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AdColonized: Getting to Know Paula Abjelina

Posted Jun 23, 2021

Meet Paula Abjelina, Country Manager for the Philippines and Thailand, working out of her home office! Paula has worked at every stage in the advertising cycle but has stuck with AdColony for the past six years. And for those years, she has been working from home, so check out her great advice for WFH down below! Outside of work, Paula loves to go on runs, spend time at the beach, sing, and listen to music. Get to know her better in this week’s AdColonized employee spotlight!

What exactly does a Country Manager do at AdColony? What’s an average day like for you?

I start the day with a quick alignment with the Philippines and Thailand teams. My job is to ensure that we hit sales targets in both countries, and that involves more than just signing clients. As sales people, we must also ensure that the campaigns we roll out are both on-brief and buildable. Part of my job is to oversee how to strike the balance between creative and functional for the brands we work with. It’s great fun.

Tell us a little about your experiences prior to joining AdColony and how they have prepared you for your role here.

My clients like to joke that they’ve seen me at every stage of the advertising cycle. I started in the creative agency space, both as an account manager and copywriter. I was, at one point, a client, before diving headfirst into the world of the media agency as a digital media manager. I made the conscious decision to move to the publisher side in 2015, and I have been with AdColony ever since.

Being exposed to most parts of the cycle meant gaining an understanding about what each stakeholder is looking for. It has helped me tremendously in the way I communicate with everyone I work with, internally and externally. Empathy is at the heart of communication, and I’d like to think it is what makes my job challenging and yet joyful. 

What makes AdColony the right fit for you?

What I really like about AdColony is our collective focus on mindful collaboration. I have been here for close to 6 years, and for 3 years I mostly worked by myself in the Philippines. Interestingly enough, I have never (not once!) felt like I was alone. The structure allows everyone the freedom to work independently while also making it absolutely necessary to liaise with coworkers from across the globe. Even throughout the pandemic, we were all in it together. That may sound trite, but that is the truth. It’s wonderful.

AdColony values employee development. How do you keep growing and learning in what you do?

I learned this from a former boss years ago, and I never forgot it: Never think you are above the work. My philosophy in work and life is that no matter where I am, I need to embrace that anything worth doing will be challenging. To this day, I’m always excited to learn new things about what’s happening in the mobile and gaming space. It keeps me on my toes and keeps me motivated to deliver.

How do you act as a resource for the rest of your team?

Availability is a big factor. I want to be there for my team when I am needed, and that means being in constant contact with them. Both Philippines and Thailand have been working from home since 2020 because of the pandemic, and I make up for lack of physical presence by being virtually present.

The other big thing is that I really do my best to approach everyone with mindfulness and empathy. Yes, the focus on performance will always be there. But in light of the pandemic, it was especially important to always remember that we’re all supporting each other. 

Is there someone you turn to personally or professionally?

My manager, Priyanka Bajaj, is always the first person I turn to when I’m stuck with a tough brief or have reached an entirely different country without my wallet. She is both an excellent superior and friend, and I value her input always. 

I love the PH- TH team to pieces. Charlotte Hernandez, Giselle Milan, and Goy Charuwatpaiboon are both friends and colleagues. We love to laugh together.

I like to consult Abhilash Krishnan (Creative) and Mitch Vaz (Strategy) to ensure that we’re proposing sound campaigns to clients. They deliver excellent proposals, while also keeping me entertained with suggestions on which awful horror movies I should watch. I might unfriend them soon because they’re terrible.

Many global AdColony employees are still working from home. Do you have any work-from-home tips for success you can share?

I’ve been working remotely for 6 years, so my inputs are from years of training! 

  1. Keep a dedicated workstation. Do not work in bed. The bed is quicksand. Save yourself!
  2. Take mental health breaks. Watch a video, sing out loud, take a walk.
  3. This one is my favorite: excite yourself by getting dressed. Nobody is expecting you to put on a suit and tie at work. I love dressing up in colorful clothes when I am at home. It’s an instant energy perk.
  4. You do not need that much coffee. Put that cup down, love.
  5. Keep a vat of chocolates beside your work table. You win something? Take a piece of chocolate. Feel terrible? Take a piece of chocolate. 
  6. Offset the chocolate with running.

What are your hobbies or activities that you look forward to doing on the weekends or after work?

I am happiest outdoors in the sunshine. I look forward to running after work, and on weekends, I do my best to get swim time in. I am a true child of the tropics, and every single time I can squeeze in beach time, I will be there. Beyond that, music is my next great love. I play the piano, collect vinyls, and I sing with strangers on the internet. I’m Filipino, and karaoke is our life. 

Which app is keeping you engaged lately? Why?

Among Us and Crash Bandicoot occupy my evenings (I’m 12 years old deep inside, probably). When I’m trying to relax, I use Headspace to meditate. (I might also be a grandma inside).

Tell us one or two fun facts about you.

I treat Halloween like a competitive sport.

If you come for Mariah Carey, I will come for you.

What is your favorite moment you’ve had with the AdColony team so far?

Memories of our 2020 Bali Kickoff still make me smile! It was the last big trip I had before the world shuttered because of Covid. Praying we can finally be together again next year.

What are you listening to lately (music, podcasts, etc.)?

I listen to so much, but lately I’ve been listening to H.E.R., Niki, and Dua Lipa a lot. I adore soul, so our home is always blasting Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, and the like. If you want to listen to global Filipino music, please look up Up Dharma Down.

What are you looking forward to most in the next 5 years?

The expansion of the gaming space and the world post-covid!

About AdColonized
Each AdColonized feature shines a light on a different member of the AdColony team. From favorite apps and hobbies to fun facts, we cover it all! Who do you want to see on the next AdColonized? Tweet it to @AdColony. For the latest AdColony mobile news and updates, follow @AdColony on Twitter, like us on Facebook, or connect on LinkedIn.

Anna

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