This post is Part 3 of an interview series of the Conversations team, conducted by our unpaid intern, Loyola University Student Ellen Egitton. The assignment was simple, but not easy: make us sound AWESOME and include a valuable takeaway for the reader. What follows is unedited, and hopefully insightful.
I’m sitting on the floor of a ten by ten square foot office, poppin’ chocolate covered almonds, and sipping on my water bottle. It’s 2:30 on a Wednesday afternoon, and Megan, my woodland fairy boss with the the personality of a very adorable pitbull, plunks down across from me. I’m an employee (ehem – unpaid intern to be precise), but we enforce a very strict “get shit done then enjoy yourself” policy in the Conversations closet, which seems to always guide us towards afternoon chats over Jameson.
Sidenote: Yes, this is a place of professionalism, but who the heck ever said professionals don’t enjoy a boozy break?? The literal one time I wish more businesses adopted 1960s sleazy office policies.
I’ve been working for Megan now for about two months, and we decided my fresh employee status puts me in a good position to take a closer look at each and every single one of the gems that make up this team.
At the helm, we have Captain Megan: lead strategist, master aromatherapist, and office yoga instructor. In other words, she put this whole crazy thing together six years ago with equal parts blood, sweat, and tears.
Was it easy?
No no no and no.
Actually, at times it sucked. Nobody falls from the oh so enlightening world of undergrad into the desk of their dream job (and if you did then you’re annoying and we hate you), but damn did she try.
Megan’s road began with a major in musical theater, but the small financial meltdown of 2007 happened, and she decided that music might not cut it when it came to planning for the future. With a highly sophisticated process of elimination consisting of a University of Louisiana at Lafayette curriculum guide and a large Sharpie, Megan began the process of yaying and naying all courses based on their relation to her arch nemeses, science and math. At the end of the day, communications was the last major standing. Apparently this was a fit, because next thing you know she’s attending journalism conferences and chasing down speakers to hand out her demo reels and resumes.
Turns out being the breathless, over eager sophomore can really work out in your favor, especially when two years later you’re interviewing with the VP of about.com and getting personalized interview feedback…
I know — annoying.
As a college senior with zero idea what I want to do in life, I think a good practice might be to chase down all reputable looking adults screaming “I DON’T KNOW WHAT I WANT TO DO BUT I WILL TRY REALLY HARD PLEASE JUST TEACH ME!!!”
I’ll let you know how that one goes.
Though Megan is a mystical fairy woman, she claims that she never had access to a magic wand to banish all the obstacles that dotted her path from 2007 to the present. She jumped into the daily grind, and it shaped her into who she is now.
Just so you get the flow, the grind looked a little bit like this:
stuffy restaurant → non profit → break up → break down → quit job → terror → go time
“Go time” was when Megan figured out that she could kick ass doing social media work, and some really fabulous people in her life didn’t let her forget it. One thing lead to another, and she ended up growing her client base, working like a dog, and in her very own words, “ballin outta control” in the way that post grads do when the green starts trickling in from sources other than birthday cards and babysitting jobs.
Years passed, work grew, and Conversations unfolded. People started coming to Megan with what they thought were “social media” problems, but from years of gleaning lessons around entrepreneurs, she started to identify the even deeper problems her clients faced. She became a voice for business advice, SEO, social media, strategy, and human connection.
For her, the last role is the most important. As we sit on the office floor talking about why she hasn’t just picked up and moved to a the Rockies to live in the forest (as fairies often do), she looks at me and says “honestly, people just want to be listened to, and I can do that.”
Simple? Yes. Easy? No. But Megan’s commitment to listening is what makes her effective. It is her strategic move and competitive advantage. Let the person know that they are more than numbers and action items, and you will open up avenues to professional fulfillment you didn’t even know existed. After all, she didn’t name her business “Conversations” for nothing.
Ellen is a senior at Loyola University New Orleans where she is studying marketing and communications while interning for Conversations Media. Though she ventures into the real world after graduating in the spring, she would prefer to spend her days laughing at her own jokes, force feeding people her baked goods, and discovering new ways to make brussel sprouts delicious.