Marketing and Communications Director:
We love our team, and we know you will too. This week we’re covering team spotlights! Meet our jungle guide, Cristina. As our communications guru from Southern California, she’s the glue to our CreateApe team, putting out our fires and acting as the liaison between the team and clients.
Describe your role at CreateApe:
I am the Marketing and Communications director at CreateApe. My main role is to help the company move forward to better position ourselves as the premier UX/UI resource in Southern California. That being said, I wear a lot of different hats here at CreateApe and I spend a lot of time nurturing our relationships with clients, keeping team morale up, and strategically thinking about future opportunities to grow.
What do you love about CreateApe?
I love that we are quirky, fun, and efficient! We embrace a collaborative team environment that isn’t judgemental and allows room for creative individuality, but we also work really hard. People are always surprised by how fast and efficient our team is in delivering results. My favorite thing about CreateApe is our amazing and talented team. We evoke a sense of warmness due to our creative collaborative environment that translates really well with our clients. I love seeing our clients excited by the transformations we provide for their projects. Especially when we get into user testing and they see the metrics in front of them. It’s a very empowering moment for both the client and us, as vendors, to see the real-time impact that our efforts are producing.
Do you have a favorite project that you’ve worked on so far? Why?
I think my favorite project so far is Mosaic Network. We’ve become so integrated with them and their team. Our retainer covers more than just design and allows us to delve deeper into the philosophy that our founder Alessandro created in the UX/UI university of life. Everything that we do as a UX/UI component. While we work with Mosaic on public advocacy and marketing we’re bringing a perspective on UX/UI to the table. As we create business development, copy, and designs we’re in the weeds with them from day to day. I’m loving seeing the growth their having and how our impact as an agency is helping them to evolve their own agendas. This is truly a case study example of how Create Ape becomes a part of the team. We’re not just a vendor, we’re a partner in the companies success. I have a masters in Political Communication and this project marries my background in social science with my passion for strategic communication.
What do you value in your position the most?
I love working with really talented people. I like the fact that I get to work on a variety of different project across a variety of verticals. The thing I value most about my position is that this is a family company of sorts; my sister is Director of Operations, my brother is the CEO, and when we work with our bigger enterprise clients, they feel like they’re getting something unique because of that family aspect. In terms of leadership, we have more connectivity and leeway to jump in when things are great or when things are going wrong. We’re siblings and because of that, we can be more candid and honest with each other in a way that most HR Departments would frown upon. We don’t pull punches amongst the executive team. That’s definitely part of our special sauce! We’re more effective as a company because we never get stuck on ego or minutia. We all are comfortable in our roles, and nobody is looking to “move up the ladder” in our company. We succeed as a team, and we fail as one too.
What is unique about working with family?
When we’re on calls with clients there’s this family aspect that allows people to be at ease with us. They value what we bring to the table in terms of expertise, and we are of course always professional (let’s read the room people), but this lack of a barrier between the executive team creates an environment that is so much more collaborative for our clients and us. That’s very unique. Clients aren’t used to a company like ours providing the resources that they need for their large scale projects efficiently, while also feeling like they get the customer service of a boutique operation.
What is the most meaningful part of your job?
Transformations. I love that as a company we are helping people to imagine their dreams. I know that sounds cliche, but the reality is we help our clients to take their thoughts or dreams of their product/website/campaign, etc., and turn them into something they couldn’t even have imagined.
When do you have the most fun at work?
We have a very active and lively Slack. Because our team is not all co-located, we rely on our tech to help us keep connected throughout the day. Our general Slack channels are full of funny memes, and congratulations on milestones like babies & weddings. It’s a way for us to nurture our team and build our internal support structures. We get to express ourselves and be connected to our colleagues while still being effective with our time, and that’s an important part of our business.
What is one fun fact/interesting thing about you?
I’m a total foodie and I love to travel. My favorite thing in the world is to go on grand adventures, but the surprising fact is that I’m terrified to fly. Even though I took my first flight when I was four and a half to Europe from California by MYSELF, I still get anxiety, really bad anxiety, about flying no matter how far it is! I hate to fly, love to travel.
Who inspires you?
If someone were to say who inspires you I would honestly say, my sister. My sister Francesca shows every day her ability to grow even when it’s uncomfortable and I admire that. It inspires me to look at the challenges of my own day and realize often that those things aren’t that stressy after all.
What are you passionate about?
I am passionate about God, my family, and my country. I know that sound’s super lame but it’s my “knee jerk” reaction answer to this question. Maybe that comes from my background. I got my bachelors in Political Science, and I really wanted to get involved in changing the world. When I went to get my masters from the LSE in London and has traveled extensively abroad, (I’ve lived on and off in the Middle East and Europe from a very young age) I realized that the things which are most important to me are not material. Without a doubt, the things I’m most passionate about are my faith, this big extended family I have, and my imperfect country. Even with all the craziness going on in our political arena I’m so proud to be an American and proud of my family. I’m actively always trying to be a better Christian. If we’re being honest, those three things really encapsulate who I am.
Craziest thing you’ve ever done?
When I was younger my extended family lived in the Middle East, and on a visit back to the U.S. before they left we were all having lunch and my uncle casually was like, “Hey do you want to go with us to Dubai tonight?” And I thought he was joking. Long story short, he wasn’t joking, and because I was doing a private distance-learning high school program at the time, I was technically able to go anywhere. They bought me a ticket and I rushed home to throw everything in a suitcase to leave on a flight that very night. And that’s how I ended up living in Dubai for a few months. It was totally unplanned and unexpected. I’d never done anything like that in my life, that’s definitely one of the craziest things I’ve ever done.
Anything you’re binging on Netflix currently?
I binge watch everything. I am a professional purveyor of content.
What is your go-to karaoke song?
Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey is classic.
My hobbies are gourmet food experiences, outdoor adventures, and I love all creative content (movies, tv, books), etc.
Three items you’d take to a deserted island?
My sister (she’ll have to suffer with me but as a team, we’d probably figure it out), a pot, and a way to make fire. If we’re talking about a non-scary situation a yacht, luxury glamping materials, and a personal chef.
CreateApe’s tagline is “It’s a Jungle Out There, Don’t Go At It Alone.” How do you survive in the jungle?
With humor, patience, and empathy.