the table:

Structured, newsworthy stories

First and foremost, journalists can write. It’s drilled into us. We have to produce loads of accurate copy on deadline, and we rely on a proven formula that works and aligns with marketing. A lead goes at the top to hook the reader, then an explanatory body breaks down the message in clear, concise points. Journalists know how to keep your marketing consistent, on-message, and compelling.

New facts and emotion

Journalists are diggers. We’re trained to ask an annoying level of questions to uncover the truth! In marketing, this skill comes in handy when you want to validate a proof point with data, or beef up a campaign with first-hand testimonials. Journalists live for sifting through pages of documentation, or cold calling sources to learn the skinny. We have a knack for interviewing subjects to draw out click-bait-worthy quotes and uncover the emotional ties that give a story its relevance.

Less spin, more ground

Authenticity is the holy grail for brands. It’s how marketers want to sound, and it’s how consumers want to perceive companies. But many marketers fall into the spin trap, where they’ve piled on so many great things about one product that their pitch couldn’t possibly be genuine. That’s where journalists can help. Firstly, we have an inherent aversion to spin. And secondly, we’re conditioned to remove ourselves from the story and consider it from other people’s perspectives—in this case, the customer. We use that lesson in empathy to uncover new ways of framing the benefits of your product in a way that’s genuine, and makes you look muy authentico.

While newspapers may be falling out of fashion, journalists will find a soft landing in marketing. And we’re here at 2A when you’re ready for a fresh take.

03/26/2019

Erin taps the creative energy of Seattle’s grey areas

By: Katy Nally

What’s the worst that can happen? That six-word ethos has propelled Erin McCaul across careers, countries, and cliffsides until it landed her here at 2A as our consultant for web projects. As you might have gathered, Erin isn’t afraid of much. Like her sci-fi role model, Sarah Connor, she terminates challenges with her ability to see problems from all sides and turn up creative solutions.

The left side of the road

Just after college, Erin found herself on the other side of the Pacific, teaching English to a classroom of students in Japan. She didn’t speak Japanese, she didn’t know anyone in the rural town of Kunisaki and she had never driven on the left side of the road before. But none of that stopped her. She broke her students out of their shells, made friends with her neighbors, and developed an affinity for her egg-shaped car. She even successfully set up a wireless router relying only a manual in Japanese and her intuition.

The limitless grey areas

But she couldn’t stay away from the Pacific Northwest for long. See, Erin likes the grey areas in life (Seattle included) because they give her room to roam. She doesn’t like to be boxed in when it comes to problem solving because she enjoys exercising her curiosity and trying unexpected solutions. And Seattle’s tech industry was just the place for her grey-area approach to flourish. First at the SEO software company Moz, and now at 2A, Erin has unblocked developers to construct marketing assets and deploy them across channels. When problems arise, Erin gets a twinkle in her eye and calmly tells her crew, “this is just our chance to get creative.”

The granite way forward

While solutions to marketing challenges might be murky, the path forward looks crystal clear compared to the obscured, craggy route up a 15-pitch climb in Squamish, BC. That’s Erin’s happy place, and where you’ll find her on the weekends—with chalky hands atop giant granite boulders. With an outdoorsy spirit rooted in a what’s-the-worst-that-could-happen attitude, Erin crushes climbs, then tops it off with some trail running. And lucky for our clients, that boundless energy extends to their projects as well.

Need someone to think outside the box to solve your marketing challenges? Erin’s happy to wade through the muddy grey areas and dig up solutions.

03/06/2019

Meet Katherine, storytelling embodied

By: Katy Nally

Once upon a time, Katherine cracked open a book. She was smitten. The more she read, the more she appreciated books and their ability to transport the reader. That enthusiasm grew over the years, until books and reading slowly sowed their way into her identity. By the time she moved to Seattle she had liquidated her possessions—except for her book collection. It was the one thing she couldn’t part with. Today she pays tribute to her first love by working with the Microsoft book store, writing spellbinding copy to hook readers, and promoting a happily ever after for all.

Never an idle protagonist, Katherine has taken charge of the narrative of her career. Facing a professional turning point, she decided to get her Project Management Professional certification to open new career opportunities. And she’s not stopping there. Next up is her PMI-Agile Certified Practitioner exam. All that know-how has bolstered her love of thinking strategically and building processes to achieve a goal. As a project manager at 2A, Katherine supports the Microsoft book store, leveraging her penchant for strategy to help drive the team’s marketing campaigns.

The Microsoft book store feeds her need for books—Katherine thrives amongst her fellow bibliophiles and enjoys getting an inside look at the publishing industry. She’s right at home curating and publishing lists of favorite reads, and writing snappy copy to make her lineups pop. Before joining 2A, Katherine worked as a copywriter at Zulily. Her way with words comes in handy for the Books Merchandising team, which publishes her copy on the books storefront and across various marketing channels. Her keen sense of project management, plus her writing skills keep her team highly efficient and running smoothly.

Katherine has always been dedicated to helping people live happily ever after by building a more peaceful world. In addition to her history and international studies majors, Katherine also earned a peace studies minor. Her education sparked a stint in AmeriCorps, working for the International Rescue Committee. These days she’s a member of both the Seattle-Perugia Sister City Association and Seattle-Isfahan Sister City Advocacy, which promote an inclusive and diverse city. When she sees a cause that deserves advocacy, Katherine doesn’t hold back. She’s already converted a few friends to the sustainable blockchain Burstcoin, after learning about its green solution to reduce energy waste in coin mining.

Project manager, writer and advocate all rolled into one. Let’s see how she can build your story.

02/07/2019

Meet Annie—ready for any double dawg dare

By: Katy Nally

This year she traded in her pliés for a chance to pop and lock. While the moves may be new—venturing from years of ballet to freestyle hip hop—this drive to expand her breadth of expertise is Annie’s telltale MO. With a former life as a fashion buyer, a background in Middle Eastern studies, and a penchant for marketing strategy, Annie applies her multitude of perspectives to see client projects from all angles.

A historian at heart with an analytical appetite

Who says a liberal arts education is dead? Annie is living proof that you can still get your money’s worth. Studying history at the University of Washington left her with a zeal for digging into information to understand the why. That analytical appetite has come in handy when devising marketing strategies for clients. And it’s part of the reason she chose 2A. Annie relishes a good challenge, and has no fear when it comes to defusing big BOMs, aka bill of materials.

A double dawg with a business bent

Fresh out of college, Annie parlayed her passion for fashion into an internship at Nordstrom. She learned the ropes quickly and worked her way up to become a merchandise analyst. After tasting the business side of things, Annie was hungry to learn more. Turning back to UW she started her journey as a double dawg, earning her MBA at night and working full time during the day. She scored a job at Amazon where her love of marketing flourished—driving in-house fashion brands with go-to-market strategies.

An envelope pusher with a smack of snark

Throughout her career—and equally outside of work—Annie has grown her breadth of knowledge, collecting nuggets of information in each endeavor, then pushing the envelope to learn more. Her love of learning has no end in sight—case in point the several book clubs she’s in and her well-worn library card. In each pursuit she makes it her own with a heavy dose of snark, inevitably building connections through her sense of humor and wit. It’s how her puppy earned the name Zopa, which stands for zone of possible agreement. Annie chose the name after acing negotiation tactics first in class, then later at home.

 

Got a new topic that Annie can sink her teeth into? Give us a call!