[Community Member Spotlight] Anna Wallace 👋
Hi Community! 🤗
We’re very happy to feature Anna Wallace, our amazing Black Belt, in our Member Spotlight today 🥳
Anna has been a member for several years now, and her contributions here are invaluable. This year, she was granted our Black Belt Community badge, congrats Anna!
Make sure to say hi to Anna in the comments below 👋 Also, please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions for her.
1. Tell us a little about your role and industry.
I am the Marketing Team Lead at Pelican State Credit Union, headquartered in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Louisiana consistently ranks last in the country for financial literacy. We focus heavily on community outreach and education, grassroots events, and content marketing. We’re not just focused on selling products and services; we truly care about the well-being of our members and everything we do is with them in mind. My favorite thing about Pelican is that we offer free credit counseling to all members. You can check out our website for more info on this.
My position and department is extremely fast-paced and ever-changing. I manage special projects for our department but am also involved in lots of larger inter-department projects focused on process improvement and digital transformation. I manage our relationship with our third-party marketing automation vendor, which serves as an extension of our department in many ways. In my day-to-day, I jump constantly between special projects, meetings, and coaching/assisting team members any way I can.
2. Why do you/your team use Wrike?
I started using Wrike at my first job out of college and fell in love with it. When I moved to a non-profit in 2016, I expressed the need for a project management tool like Wrike but was met with some resistance and asked to find a free option. In my research, I quickly learned that no other tools compared to Wrike’s robust list of features, ongoing development, and community engagement.
When I joined the Pelican Marketing team in 2017, I proposed Wrike again and we adopted the tool 2 short months later. Everyone has their personal favorite feature! We all love dashboards for the most part, but some users work with reports a bit more. I am obsessed with the Gantt view and dependencies, but several members of the team really love the board view. Calendars have been a complete game changer as a creative team managing lots of social and content channels.
3. What were you doing before Wrike?
Wrike was there for me as soon as I entered the workforce, but when I joined Pelican, the marketing team used a spreadsheet to manage all their projects. It was… unruly, to say the least.
4. What is the top thing that makes you productive?
I’ve found that time blocking and music are super important for my productivity. I have Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), and part of managing my focus is understanding my triggers and weaknesses. I am super sensitive to sound so blocking everything out with music is key. If I need to write copy or strategy, I usually put on soundtracks from The Sims franchise because there are no lyrics. Studies have shown that this type of music can help with focus. (Now I understand why I sometimes get lost in The Sims for 12 hours at a time!)
Time blocking also sets me up mentally to avoid distractions on my desktop. If a team member needs me to review something urgently, they can send me an instant message and I will pause. Other than that, I’m looking at the task at hand—not Wrike or email.
5. What process/setup that you do in Wrike are you most proud of?
There are a few that I’m really proud of. We were having trouble with managing member emails, so we implemented a few tools to streamline the process.
First, we set up a blueprint that includes all the tasks we need to create and send an email. Dependencies are set so that when the blueprint is used, all the dates realign automatically. The parent task is a milestone and the title is the name of the email.
The second piece is an internal request form. This not only duplicates the blueprint for us, but it also ensures we are entering all the information we need to get the work done. Fields include Target Send Date, Email Type (Deposit Promo, Loan Promo, Transactional, Branch Update, etc.), Folder on Shared Drive, and Exclusions/Filters for Targeting.
Once created, the task is automatically added to the “Emails” folder in Wrike, which is connected to a smart calendar. The calendar is set up to only show milestones (in this case, just the name of the email), giving us a high-level overview of all the emails we’re sending in a month. This helps us to avoid message overload for our members.
We’ve created similar processes in our workspace and have just started using automation, which I’m really excited about!
6. If someone was thinking about using Wrike what would you say?
I know this is supposed to be a hypothetical question, but it has happened to me more times than I can count. I encourage anyone and everyone to book a meeting with me so I can show them how we’re using Wrike. Seeing is believing and people are always so impressed with our workspace. This isn’t just something I do for other departments at Pelican; I’ve given demos to other credit unions as well. One of the credit union principles is “Cooperative Spirit,” meaning we help other credit unions however we can!
7. What value do you get out of the Community?
The biggest value is discussing use cases with other Wrike users. Wrike is extremely flexible—there are 50 ways to accomplish the same goal. But sometimes that can be a challenge when you’re trying to find the best way to do something. I also love being able to see requested features and getting updates on their statuses.
8. Fun question: If you had to be a Wrike feature which would you be and why? (Ex. @mentions, Gantt Chart, search, etc).
I would be the Gantt chart, for sure. I’m a visual learner and can sometimes struggle with prioritizing, so seeing each task duration and dependency laid out in order helps me to stay on track and make sure we’re getting in all the tasks we need. I also love that the Gantt chart includes a table to the left with customizable columns. It makes managing tasks in this view that much easier.
Cansu Wrike Team member Conosci le straordinarie funzionalità di Wrike e le best practices
Hi Anna - great job and congratulations! I echo your point about being available to everyone and the "seeing is believing" - being able to connect with people and identify their goals and struggles is the key to successful adoption and make life generally easier for everyone!
Loved your insight on time blocking and music, Anna Wallace! Those are helpful for me as well. I started playing The Sims playlist on Spotify now! 😁 Music without any lyrics is vital or I'll pay attention to the lyrics. 😅
The top thing that makes me productive is writing things down (list) and crossing them off when complete. I utilize Wrike to help formulate the list. Being able to cross it off gives me so much satisfaction... spurs me on to get more finished!
Thanks so much Sherrie Besecker and Sean Wright!
Sean, I also use Wrike to help me formulate a written list. It helps to create even more focus by removing it from a digital space.
Great insights and congratulations! Thank you for sharing!
Congrats on becoming a Black Belt, Anna. That's an amazing accomplishment.
(Your work with the internal request form sounds like something to be proud of.)
Thanks for sharing your story.
Hi Anna! Congratulations :)
I think I would be a Dashboard - I'm a visual learner, too, and I find the customizable widgets in Dashboards super helpful in organizing tasks and projects so that it works for my brain.
Before Wrike, we were using spreadsheets, too...among other tools that were all sort of piecemealed together to give someone the "full" picture of what was going on. Wrike makes it so much easier!
Hi Anna, congratulations on reaching Black Belt! I loved The Sims! I also find the Blueprint feature great for building out repeatable projects with all the tasks & dependencies we need. It's really reduced the admin lift & also ensures we don't forget things.
Before Wrike, we used spreadsheets too. The one spreadsheet had over 50 columns and now it's all in Wrike along with our week update reports!
Hi Anna, congratulations =)
I don't even know what was before Wrike 😅
Hi Anna Wallace , you've got some cool tips here - we also use request forms for cloning everything, but I love the idea of tying project folders to a campaign or content calendar. Thanks for sharing!
I also block out my availability to schedule time for work and mute distractions, and I usually turn to some good video game music (or something non-English, so I don't focus on the words). 🎧
Hi Anna Wallace - great insights, thank you for sharing!
Thank you all so much! I love this community. You're all too sweet.
Carolanne Mak I really think the true power of Wrike is unlocked when you combine functionality. The only frustration with our email blueprint is that it doesn't allow us to automatically cross-tag it to another folder. We have a folder where all emails are kept, but we also want them to appear in the specific campaign it belongs to. I wish the request forms had a cross-tagging field where you could select additional folders/projects to add it to.
Natalie Pinner People always ask me, "Well, doesn't Wrike itself take time away from your work?" Of course, setting up blueprints with all the dependencies, then working out the kinks takes time. But the amount of time you save in the long run is immeasurable!
Sarah Dungey I love the dashboard view too! I do get a bit frustrated that it's not possible to add exclusions to the filters, meaning I have a lot of tasks repeated across different widgets. For example, a task due today would be in my "Due Today" widget AND my "Due this Week" widget. Also, you've introduced me to my new favorite word: piecemealed!
congrats to your Black Belt and thank you for your insights!
If you're interested, you can find some details about myself here: [Community Member Spotlight] Florian Kislich 👋 – Wrike Help Center
Regarding your request form issue: It is possible to tag a task into multiple folders out of a request form! You can set one folder for every task generated by a request form, and aditionally you can add the same task to another folder, if a specific question is selected! For me this feature was more a disadvantage because I'd like to have a task moved to the extra folder instead of additional tagging, but for your case it should be exactly what you'r looking for 😁.
Don't underestimate the community!
Thanks for sharing! I agree that seeing the way it works and what is possible is extremely helpful.
I am a hands on learner, so being in the system and playing around is also important. When I first started in our department, we were still using NCR paper for all of our job requests. We then switched to standard paper for intake but had an online system for tracking and billing paired with a free project management system for workflow. It was a very clunky process and we needed one place where we could do it all - Wrike. We also added on the proofing tool for our creative team.
This is great! I agree, the community and updates are one thing that makes Wrike unique. I think I'd be Board View. Just blocky and transparent.
Great to meet you, Anna! What was I doing before Wrike? Sending a lot more emails and attending more meetings! Wrike definitely saves me time!
Florian Kislich Thanks so much for sharing your spotlight! I adore your idea about forwarding auto-generated emails to Wrike. I never thought of that before!
I know you can add questions to request forms and set up logic to add a parent folder, but I want the field type to be a folder/project picker. It would function like a search bar so you could find projects in real time. Without this functionality, you would have to keep updating the form to add new projects to the drop-down. Does that make sense?
Great information!! Thanks for sharing all this. The community and support are a big part of what makes Wrike great!
Thanks a bunch for sharing! Yay Wrike!
Congrats and keep up the good work!!!
Great interview! Before wrike, we were using OnTime/Axosoft (not by choice).
Before Wrike, My company was using google docs to create a calendar on a week by week basis. This didn't let us see into each teams projects and timelines and made it difficult to see into each other workloads. Now its super helpful to our workloads, timelines and due dates!
Congratulations on your Black Belt!
I too encourage everyone to schedule time with me to walk them through how our organization is using Wrike.
Congratulations on your Black Belt, Anna! It's so interesting to hear your specific use case and how it is so different from (but also in many ways similar to) our own.
Before Wrike, we had spreadsheets, hundreds of emails, and way too many meetings. The combination of Wrike request forms, reports, custom spaces, automation, and workflow/statuses alone have been game changers for us.
Congratulations on your Black Belt, Anna Wallace! 🥋👏
I totally relate to time blocking and music for my productivity - except I use a white noise machine most of the time!