#GirlsRock: An Interview with Global Marketer Anna Pappas

pappas lede
photo credit: DocChewbacca Ironing via photopin (license)

Today, I get to feature a fellow 49er.

cd-interviewsAnna Pappas and I both attended UNC Charlotte. Only one of us got to work with Spongebob Squarepants. (Hint: It’s not me. I’d have bragged about it until the starfish came home.) Anna has become a bit of a renaissance woman.

Anna is a consumer packaged good specialist, a global marketer, a foodie connoisseur and a travel and lifestyle enthusiast. Everywhere she’s been, she’s been the kind of innovator and team player we all want on our side.

Please give Anna a warm CD welcome. She’s the latest incredible woman to be featured in my #GirlsRock series. It focuses on women who do cool things. There are so many of you, and I appreciate you all hugely.

CD: When you were little, what did you think you’d grow up to be?

pappas mugAnna: I’d say when I was little I wanted to be a dancer. I danced from the time I was 4-18. Hard to recall but I knew I loved it from the start!

CD: How’d you envision it? Broadway? Theater? Music videos?

Anna: Younger I envisioned it as a dance teacher, but probably in middle and high school, more choreographer/Broadway dancer.

CD: Dreams sometimes evolve, don’t they? Does dance still hold a spot in your life?

Anna: Yes, dance definitely holds a spot in my life. I dance in my room with the music on blast, and I am thinking of taking adult classes again to get back into it. I love dancing with my friends. I also have a passion for Greek dancing. There is one dance called the Zeibekiko, which is a freestyle dance. Really feeling the music and passion behind the song is why I love this particular dance!

[Check out the Ziebekiko here]

CD: You and I share an Alma Mater, Anna. What was your time at UNC Charlotte like?

Anna: I loved UNCC. I was far enough from home and close enough to get there on a weekend which was awesome. It was a diverse campus with lots to do and see. I learned a lot about myself and the friendships I gained and lost along the way. It was a definite eye-opening experience but gave a tiny glimpse into the real world. I do believe college preps in other ways, but it doesn’t prep you for what the work real world gives you. It definitely was a good stepping block into what the future would look like.

CD: What’s one thing college didn’t prep you for, in life?

Anna: Lack of job training. College teaches us how to think, but they lack on the job training part.

CD: Did you find yourself having to learn on the job, then? Tell us about your first job, and the search that leads to it.

Anna: I definitely learned a lot on my first job. I worked for a Swiss agribusiness in their importing/exporting division. It was quite operational, but I learned a lot about processes, communication skills with overseas clients and administrative type duties too. I got my first job working as a waitress/hostess at a local restaurant where I met a customer that worked for the company. She passed my resume to their HR, and that is how I landed my first job out of school.

CD: You’ve had some cool jobs. Tell us what you did for Nickelodeon.

photo credit: SpongeBob via photopin (license)

Anna: I definitely learned a lot there. I worked in their licensing division for brands like SpongeBob, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and preschool properties. My experience entailed marketing, product development, and client management.

CD: SpongeBob seems like it could be a universe of its own. Am I right?

Anna: That’s definitely true. A character that has been around for 15+ years definitely is in his own universe.

CD: It’s inevitable that we change jobs in our career. What’s your best advice for giving your current job your best, while looking out for potential better interests?

Anna: It definitely is inevitable, but we all have a choice to be complacent or choose something better.

I loved Nickelodeon, but at this point in my career, I wanted to make the choice to look for better options that aligned with my end goal. I believe in this one quote, “you get in life what you have the courage to ask for.” Sometimes, we all have to take chances, and at this point in my career, I needed to figure out what’s best for Anna.

CD: That takes courage. Were there influential colleagues in your career that helped you to develop courage in your career?

Anna: I definitely have had great mentors in my career. My mentor Katina has been super influential in my career, and she has had a long working career at Nickelodeon. She’s taught me patience, persistence, and courage. She has been my calm throughout my two years in NYC. The working field here is competitive, harsh at times, but very rewarding too. She’s told me to go after what I am passionate about, and she was a huge support system in my decision to leave Nick as she knew I came to a crossroads.

My other colleague who was the VP in our group (my manager’s boss), Ken played an instrumental role in my growth. Even though our time together was brief, he had so much patience and belief in my talents. He spent hours with me explaining his career in consumer packaged goods, and he did his best to lead me in that direction. However, I was on crossroads, and no matter what he said at that moment, I wasn’t fully committed to continuing in my current role.

I probably won’t ever find someone like Ken again in my career, but no matter what, he taught me how important it is to have people believe in you not only as a professional but as a person. He spent endless moments guiding and directing me, and it means more than he probably had ever seen from me. I plan to continue keeping in touch with him, and I left on really good terms.

CD: What are you most looking forward to now, professionally?

Anna: My next venture in the professional arena would be to contribute and grow even more. More than ever before really. I am ready for challenges, obstacles and a new place to explore! Also, gaining more knowledge as I work my way up.

CD: Anna, thanks so much for sharing your story with us. What’s one piece of advice you’d like to give girls as they consider what they’ll do when they grow up?

Anna: Thanks for letting me do so! I’d say to girls as they are figuring it out… Never give up on what you want to do. Imagine being what you want to be, and believe in it. One day it will happen. Have faith in yourself and trust yourself. We know what is best for ourselves, and we should never allow someone to tell us otherwise. 🙂



13 thoughts on “#GirlsRock: An Interview with Global Marketer Anna Pappas

  1. I love Anna’s quote. This is the purrrfect quote for my two girls. Most Asian kids will let their parents decide what’s best for them. But I’m going to let my girls do what they want. (ŐωŐ人)

  2. Hi Anna! Thanks for sharing. I try to convince the teen/college girls I work with that they have to trust themselves to make the right decisions about what they want so I appreciate your thoughts on knowing yourself and having faith!

  3. Anna, this is awesome and I love that quote you shared. I work with a handful of younger ladies who have the world ahead of them and they are in such a hurry to get to the end game, I have to remind them to slow down and just enjoy the ride they are on while working to get there.

    Awesome post! Thanks Eli for the introduction.

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