Woman of the Quarter: Alexis Rago
The Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce and Women in Business are excited to honor Alexis Rago (pronounced Ray-go) – the Big Kahuna at Marketing Mana LLC, as a 2021 Woman of the Quarter.
Woman of the Quarter Q&A
Q: Describe your business and what you do.
Aloha! I am the Big Kahuna at Marketing Mana LLC, a marketing strategy consultancy. I coach small business owners who rely on referrals as their main marketing tool and are ready to grow their business, or have approached their marketing efforts from a tactical approach such as social media and email and know their marketing efforts could be working smarter to improve their results.
My clients see the greatest success when they dive in and commit to change. We collaborate on creating or refining the mission and vision statements as well as exploring core values. These are key elements to defining a brand, highlighting your business’ differentiation and value, and creating a SMART goal. We then shift our focus to understanding your target segment so you can create relevant messaging and powerful connections throughout their customer journey. Ultimately, we create an action plan that is strategically focused to achieve your marketing.
Q: What do you love most about your work?
I love being an entrepreneur and collaborating with my incredible clients who treat me as a trusted partner and share so much of their business with me. Exploring core values is such a great opportunity to dig deep and understand the very essence of a business. It’s easy for me to geek out about marketing and I truly enjoy the entire strategic marketing process, even when I have to guide business owners away from the tactics and towards the fundamentals.
I have the opportunity to work with small business owners who may not have any marketing experience but want to learn. It’s incredible to witness the shift from overwhelmed by marketing to empowered because they understand the strategy behind the execution. I celebrate when I save my clients thousands of dollars, solve their marketing challenges, and help them grow their business because there is strategy and branding behind their marketing touchpoints
Q: What led you down the path of becoming an entrepreneur?
It was a journey, that’s for sure! I had a mix of influences before officially taking the leap in 2018. My parents were small business owners most of my childhood, running an advertising agency in Hawai’i. I graduated with my MBA in marketing strategy and corporate strategy from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan in 2003. In 2009, I worked on a meaty project that was mostly marketing strategy; this was the project where I finally knew what I loved, but I didn’t have the kohones to go all in as marketing budgets were non-existent during the financial crisis, I had a 1-year-old, and I listened to the nay-sayers who I do believe were acting from a place of love and concern. After a few more agency jobs, and a corporate job for 3 years in a toxic culture, I found myself searching for a job that didn’t exist. After a year of searching, I worked with a talented coach who helped me hear myself. I am grateful to be my own boss, do what I love, meet new people, and be responsible for everything, every single day.
Q: What advice do you have for other women entrepreneurs?
Ladies, let’s continue to help each other. There is plenty of work for everyone. When we raise each other up, we all increase our chance of success. There are so many talented women doing cool things. Help spread the word about other cool businesses. Invite them to networking events, webinars, lunch. Power lunches aren’t just for men. Let’s bring a new meaning to Ladies who Lunch! We each need to share our true talents, because there are people who would feel less pain because of our expertise.
Q: Name someone in your life who inspires you and tell us why.
One person? I can’t commit to that. I find that when I listen and truly be in the moment, I am open to receiving inspiration, and notice it surrounds me.
The NACC DEI committee has been an incredible learning and contributing opportunity for me. I continue to catch myself falling into stereotypes, I challenge the group with questions and priorities, and acknowledge I am still learning. Remembering that people often act from a place of well-intention, I encourage us all to ask clarifying questions to be sure we are understanding each person’s unique view as a result of their experiences.
I truly enjoy the opportunity to get to know someone during a 1:1, listen to their contributions in a meeting, hear their story, and learn from their experiences. When I celebrate someone else’s accomplishments, I find inspiration.
Q: What other passions or hobbies do you have?
I spend a lot of time with my family and am lucky to have a great relationship with my parents who live close by. As things open back up, I am most excited to travel (especially warm and cultural destinations). My ongoing passions are health, being outside, business radio, cultural experiences, gardening, home improvement, cooking, grilling, and good quality chocolate.
Q: Aside from the Chamber, how do you stay connected within the Naperville community?
I’m proud to serve on the NCTV17 Board of Directors (I love my daily updates), help my synagogue with their marketing, and be involved with my sons’ activities and schools. I organize a neighborhood Turkey Trot and coordinate multi-family garage sales. I’ve run the Women’s Half Marathon and the Naperville Half Marathon…although I haven’t run much since I finished the race in 2019! As we start to have more in-person gatherings, we love hosting dinners, bonfires and get-togethers.
Woman of the Quarter Bio
Alexis Rago, the Big Kahuna at Marketing Mana LLC, created The Okole Method to help her clients save time, money and frustration that many entrepreneurs experience when marketing their business. Alexis promises to kick you in your okole with real-time Assessment, Strategy, and Structure so you can achieve your SMART goals using customer-focused marketing strategies.
Alexis provides clear, actionable next steps to strengthen your marketing strategy. Alexis coaches small business owners to define your brand, create relevant messaging, and holds you accountable, so your marketing dollars work harder, faster. With more than 20 years of marketing expertise, and an MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, Alexis approaches each business with a keen focus on the customer so you can achieve your marketing goals.
Clients share they feel challenged, supported, inspired and comfortable with Alexis as their coach. Marketing Mana offers marketing strategy through one-on-one consultations, marathon sessions, and Mastermind Groups.
Alexis is also the co-creator of the Work On Your Business Retreat, where small business owners focus on their marketing strategies and website strategies, through a workshop-style approach to receive real-time feedback about their company’s brand, messaging, customers, user experience and website SEO.
Alexis Rago was born and raised in Honolulu, HI, and proudly calls Naperville home since 2014. Alexis immersed herself in the community through volunteer opportunities at Prairie Elementary, Congregation Beth Shalom, as well as helping other non-profits and participating in local events including running two half-marathons. When Alexis’ entrepreneurial spirit created Marketing Mana LLC in 2018, she became involved in the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce and currently leads the marketing efforts for the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, as is a member of TEAMWORK. Alexis is also a proud member of the Board of Directors for NCTV17.