This profile is part of the "Animal Advocate Stories" Series. Ana is the Marketing Manager at our own organization, Animal Advocacy Careers.
Can you share a bit about yourself, what you're passionate about, and what drives you in your work for animal advocacy?
I’m the marketing manager at Animal Advocacy Careers, and also previously worked for a vegan digital marketing agency.
I can confidently say that I’m passionate about marketing, but it wasn't always the case until I began using my skills to help animals. While I've always been interested in excelling at my work and finding fulfilment in reaching objectives, the job I was doing felt empty and meaningless.
Everything changed when I realised that marketing can be a force to driving positive change in the world.
Could you describe your journey in animal advocacy and how you're able to make a meaningful impact in your life and career?
My journey in animal advocacy started when I went vegan during my second year of university. Right after I graduated, I was eager to find a job that could make a real difference for animals. But let me tell you, the "job market" was seriously tough.
I had no clue where to begin. I didn't understand the available opportunities or how different roles could have varying impacts. On top of that, I had very little (or no) professional experience, and my English skills were pretty basic.
I took various jobs in startups while occasionally applying for "vegan jobs," though my hopes were never high. Working without making a meaningful impact felt terrible, so I used my free time to find a sense of purpose. I did street activism and volunteered for small animal organisations.
After gaining six years of professional experience, I felt prepared to pursue an animal advocacy career. I took a leap and quit my agency job and soon after, I was fortunate to secure a part-time position at AAC and freelancing projects through Vegan Creative Compass.
It feels amazing to be surrounded by like-minded individuals who share the same mission of improving the lives of animals. Knowing that I am contributing to changing the terrible situation animals face and working towards a better world for them brings me an immense sense of satisfaction and purpose. (Even though I still feel very frustrated about the situation and “I can't believe we're still protesting this”.)
What does your day-to-day life look like in your role?
In animal advocacy organisations, day-to-day routines can vary greatly depending on your role, the size and nature of the organisation. At AAC, we have a small team that operates in a startup-like environment.
As the marketing manager, my typical responsibilities include:
SEO: Fixing SEO issues when they come up on our website (both technical and keyword optimisation), and creating new SEO content.
Email marketing: Setting up and improving our email sequences for people that join our mailing list.
Fundraising: Strategizing and implementing fundraising campaigns.
Job board: I update the job board weekly and send out an email and social media post with the new roles; I set up systems to improve the functionality and updating process of our job board.
Social media: I write the copy and design AAC’s social media posts.
Ads: I’m managing our Google Ad grant and doing occasional campaigns on Meta ads.
Promotion of specific campaigns and projects we have: From time to time, we have specific projects to promote and create content about. For example, our Fundraising Work Placement only happens once a year or less.
Strategy: I create AAC’s marketing strategy and come up with initiatives to increase the reach and engagement of our audience.
All of our team works remotely, so I work at home and during breaks I love to play with the 7 cats I live with and get some snacks.
What initially inspired you to dedicate your time to animal advocacy? What keeps you motivated to continue?
When I went vegan, I believed that I was doing the right thing, which alleviated my conscience. However, everything changed when I relocated to Stockholm and became involved with an animal rights activism group.
Listening to the perspectives of activists in the group opened my eyes to the reality that simply being vegan wasn't enough. It dawned on me that my inaction, despite not contributing to animal exploitation, was essentially maintaining a neutral position. I realised that to truly make a difference, we needed to join forces and take practical steps to bring about change.
This realisation fueled my desire to engage in more activism. I made a firm decision to actively apply for animal advocacy jobs after completing my European Voluntary Project in Stockholm. Although it took an additional two years, I finally landed my current position at AAC!
Are there any specific skills or areas of expertise that you find particularly valuable in your role?
In my role, I find my "T-shaped marketer" skillset to be particularly valuable. This means that I possess a solid understanding of various areas within marketing, including SEO, Google Ads, Meta Ads, content creation, and copywriting. This versatile skillset allows me to develop comprehensive marketing strategies that encompass multiple channels, and it’s perfect for smaller organisations.
While larger organisations often have specialised marketing teams, I enjoy being more of a "marketing generalist." This allows me to continuously learn about different channels and tools, which I love!
Based on your own journey, what suggestions or advice would you give to individuals considering a career in animal advocacy or those seeking similar roles?
First and foremost, be prepared for a long journey. It takes time for most people to break into this field, and it can be highly competitive. But don't let that discourage you.
One thing that made a significant difference for me is to focus on building career capital. Even when I was in jobs that didn't align with my passion, I made sure to keep learning as much as possible. This knowledge ultimately opened doors for me in the animal advocacy field.
Keep in mind that each person's path is unique, and what worked for me may not work exactly the same way for someone else. Nevertheless, investing in your skills and knowledge can significantly enhance your prospects in the field of animal advocacy.
How do you practice self-care and maintain resilience while working in a field that can be emotionally demanding?
I am lucky to have a job that allows me to have an impact without being exposed to any graphic content or distressing news. I spend most of my time interacting with like-minded individuals who share the common goal of helping animals, and I'm grateful for that positive environment.
Nevertheless, I understand the importance of not getting overly consumed by work, as it can become unsustainable. I try to do some physical activity outside everyday (walking, jogging, going for a bike ride, or even a youtube workout). This makes a huge difference in my mood and overall motivation.
Can you share some of the key challenges you've encountered in your animal advocacy work, and how have you overcome them?
When I got the opportunity to work at AAC, it was an incredibly emotional moment for me. I was overflowing with happiness and enthusiasm to start helping animals in my job!
However, the initial months were a rollercoaster of emotions. While I managed to achieve several accomplishments early on, I constantly questioned if they were sufficient. Moreover, I often wondered if someone else would have been more effective in this role, raising doubts about my counterfactual impact.
Being prone to self-doubt and impostor syndrome, the significance of my work in advocating for animals magnified the importance I placed on it. But I’ve mostly overcome these challenges now, and I'd like to share the steps I took:
I requested more specific feedback from my manager to gain a better understanding of the quality of each piece of work. While monthly goals provided a benchmark, I needed more concrete insights to evaluate and improve my performance. My manager was very supportive and even introduced a scoring scale as a temporary solution. This pragmatic approach greatly helped me assess my work more objectively.
I started doing therapy: seeking assistance for my work-related anxieties proved to be life-changing. I understood that most of my doubts were not actually related to the work I was doing, but to my personality and past experiences. I realised that these anxieties were separate from the actual impact of my work, and now I can be much more pragmatic about this.
I’m very happy to meet fellow animal advocates working in marketing. Connect with me on LinkedIn.