In the Spotlight: Shanon Mendez

In the Spotlight: Shanon Mendez

Name: Shanon Mendez
Title: Production Team Lead
Location: Manayunk, PA
Favorite Quote: Life is amazing, and then it’s awful. And then it’s amazing again. And in between the amazing and the awful, it’s ordinary and mundane and routine. Breathe in the amazing, hold on through the awful, and relax and exhale during the ordinary. That’s just living, heartbreaking, soul-healing, amazing, awful, ordinary life. And it’s breathtakingly beautiful. – L.R. Knost

What does a usual day of work look like for you?
Basically, I’m knocking out notifications all day. It’s my job to communicate between our teams and clients, so I’m constantly bouncing between email, Basecamp, AirTable, Slack, etc. — whatever platforms they use — to pass along info and feedback, respond to questions, and send items for review. Or I’m QAing banners and email projects when they’re ready and handing them off to the client. I do a lot of different things on any given day.

*Shanon’s organization hack: keeping notes! Visual reminders like lists and paper calendars help her make sure nothing gets lost in the shuffle.

What are some of the skills you’re known for on the Assemble team?
Everyone likes to tease me about having an ‘eagle eye.’ I’m very good at catching the smallest details, so a lot of our team members will ask me to look over their projects or content before it goes to a client.

How would you describe your job to a bunch of kindergarteners?
I get to tell people what to do all day even though I’m not their boss. 🙂  I really like helping people, so I do whatever I can to answer questions and explain things in a simple way so that everyone is happy.

What is a challenge or issue that clients typically face that you want to improve?
It’s not uncommon to have a wrinkle during a media hand-off, specifically for rich media banners — with so many variables in play throughout the process, it can be hard for the teams involved to know what to look for. One of our goals as a company is to educate ourselves so we fully understand all sides of the process and can answer the questions that will make the process run more smoothly for our clients. We’re already taking steps toward that goal, but we are committed to learning a lot more in the future. 

What are your previous experiences working in the industry?
I kind of accidentally became a project manager — but I’ve read some books on our industry and it’s a pretty common thing for people with a certain skill set to find their way into the field. I didn’t major in project management in college and never really thought of it as an option. But about 13 years ago, I was hired by a friend’s brother as the first full-time employee to do administrative duties, but I kept taking on more responsibilities as we grew. Over my 7 years there, I had moved from an assistant to a Studio Manager to a Digital PM. It was my first Technical PM role, and I learned so much. I didn’t realize how much the responsibilities of this role matched my personality.

But it actually took a bit of time off to realize how much I enjoyed it. After a couple of years working in non-profit events planning and then in marketing for an Institutional Pharmacy, I knew how much I missed project management and was eager to get back into it. Assemble is a perfect fit for me; the type of projects I get to help with, the ability to work from home, the fact that we can travel — align with everything I value in a career. 

What do you love about working for Assemble?
Our team is incredible. I was one of the first full-time, US-based employees at Assemble, and everyone has been so wonderful to work with since day one. They are all so willing to jump in and help one another, and Scott, Kristy, and Geudy are so flexible and understanding. They really make our culture a top priority, and it’s important to them that our Costa Rican team not only has the option to further their English but that those of us in the States make an effort to learn Spanish too. They provide these opportunities for us and encourage us to learn from one another. Being able to play a role in fostering that positive work culture is a big deal to me. 

What is the best project you’ve ever worked on? Why?
I once spent a year working on a full branding overhaul for a company called Seakeeper. They create stabilizers that prevent large, luxury boats from rocking so much at sea. They flew me out to Florida to do a video shoot and took me out on one of the boats to show us how it works. I am terrified of open water, but I love to travel, so it was a cool experience. And frankly, the product was incredible — we were out on rocky waters that we could hardly stand without holding on. But when their system was in motion, the boat was still and smooth as could be. 

What motivates you professionally?
I love helping people. My job is all about finding a solution that allows me to service them in the best way possible. Not everyone I work with works the same way, so I get to constantly challenge myself to figure out what I can do to make their lives easier.

I also love learning new things, and the developers I get to work with on our team are so open to sharing their knowledge. They’re so good at what they do and learning from them only helps me do my job better.

What are your favorite things to do in your free time?
I have a 20-year old son, Elijah, and we do a lot together. He likes to make me watch silly YouTube videos and we go hiking or walking; anything outside. My boyfriend is an Executive Chef so on the weekends, I’m either there helping with catering or at a consignment shop where I work part-time.

I’m also a huge book nerd. I love reading just about anything; books on self-improvement, feminism, social justice issues, and fiction; specifically sci-fi (I love wizards).

If you could go live anywhere in the world and take everyone you love with you, where would you go and why?
My first instinct would be Kenya. I’ve been there 6 times now, and whenever I was there, I felt more alive and connected to real life. The people and the country are just so beautiful and life feels more authentic. You spend more time outside, and it’s not quite as comfortable as we are here in the states, insulated with comforts like AC. You get to be around people who don’t have anything and see how appreciative they are, which is an incredible thing.

What’s one thing you could talk about for hours?
My son, my family. And I can also really get going on social justice issues going on around the world. 

If you won a million dollars, what is the first thing you would buy?
I’m obsessed with tiny houses right now, so I would probably buy some amazing land, someplace where it’s 70 degrees and sunny all the time, and put a couple of tiny houses on it. I could have one for me, one for my mom; just make a little community with all the people I love. That’s the dream.   

What is one of your biggest fears?
Deep water. I love the ocean, but going out on boats, as I mentioned before, nope. I’m not a strong swimmer, and I don’t like that you can’t see all that’s below! Even seeing it in a movie makes me sick to my stomach.

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