Leading by Example: Annie Al-Timimi
November 16, 2022
If you asked Hothousers who is one person you should meet, they would most likely say Annie. Annie Al-Timimi is our Director of Delivery & Resource Management, and she keeps the whole agency moving like a well-oiled machine. That and she’s exceptionally talented at helping us all have fun. Hear how she pushed her way into the ad world and why she thinks a company’s culture is critical to the work experience.
Haley Robinson (Senior Copywriter at Hothouse): Annie! Thanks for chatting with me. First, let’s talk about what drew you to project management.
Annie Al-Timimi: My first job out of college was at a very small agency – I started out answering the phones and clawed my way to the account side, only to learn that I was absolutely terrible at dealing directly with clients. Around that same time, we hired a Traffic Manager to handle a rapidly growing number of projects.
I watched this bad-ass Traffic Manager churning in high stress situations behind the scenes, controlling the chaos and ensuring delivery always appeared smooth and seamless to the clients. Because she wasn’t client-facing, she could be her most authentic potty-mouthed, chain-smoking self and still contribute to the agency’s success. As a fellow potty-mouth, that way of working was attractive to me – I began apprenticing under her and I’ve been in it ever since.
HR: Backing up a bit. I love that you found your place in the industry, but how did you get into the ad world to begin with?
AA: I’ve always been into advertising, even from an early age. I’m a child of the 80’s, I grew up on MTV music videos. (I still love watching music videos.) In high school, I would cut out Absolut Vodka and Benetton print ads from Rolling Stone and tape them to my bedroom walls. I’ve always loved art – I’m an avid reader, I sketch and watercolor and enjoy interior design. I absolutely adore being around creatives, working closely with them and utilizing my position in the hub of workflow to provide the space for them to produce their best work.
HR: How did you find Hothouse?
AA: In recent years, it became more important than ever to surround myself with people who aligned with my values. I am part of the LGBTQ+ community, Middle Eastern, and I was raised Muslim. I needed to be somewhere that openly embraces and supports diversity and inclusion. And that’s Hothouse.
HR: What is your favorite thing about Hothouse?
AA: The people! They are the nicest group of people I’ve worked with in my entire career. And I have to say, the location is not bad either – I live right across the street from our office in O4W and I can walk to work.
HR: What is it like managing a bunch of creatives?
AA: It can be both rewarding and exasperating! I have worked with some incredibly right-brained creatives who are so on top of it, they make me feel like my job is silly. I’ve also worked with plenty of creatives that are so scattered and disorganized I literally worry about their safety when they leave my sight. Some days, I really do feel like I’m herding cats. But then again, I am a cat person.
HR: What is your greatest contribution to the Hothouse culture?
AA: Probably my literal voice. I can be loud, and I curse a lot. Plus, my impressive knowledge of pop culture and all things Rihanna.
HR: Why is culture so important?
AA: Leadership absolutely sets the tone for agency culture. I’ve worked for a few bullies in my time – if your leaders are jerks, their attitude and behaviors will filter down and permeate the culture. So, if your work peers are back-stabby and place blame on others when things go wrong, know that behavior is coming from the top. The same is true for working in a place where leadership is kind and supportive – that gets passed down as well!
Our extraordinary culture comes from Jon [Katinsky] and Jay [Cronin]. Their leadership style creates an environment of collaboration, honesty, supportiveness and humanity. So not only do we do great work, we work with our peers with a constant lens of kindness and empathy. It’s the biggest reason Hothouse is my forever home.
HR: What are your tips for those interested in becoming project managers?
AA: You need to be the kind of person that thrives in chaos and constant unknowns. You have to be an extremely reactive, type-A personality – you have to have a backbone and wisely choose the times to be a little tough, if needed. And to quote my beloved Aaliyah, you can’t be afraid to occasionally Rock the Boat.
HR: What is your leadership style?
AA: It really depends on who you ask. I customize my approach based on who I’m working with and what will best motivate that person individually. Some people may like my individualized style and some…maybe not!
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