It’s the second month of ThinkNW’s new Industry Spotlight Series, where we get to know individuals working in the regional marketing, advertising, and media community.
This month, we are honored to feature Deena Anreise, Writing Director at Thesis. Deena shared with us her path towards a career in writing here in the PNW, and a few of the things that excite her about the regional industry.
How did you get started in the industry? What’s been your career roadmap?
I have been a player-coach — a Writer and people manager — for over a decade. I have always been a Writer because words and language are my favorites. But it was always more of a hobby because my family would not allow me to be a Writer growing up. It was seen as a frivolous activity. In terms of leadership, I think that being an older sister in a big Lebanese and Syrian family played a huge role in forming me as a leader at a very early age. That was an acceptable role to play, according to my family. So I was a people manager well before I was a Writer and actually didn’t pursue writing as a full-time career until I was in my early thirties. That’s when I moved to Portland, with my two sons in tow, to pursue a Master in Publishing and Writing at Portland State University. That was over twelve years ago.
Being a Writer was a lifelong dream, and the MA program helped me understand that I could monetize my most fundamental passion. I could make it a career! I’ve never looked back. The more I grow in my career, the more I lean into craft coaching and high-level organizational leadership. I always find ways to stay in the work, but it’s become more about lifting others up and supporting them in their career growth journeys. I love that aspect! I enjoy seeing others grow in their craft and careers. It’s very fulfilling to me.
What excites you most about this industry?
The creativity!! There’s lots of fun and satisfaction to be had doing conceptual and production work. Being around the energy of other Creatives is my rocket fuel. I absolutely love that environment and the ample opportunities to build relationships through making. #DreamJob
What human quality do you most admire and also most deplore?
The term visionary comes to mind. I admire visionaries and visionary thinking, but not at the expense of forward movement, productivity, collaboration, and results.
Out of all the projects you have worked on (or people you’ve worked with), which (who) one has been your favorite? And why?
My current boss, Tyler Stenson, is a huge reason why I took my current role. He’s an accessible, empathetic, inclusive leader who is equal parts leader and boots-on-the-ground team player. He’s also just real af. At this point in my life, if I can’t confide in and trust my boss, then I’d rather find another company to work for that cherishes and champions empathy, radical candor, coaching, and inclusivity. Life is too short to deal with leaders who don’t listen or lead. I continue to grow as a Writer, leader, and human because my boss’s growth mindset is a reliable, direction-setting compass that meets me where I’m at and helps me forge a solid path forward. We’re all flawed. It’s 100% certain that we will make mistakes. Does your boss or company give you opportunities to work through and learn from those mistakes? That answer is critical.
What is your guiltiest pleasure?
A Starbucks coconut milk hot chocolate (aka liquid Snickers), with no whip and no foam, served at 190 degrees (yes, I like it HOT!). It’s so bad for me but soooo yummy.
What is the most fun part of your job?
Creating an entire range of digital and physical assets alongside fellow Creatives, Strategists, Technologists, Project and Account Managers, and everyone else who shows up to make.
What is the app you wish someone would invent?
It’s a tie! Either an app that gives me more hours in the day or an app that will put me to sleep immediately.
What is your favorite local ad campaign?
The Oregon College Savings Plan is a true favorite. Thesis happens to be their agency of record, and I get to oversee the work on that account, which is an honor and delight.
Where is your favorite place in the Pacific Northwest?
Anywhere I can ride my CRF250rx, snowboard, or take a scenic hike.