The Story of Anita Matrai, MassMedia’s newest team member
How you use a career in teaching to manage the most complex and diverse projects of your career
Call her a multimedia maven or simply a project management wizard, either way you are probably referring to Anita Matrai if you are at MassMedia, an award-winning marketing, advertising and public relations firm in Henderson, Nevada. Anita joins our team equipped with a diverse portfolio of multimedia experience, from partnering with one of the top technology companies in Silicon Valley on a smartphone launch to being a part of one of largest creative agencies in the world.
From teaching to digital media
But as far back as she can remember she wanted to be a teacher. To pursue this lifelong dream, Anita Matrai went to college at the University of Sydney, only 30 minutes away from her family home. While earning her degree in education, she held a part-time job at her father’s computer learning center to gain experience in teaching as well as to make money on the side. There she fell in love with technology. Not only was Anita passionate about teaching, she was passionate about the entertainment industry very early on in her life. As a child, she was drawn to the excitement of making movies and the glitz and glam of Hollywood.
After completing her teaching degree and then doing substitute teaching off and on for a short period of time, Anita felt something missing. Her passion for creating movies was still there, but she knew she couldn’t let the talent and ideas she had go to waste. She made the decision to go back to university for her master’s degree. This time Anita would pursue design science and specialize in digital media. She quickly became an expert in everything multimedia, from graphic design, 3D animation, film and video production to website development. By the end of completing her two-year master’s degree, Anita managed to land her first real job in the industry at Harris Technology – a highly regarded computer and software retailer company in Australia.
After gaining some great multimedia experience in the marketing department within the retail sector, Anita made the switch to working as a global multimedia manager for Australia’s top gaming company at the time – Aristocrat Technologies. In this position, she managed all of the promotional videos globally for the company taking a giant step forward towards her dream job.
Aristocrat regarded her highly and sent her to Las Vegas for three years to manage the U.S. side of the business. It was there that Anita got a taste of Vegas life and knew she wanted to someday move there and work for a great agency doing what she loves most.
After eight years at Aristocrat, Anita finally resigned to have her first baby and return to Australia to be close to family.
A digital mindset in a digital world
After returning to Australia, Anita started the search for a job to grow her career and help her gain the appropriate job experience to succeed. It was a time during a transitional period where a lot of companies just weren’t looking for a multimedia specialist anymore. They were really looking for someone who had a digital mindset and digital experience. Anita made the connection between needing more digital job experience and the path to her dream job. It was then she landed the third position in her career as a website developer for the largest telecommunications company in Australia – Telstra Corporation Limited. She recalls walking into her first interview knowing she was overqualified for the position. But at a time where companies were being more selective, making cutbacks to their staff, and candidates being required to have a well-rounded multimedia, design and digital portfolio, Anita didn’t know where to go next.
Project management for a smartphone launch
Two days into this new job, the company recognized Anita’s talent for project management and promoted her to project manager. Little did she know, this would lead her to the biggest and most extensive project of her career – managing the launch of a new smartphone. It was going to be huge. An individual who originally set out to be a school teacher was now managing an online campaign to unveil the newest version of a smartphone. Anita was shrieking with excitement but also nervous to be handed so much responsibility with such a large project.
From copy and design to website development and social media, Anita was the glue that kept each moving part together during the campaign, so everything would run smoothly. After many weeks and long nights, the project turned out to be a success and her team finished the campaign the exact date the Silicon Valley technology company wanted to launch. The end result was a fully-functioning e-commerce website where users could go to buy the new smartphone. In addition, it was the marketing of the actual phone launch through email and text message blasts she also managed the project life cycle for.
Anita’s success in this project opened many doors to future career opportunities she would pursue. She was headhunted by an agency whose biggest client was Optus – her previous company’s largest competitor. This position was for a senior project manager position which meant moving her career to the next level, so she eagerly accepted on a contract basis. The agency was Responsys, which was acquired by software giant Oracle in 2014.
Living the dream of #agencylife
Anita nevertheless worked a few more gigs then took some time off to have her second child. With a “never stop going” spirit, she was yearning to get back to work and bring her talents to another monumental project. This pivotal moment in her career is when she landed her dream job – working on a contract at M&C Saatchi – one of the largest global creative agencies. Up until this point in her career, Anita never worked for such a global agency before. She was gripping the edge of her seat with excitement knowing this position would give her immense agency experience – the experience she would then be able to utilize at future agency roles.
