When you were a child, what made you the happiest?
Such a great question! When I was a kid, I was happiest when I was on stage performing. I went to an elementary school for the performing arts called Westover Magnet, and to this day I have so many incredible memories from that place! I remember every teacher (Mr. Moody was really one of the first people, besides my parents, to believe in me and tell me I was a great performer). We had drama, dance, music, art and problem-solving classes every day – yes problem solving is an art! I can't imagine where and who I would be had I not been selected by random lottery to go there. Whether I was the lead in the school play or doing a sketch comedy show, I loved and still love the thrill and rush of being in front of a group of people, delivering a story or a message, having to be on your toes, and sometimes having to improvise. Now my performing is less acting, and more professional speaking engagements, but I still try to be entertaining whenever possible.
What inspired you to do what you’re doing today (day job or side hustle or both!)?
At the moment, I spend my time balancing a few amazing things. First and foremost, I run a social impact marketing consultancy, called M Collaborative. I also co-produce a conference called The Heart Series, which focus on business and bettering the world with my sidekick, Gail Cayetano. And then I also co-founded and sit on the board of directors for an economic and community development nonprofit, which I started along with seven other leaders in downtown LA, called Grid110. It’s in partnership with the office of the Mayor, and is currently managed by my good friend and fellow co-founder, Miki Reynolds. I innately love connecting people to ideas and each other, and always have since I was a kid. This is the running theme and the core of everything I'm currently working on. I love hearing people's stories, because I think we can learn something from anyone. And then I love being a catalyst for them to meet others, and to help them discover creative ways to generate awareness around their stories.
Can you give us a story that exemplifies why you get fulfillment out of the work you do?
When I make someone’s day, it makes my day. One very recent example I can share: in the spirit of always doing things for others and in honor of MLK day, I wrote an email to The Heart Series conference community offering a one day only "pay what you can" option on a ticket to attend the event. And I received this email from a woman I've never met:
"Thank you SO very much for doing this “pay what you can” promotion! Please know that I value what this conference stands for WAY more than what I just paid for my ticket, but I just lost my full-time job two weeks ago. I see this as the perfect opportunity for me to learn, be inspired and network for my company ... I just wanted to send a quick note to reiterate that the purpose of your promotion helped me more than you know and I can’t wait to attend this! Bravo!"
It’s always AWESOME to get an email like that, and it just makes me feel really good to know that I helped someone, even if in the slightest way, so I keep putting that good out there whenever possible, and have made it a core part of all my work.
Is there a roadblock you had to overcome to get where you are today? How did you do it?
My life was very linear for a long time. I studied in school, to go to college, to get a good job. I followed the status quo until one day I decided to follow a calling towards building something from the ground up that makes a difference - my marketing consultancy. I think there was a fear for a long time to step into the unknown, but one day something clicked for me and I realized the reward could be so worth the risk!!! I just had to pep talk myself that I was confident enough to do it. And, unconventionally, YouTube then became one of my greatest teachers and support networks during the process. I truly believe that if I want to change paths again tomorrow - I know I can figure anything out and be or do whatever. Confidence is everything - you just have to believe in yourself!
What does choosing yourself mean to you?
Choosing to believe in yourself and to trust in yourself! To value where you are currently, and to say I'm worth it, and I'm amazing. To ignore the opinions and influence of others, and to not fall victim to expectation, but to embrace reality and who you are in the present moment.
How do you practice self love and care on a daily/weekly basis?
For self love I always have to remind myself, "Would I say this to someone else?" I've said some horrible, terrible, incredibly mean things to myself, that I would never say to anyone. So first and foremost, I try to follow my version of the golden rule is "Be kind to yourself, in the same way you are kind to others."
I also allow myself self time to recharge and rest. We gotta take care of our bodies and our minds since they are the only ones we have. I try to lean healthy, with eating and working out, but sometimes I lean out on that, and that’s ok too - I forgive myself and move on. I allow myself days off when I feel burned out, and prescribe myself spa days to recharge. And I constantly educate myself, because I love learning, and my brain likes a little love too.
What is your favorite way to express yourself, and why?
Clothing and accessories. When I lived in DC I used to go out on weekends in costumes, even when it wasn't Halloween or a theme party, just because I liked being a little different! And most days I love a good statement necklace, or a flashy scarf.
What is your advice to your 10-year-old, 18-year-old, 25 and 30-year-old-self (as applicable)?
10 years old - Wow kid, you're smart, embrace that.
18 years old - Popularity isn't everything. Stop worrying about what you look like, and who you’re with, just be you, life's too short. PS: you're beautiful inside and out.
25 years old - Trust me, the FOMO will subside, my friend, and eventually you'll love coming home to sit on your couch alone with your pup and watching TV, WAY, WAY MORE than going to the club. Relax.
30 years old - You'll eventually figure out a direction to commit to for the next phase of your life. Run with it, and adjust when needed.
What do you love most about yourself?
I'm really good on my toes - and maybe it comes from all the childhood performance work. Sometimes I surprise myself with the things I come up with off the top of my head - whether it’s an idea for a client, a quick side joke, a random rap song that I decide to write as I walk down the street, etc. I definitely value my mind and my wit. And maybe in part I love my personality most because I hated my body for so long. However, I've definitely learned to appreciate my body too, with age.
What is your message for our tribe?
Finish these sentences:
Women should: be confident. You've got everything you need lady, work it!!
Women can: balance the masculine and feminine, and so should men. Both have a lot to offer. Let's work together and learn from each other.
Women will: eventually have equal pay, just keep pushing for it. We're worth it.
I am: a unique soul, and I own it!
Connect with Meg through her agency, M Creative, or her conference, The Heart Series.