Employee Spotlight: Ali Ajemian

November 15, 2019

WordStream has some impressive employees in our ranks: from industry influencers to marathon runners, from analysts to authors. The Employee Spotlight series aims to highlight the talented individuals who work here. Each month, we’ll be featuring an interview here on the blog and on our social accounts.

For this month’s Employee Spotlight, we’re featuring Ali Ajemian, the marketing team’s video production manager. Since joining WordStream this summer, Ali has worked on videos for our YouTube channel and Growth Academy learning platform, but she hasn’t quite moved into her desk. We talked to Ali about her plans to bring in her desk plants, her band shallow pools, and more!

Ali Ajemian

How did you hear about WordStream? Why did you want to work here?

Kristina Gromada, who works in product here, had recently referred her sister Jess, who is my roommate. I wasn’t really looking for a new job, but I was on LinkedIn looking for a job title and saw this role at WordStream. Jess had only been working here for a couple of weeks, but she and her sister both had good things to say, so I ended up applying.

Do you commute to work with your roommate?

Not super often. I hate being late. If I walk in a minute past 9 a.m., I feel terrible, even though no one would care. When Jess and I do go to work together, we just silently stand next to each other and listen to or watch our own things.

What have you been watching lately?

I'm watching a show called Dickinson on Apple TV+. It’s really good. It’s a coming of age story about Emily Dickinson but with a funny and modern twist—I love Hailee Steinfeld (she plays Emily), and my friend's brother is in it. When I found that out, I figured I would watch it.

Otherwise, I’ve been watching Degrassi. My roommates and I—Jess, her girlfriend Glynnis, and my girlfriend Haley—started when we moved into our apartment. I had never seen it before, and there are so many seasons. We took a break for summer vacation, and now we just picked it back up when school started.

What was your first project here at WordStream?

I started during our office move, and I had to set up the new video studio. I did a lot of research on what equipment to purchase because we needed some things for the new space and some upgrades for better videos. I ended up getting some more backdrops and better equipment for recording audio.

WordStream's video studio set up

Setting up the studio was a lot of me standing alone in that room in front of the camera and then pressing record and thinking, “I wonder what that looks like.” Then, I’d go back and check—most of the time it didn’t look good.  I finally figured out the proper settings and distances for things then just taped on the floor where everything should be in case it accidentally got moved around!

The videos for Growth Academy, WordStream’s digital marketing learning platform, were the first projects I worked on once the video studio was set up. To prepare, I had all the scripts and I went through to decide what to animate, what to include a visual for, what time I’ll need to transition. That’s generally what I do to prepare for videos whenever I get a script.

After I spent a few weeks doing that, I started filming all the videos. And they were different. It turns out that I had gotten outdated scripts and didn’t realize, so I had spent almost a month preparing for these videos that didn’t really exist. It was so stressful!

Do you have any favorite projects you’re working on right now?

I’m really excited about the YouTube series we are making on the basics of digital marketing. I don’t know a lot about digital marketing so it’s been fun to approach these projects as one of the learners who will be watching the videos. Working with the content team to identify trends, see what performs well, then adjust the types of videos we are making based on that is super cool—and something I hadn’t thought much about prior to working at WordStream.

I’m also excited to work on a holiday video and hopefully some Facebook ads soon! Other than that, I just wrapped up a recap video of our recent customer roundtable event that I really enjoyed making.

What’s the first thing you do when you get to work each morning?

The first thing I do when I get off the train is get coffee somewhere. Sometimes I go to the Dunkin’ Express in Back Bay—it’s very fast. They're very nice, and never really get my order wrong, so that's good. Otherwise, I'll mobile order from Starbucks when I'm at the Downtown Crossing stop so that it’s ready for me on my walk over to the office. Sometimes, I wait until an hour or so after I get to work to get coffee, and that way it’s like a treat.

When I get into the office, I wash my hands—I’m not careful on the T.

What’s your workspace aesthetic like? Minimalist? Homey? Neat?

I haven’t fully moved in, so it's very neat. Well, I also just cleaned it today. Jed, the UX designer who sits next to me, started cleaning his desk, and when I said I should do that soon, he said to me, “There's no time like the present.”

I like plants, and I had some that were at my desk at my other job, but I don't know when to bring them because the train is so packed. I’ll have to pick a time. So far I’ve just brought my mouse pad, which looks like a rug. I also had the cup that I got on my first day—I lost the straw, so for now it's just sitting there.

Ali's desk
Ali's mousepad

What’s your go-to lunch?

Well, I never bring my lunch. I wish I could. I tried to, but I just can't do it. I made a peanut butter and jelly, and I was hungry five minutes later. That’s lunch for a child.

There was a period of time where I would get a pizza from Dirty Water and then I would eat it another time, too. Sometimes I'll go to Shake Shack, get a portabella burger. That’s what I got yesterday. Shake Shack also has the best chicken sandwich. I don't eat meat anymore, but the chicken sandwich at Shake Shack is the best thing to ever exist.  I love a fried chicken sandwich.

If you need to put your head down and get some work done asap, do you have a go-to song?

It's a little sad. I like listening to music, but I can’t listen to anything when I’m editing video.  

Is there a class from school that you feel like you use at work?

I majored in film and television in college, and in a lot of classes I learned how to use editing software and how to film stuff. But a lot of classes were also about making narrative short fills and screenwriting, which I didn’t want to do.

Do you have any hobbies?

I'm in a band with all my roommates. It’s called shallow pools, and I play the drums. I've been good friends with Jess and Glynnis since high school, and we all played instruments, so finally we decided we should be a band.

Ali's band, shallow pools

If you didn’t work in digital marketing, what would you do?

If I did school over, I’d go for music education. But my favorite things to film are live performance videos, so maybe I’d be a videographer for a touring band or something like that.

What was the first concert you went to?

Aaron Carter, when I was eight. But the first concert that I chose to go to, almost as an adult, was Boys Like Girls with Metro Station on my 13th birthday. I haven't really listened to them since I was 14, but that was the era for emo. Now, I usually go to a concert every month or so.

If you got an unexpected day off tomorrow, what would you do?

I would probably just do laundry. Right now, if it were like tomorrow, I would go home to my parents’ house and do laundry so that it would be free.

If you were a brand, what brand would you be?  

I feel it would be Dunkin’. The brand’s social media presence is funny, and I acknowledge that the coffee isn’t very good, but I am still the most brand loyal to Dunkin.

Ali at the original Dunkin Donuts

Why? I don't know. Maybe it’s part of my blood.

Ali with Dunkin on the beach
Céillie Clark-Keane

Céillie Clark-Keane

Ceillie Clark-Keane is Head of Marketing for Building Ventures, a VC firm focused on funding and mentoring early-stage startups in the built environment space. Previously, Céillie led content strategy for Unstack and managed the award-winning blog at WordStream.

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