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Mary Grabow

Director of Account Service

Mary Grabow
Director of Account Service

OMAHA, NE

I’ve lived in Omaha my entire life. It’s changed so much from when I was growing up. It used to be people from out of state would ask, “Do you live on a farm?” or “Do you have cows?” Now I find it fun to share with people what Omaha is really about and work to change their perceptions. Their utter shock is always a pleasure to observe (that’s utter – not udder).

I have been instilled with a solid MidWestern work ethic. Every summer, I would spend my days at the Grabow Service Station, the business my grandpa started. I would find ways to entertain myself by running around the backroom and playing on the car lifts. Customers were treated like gold; Dad knew them all by name and no one was left in line waiting for service. Once in a while I would get to wash their windshield or say hi. It was great training for an account service role.

My parents actually met at the business – my mom was a customer, and my dad was too nervous to talk to her for the longest time. I don’t know what prompted his moment of bravery – but I’m grateful.

Like my Dad, I was painfully shy as a child. It wasn’t until high school that I remember telling myself, “Okay, I’m not doing this anymore. I can be myself and get past this.” Once I broke out of that shell there was no stopping me.

My dad was part of the reason I learned how to connect. He was always encouraging me to shake hands and interact with customers or friends and family at gatherings. Some people never get past that initial fear – my story would be much different if I hadn’t turned that corner.

UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA – OMAHA

From my summers at the Station to helping my mom who worked as a bookkeeper, I knew I wanted to study business. One advertising class and I was headed in the direction of Marketing. I had the people skills and the business skills – I just had to fill in the rest.

Guess my own family created my first two internships.

I worked all through college, first at the House of Pewter (charming, but not a terribly forward thinking operation), and then at Physicians Mutual. I started on the phones at Physicians Mutual, was moved to trainer and then quickly to supervisor.
 
PHYSICIANS MUTUAL – COORDINATOR OF SALES PROMOTION

After I graduated, I moved into the agency division and began working with sales promotion and advertising. My boss taught me what mattered: accountability, authority and responsibility. His faith in letting me lead projects was what put me on the map in that organization.

These projects taught me to trust my instincts and not to let titles or years of experience intimidate me from asking the right questions or doing what I know is good for a project. I am no shrinking violet.

During my last couple of years there, I coordinated conventions. One even lead me to an amazing trip to Italy, which would have been great if it weren’t for the kidney stone that decided to make its presence known. The Italian doctor who was sent to my hotel room didn’t speak English. I don’t speak Italian so I’m still not sure if he was gesturing that my stone was unusually large or my kidney was in the wrong place. Some things may have gotten lost in translation. As if things couldn’t get any worse, when I finally got on a plane to come home, the flight made an emergency landing in Connecticut. I started looking around for the hidden cameras. This could not be real. With no cameras in sight, I asked for my baggage (which included my medication), and the paramedics tried to boot me off the plane thinking I had a ruptured appendix. I finally convinced a nearby cop that my kidney was NOT going to rupture so I was permitted to board. And while that was true, I WAS rushed straight to the ER when the plane touched down in Omaha.

Needless to say, my photo album from Italy is somewhat lacking.

OMAHA AGENCY – ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE
Working on the client side has kept me passionate about offering good service, but it felt good to be removed from Corporate bureaucracy, free to explore whatever the imagination can create working on the agency side.

After enjoying 11 years at an agency, I wanted a chance to manage and mentor people again. Managing the thrilling chaos of agency life is a challenge in ways that still surprise me.
 
BOZELL – DIRECTOR OF ACCOUNT SERVICE

Like my dad did at the station, I want our clients to be treated like gold. So my team and I make sure that happens. It’s incredibly rewarding to see how we’re making an impact in the community where I’ve grown up.
 

Words to live by: Life is short. Be grateful every day for what you have.

Mary's story

OMAHA, NE

I’ve lived in Omaha my entire life. It’s changed so much from when I was growing up. It used to be people from out of state would ask, “Do you live on a farm?” or “Do you have cows?” Now I find it fun to share with people what Omaha is really about and work to change their perceptions. Their utter shock is always a pleasure to observe (that’s utter – not udder).

I have been instilled with a solid MidWestern work ethic. Every summer, I would spend my days at the Grabow Service Station, the business my grandpa started. I would find ways to entertain myself by running around the backroom and playing on the car lifts. Customers were treated like gold; Dad knew them all by name and no one was left in line waiting for service. Once in a while I would get to wash their windshield or say hi. It was great training for an account service role.

My parents actually met at the business – my mom was a customer, and my dad was too nervous to talk to her for the longest time. I don’t know what prompted his moment of bravery – but I’m grateful.

Like my Dad, I was painfully shy as a child. It wasn’t until high school that I remember telling myself, “Okay, I’m not doing this anymore. I can be myself and get past this.” Once I broke out of that shell there was no stopping me.

My dad was part of the reason I learned how to connect. He was always encouraging me to shake hands and interact with customers or friends and family at gatherings. Some people never get past that initial fear – my story would be much different if I hadn’t turned that corner.

UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA – OMAHA

From my summers at the Station to helping my mom who worked as a bookkeeper, I knew I wanted to study business. One advertising class and I was headed in the direction of Marketing. I had the people skills and the business skills – I just had to fill in the rest.

Guess my own family created my first two internships.

I worked all through college, first at the House of Pewter (charming, but not a terribly forward thinking operation), and then at Physicians Mutual. I started on the phones at Physicians Mutual, was moved to trainer and then quickly to supervisor.
 
PHYSICIANS MUTUAL – COORDINATOR OF SALES PROMOTION

After I graduated, I moved into the agency division and began working with sales promotion and advertising. My boss taught me what mattered: accountability, authority and responsibility. His faith in letting me lead projects was what put me on the map in that organization.

These projects taught me to trust my instincts and not to let titles or years of experience intimidate me from asking the right questions or doing what I know is good for a project. I am no shrinking violet.

During my last couple of years there, I coordinated conventions. One even lead me to an amazing trip to Italy, which would have been great if it weren’t for the kidney stone that decided to make its presence known. The Italian doctor who was sent to my hotel room didn’t speak English. I don’t speak Italian so I’m still not sure if he was gesturing that my stone was unusually large or my kidney was in the wrong place. Some things may have gotten lost in translation. As if things couldn’t get any worse, when I finally got on a plane to come home, the flight made an emergency landing in Connecticut. I started looking around for the hidden cameras. This could not be real. With no cameras in sight, I asked for my baggage (which included my medication), and the paramedics tried to boot me off the plane thinking I had a ruptured appendix. I finally convinced a nearby cop that my kidney was NOT going to rupture so I was permitted to board. And while that was true, I WAS rushed straight to the ER when the plane touched down in Omaha.

Needless to say, my photo album from Italy is somewhat lacking.

OMAHA AGENCY – ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE
Working on the client side has kept me passionate about offering good service, but it felt good to be removed from Corporate bureaucracy, free to explore whatever the imagination can create working on the agency side.

After enjoying 11 years at an agency, I wanted a chance to manage and mentor people again. Managing the thrilling chaos of agency life is a challenge in ways that still surprise me.
 
BOZELL – DIRECTOR OF ACCOUNT SERVICE

Like my dad did at the station, I want our clients to be treated like gold. So my team and I make sure that happens. It’s incredibly rewarding to see how we’re making an impact in the community where I’ve grown up.
 

Words to live by: Life is short. Be grateful every day for what you have.

Read More

years in industry

30 years

years at bozell

1 year

client experience

  • First National Bank
  • Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo
  • College Savings Plan Network

Mary's Hometown

Omaha, NE

August 8, 2018

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