Rebecca Wray: “Work Smarter not Harder”

We gave the planet a break. Ozone holes closed, pollution dissipated, animals thrived. Maybe this small blip in the journey of our lives healed our world a bit. As a part of my series about the things we can do to remain hopeful and support each other during anxious times, I had the pleasure of interviewing […]

We gave the planet a break. Ozone holes closed, pollution dissipated, animals thrived. Maybe this small blip in the journey of our lives healed our world a bit.

As a part of my series about the things we can do to remain hopeful and support each other during anxious times, I had the pleasure of interviewing Rebecca Wray.

Rebecca Wray is Executive Producer at Durable Goods, a production company based in Venice, CA. Rebecca began her career in advertising at a digital startup in Chicago. She transitioned to production a few years later. She has since thrived in the industry and has had the pleasure of shooting commercials for top global brands all over the world.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

I fell into being a producer, actually. I had grown up in Los Angeles and needed a change of pace, scenery, whatever you call it. I was living in beautiful Manhattan Beach and commuting to Hollywood 5 days a week and that commute was taking me 3 hours total. It was making me angry and resentful spending so much time in the car. I wanted public transportation! I wanted to meet people on the street! I wanted to walk! I wanted seasons!

I picked up and moved to Chicago, IL on a whim, with no job and no place to live (talk about Not Giving a F) to change my life experience. I had never lived anywhere except Los Angeles. I lived in the living room of some friends for a month while I figured it out. I temped at a couple of startups and met 2 ladies who changed my life. They were pillars in the Chicago Advertising Community and I found the excitement, creativity and challenge of their careers was something that might suit me. Though I had no prior experience in advertising, I took a chance on jumping into the field and the rest is history.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving an F*ck’ by Mark Manson. People tend to care too much about what other people think. Reading this book and adopting some of his ideas into my life has been a game changer. The ‘art’ he speaks of lies in being true to yourself (without being a jerk to other people.)

Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your perspective can you help our readers to see the “Light at the End of the Tunnel”? Can you share your “5 Reasons To Be Hopeful During this Corona Crisis”? If you can, please share a story or example for each.

1. We gave the planet a break. Ozone holes closed, pollution dissipated, animals thrived. Maybe this small blip in the journey of our lives healed our world a bit.

2. We are survivors. We survived 9/11 and we will survive this, too. Even though there is dissention, most humans have an uncanny knack of coming together to rebuild. We did this after the Great Depression and we will after Covid-19.

3. We’ve found a way to get back to face to face conversation (even if it’s through a computer screen). We’ve relearned how powerful conversation is for building community, connection and understanding.

4. Rest, Re-evaluation, Rejuvenation — three things I have experienced during the pandemic. I have slept better because I don’t have to go to bed or get up at a certain time. I have had to re-evaluate what work life will look like before there is a vaccine. I have been rejuvenated coming up with solutions for my clients and ways for my business to hopefully thrive once we are allowed to resume work.

5. Efficiency will reign. Why do you need a giant office with boardrooms and all of the rigamaroll when business can function as well — or even better — remotely? Companies can save millions by having employees work remotely.

From your experience or research, what are five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?

1. Empathize. Don’t assume that someone’s struggle is the same as yours. Everyone has different situations and triggers. Emotions are running high.

2. Listen. Be a friend. Especially to those you haven’t talked to in awhile.

3. Reach out. Just because you’re not hearing from someone doesn’t mean they may not need to hear from you. The silent ones are usually the ones going through the most.

4. Put in the work to stay connected. I have organized many Zoom gatherings that took some work but paid off handsomely for everyone who showed up.

5. Pause when you’re agitated and decide whether something really needs to be shared with others (or not.)

What are the best resources you would suggest to a person who is feeling anxious?

As a person who has anxiety and has experienced panic attacks in the past, Breathing Exercises and Meditation have been important. The reality is that we as individuals have no control over what is going to happen, not now anyway. The sooner you can accept this, the sooner you can react to it and make a plan. Anxiety is not going to end when the lockdown ends. Doing what is best for you now, to prepare for what comes, is the best thing you can do for yourself.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

“Work Smarter not Harder.” My dad always said that to me when I was growing up. It’s the quote I remember most from him and it’s the quote that has helped me the most to get to where I am today.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

It would be a movement advancing diversity in the advertising community.

What is the best way for our readers to follow you online?

I am a big supporter of women and minorities in advertising. I have created a couple of informal industry networking groups that encourage community and leadership for these demographics.

My social handles are:

Instagram: @sunnylagirl, @adladies and @durablegoods



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