Moving to America
Anita went on to work at various other companies after her contract at M&C Saatchi was up and eventually decided to apply for a green card to work in America as she knew the opportunities for agency work were endless there. Last November, Anita officially moved back to the U.S. with her husband and children by her side, eagerly ready to start the next adventure in Las Vegas.
After Anita and her family settled back into Vegas life, she started the search for a job during a transitional period in Las Vegas where a lot of companies weren’t using project managers – especially digital ones. They didn’t have the client base nor the experience in-house to take on digital projects. That’s where MassMedia came in – with an excessive client base and award-winning skills, Anita felt this agency was the perfect solution.
MassMedia as the solution
Not only was MassMedia equip with great clients and great people but also top-of-line talent. Both MassMedia veterans Casey Floyd and Zak Krassin are the powerhouse duo that build the award-winning digital campaigns on behalf of the agency’s corporate and health care clients – including the notable and award-winning “Support Las Vegas Dome” campaign in 2017 that earned visibility and support for the new stadium to house soon-to-be relocated Raiders football team in Las Vegas. Anita was very excited to be able to work alongside this duo to help facilitate their award-winning digital pieces.
It is no surprise where Anita gets her strong-will and multidimensional approach to projects and project management – she has seen both sides of the field. She has been the designer, the person managing the designer… AND the person managing the actual project the designer is working on. She brings a well-rounded background to the team at a time where MassMedia would benefit greatly from high-level project management. At a time where the company continues to grow and rapidly expand its client base, Anita is the missing link to seal the company’s unspoken promise to achieve excellence through results for every client and every campaign.
Today at MassMedia, Anita is picking up stride with her unique approach to project management at the agency. Her experience working in large corporations to more niche boutique agencies is already shining through. In the very first weeks of her new position, Anita presented a new creative process workflow to MassMedia executives – which was gladly accepted and pushed through. Members of the MassMedia team have already commented that the workflow and process has significantly improved. Lead times are shorter, and the projects are getting to the client faster and more efficiently than before.
Project management tip: communication is key
Anita mentions there are a few strong factors she uses in project management. The biggest is communication – being able to communicate changes to the team internally as well as the client.
“It is really making sure the line of communication is clear at all times across the board from the designer to the account executive to the client,” said MassMedia Senior Project Manager Anita Matrai. “It is important everyone knows what they are doing to get the job done on time and at high quality.”
Anita’s role at MassMedia allows her to wear many hats. But really, it is a role that requires strong time-management and organizational skills, which she calls both her strong suits. Anita runs the train on almost every large-scale project that is delivered to the agency’s clients. Was your campaign executed successfully, on time, and on budget? Anita had a significant part in making sure that happened through a streamlined process and use of Smartsheet to keep MassMedia’s team members on track with the campaign.
“The magic happens through the daily dialogue I have between the creative team and other key players in decision making,” said Matrai. “Checking in with how projects are moving along throughout the day and how the team is tracking against both the internal deadlines as well as client deadlines. It’s a meticulous process but it pays off when you see a successful project being handed to the client after many hours of manpower. My job is rewarding in that I get to see in real-time how all of those moving parts work together to build a winning project at the end of the day.”
Project management tip: be realistic with expectations
Anita said another factor of successful project management is being realistic with the client early on while still exceeding their expectations. Having that open dialogue in the beginning so they know what is possible given the scope and what is requested – is important. From there, keeping them updated throughout the project process so there is full transparency on all sides of the table.
Anita says the role never stops and you adapt based on the needs of each project. Not every project is the same so having a solid foundation of project management and tools and resources to get the job done is crucial.
“Every day presents a new challenge for our team, but we do our absolute best given the number of hours in a day,” said Matrai. “We work hard and tackle every change as it comes. That is the beauty of working in an agency. It is fast-paced and for me as a project manager, I really get to see every aspect of the business and how it all plays into the bigger picture.”
There’s no denying that Anita gives her heart to all things project management while she’s in the office, but while she’s #OOF she enjoys the simple pleasures.
“I love baking. It is truly my meditation when I want to get away from the world,” said Matrai. “And with that, dancing is another huge passion of mine. I have been dancing since I was three years old and lived and breathed everything dance up until I was about 25 years old. I even met my husband while learning salsa lessons and we had our ‘first dance’ at our wedding to a salsa dancing routine. My two daughters now follow suit in my footsteps and are dancers at a local academy here in Las Vegas.”
Join the MassMedia family
Most importantly, Anita puts family as her number one. Here at MassMedia, we are a small but mighty family. This is why year-after-year we are recognized for award-winning campaigns and satisfied clients. Join us on our growth journey today and see what positions we have available: