Ali Alvarez is Omelet’s newly appointed chief creative officer, and her journey to a top role in advertising is nothing short of inspiring.
Mexican-born and LA-raised, Ali started out as a professional equestrian (horses are a key part of this story, more on that later) before attending Art Center College of Design and then making her way to London to begin her career in advertising.
After graduation, Ali cut her teeth at some big agencies over the next 10 years - Mother, Fallon London, and working her way up to ECD at The Brooklyn Brothers - working on some big names including Cadbury, Tate, BBC, Range Rover and Iceland Tourism.
Fast Forward to 2012, when Ali Alvarez suddenly found herself unable to remember anything about her life, except a vivid memory of a film she wanted to produce.
This is where horses come back into the story. Enjoying one of her favourite pastimes, riding, Ali suffered a terrible accident in London, falling from her horse and hitting her head on a rock. The resulting traumatic brain injury (TBI) left Ali with no short-term memory.
It wasn’t just her memory that was lost, so was her ability to walk. Ali had to start over. And the only thing she could remember was a film idea that had been building in her mind for a documentary about the annual butterfly migration that starts and ends in her home country, Mexico.
On the morning of the accident, Ali had filmed herself for the Kickstarter campaign to help fund the project. The idea of creating this film, which would become a way to help grieve the death of her mother, became the single source compelling her to recover as quickly as possible. Producing and directing Muerte Es Vida, her first feature documentary, led her to discover a love and talent for the production side of the business.
From that experience, Ali set out on a new production career path. Her first gig post-accident landed her at one of the world’s best production companies, B-Reel. Since then she’s honed her creative skills with outfits like JustSo, serving as Head of Creative.
Her work has gained award recognition from MTV, Cannes, One Show, FWA, D&AD, The Webbies, and The Emmys.
All of this, an unlikely path filled with years of robust life and career experience that has ultimately led her to return to LA, where she was raised, as Omelet’s chief creative officer.
As Omelet looks to redefine what creativity looks like (through new business units like Omelet Assembly - more info here), Ali’s hire represents the most senior role to be filled by the type of person the agency views as representative of the future of creative thinking.
With 18+ years of agency and producing/directing experience, it is Ali’s personal history—combined with her experience and attention to craft—that makes her so unique. Coming back from a TBI and reclaiming her creative mind lends a level of empathy to Ali that is rare in leadership.
“Omelet has a saying ‘Be hard on the work, kind to the people’ and I couldn’t agree more,” said Ali. “I’m excited to bring together the London craft I’ve learned working in all parts of the business, and the life lessons I’ve learned…er…bashing my head! That life made me hesitant to jump back into an agency full time, but I couldn’t pass this up. I hope that tells you how highly I think of the Omelet team. It’s been awhile, but I’m back, LA. If you’re up for something a little different, if you come from somewhere a little different… ¡Vamos! Let’s get working.”
Ali will work across all Omelet clients, including YouTube, Google Play, Princess Cruises, and Walmart, among others.
“It is tremendously rare to find someone with the type of global life and career experiences that Ali brings to the table,” said Thas Naseemuddeen, CEO, Omelet. “Her ability to truly live a creative life and inspiring those around her with this energy for creativity is something we're giddy with excitement for. Also, her time spent in London left her with a respect and attention to craft we don’t always see in our market. It's a breath of fresh air for our advertising community that is so ready for new energy.”
Ali is the second C-suite female hire for Omelet in the last three months, joining Zey Taslica who serves as Head of Production. She joins CEO Thas Naseemuddeen, Managing Director Andrew Kensky, CSO Pete Talaba, CMO Sarah Ceglarski, chief digital officer Ricardo Diaz, and CFO Naj Allana. Ali assumed her role virtually in January and makes the hop (back) across the pond to LA soon, with her partner and four-year old child in tow.