Megan Meany is the founder and CEO of MEGA MEDIA Consulting. She is a communication and personal branding consultant who shapes content strategies and narratives for top global brands including Samsung, Pfizer, and SAP. A former anchor and producer, she now offers masterclasses and executive coaching from her living room in New York City. I spoke with her over Zoom. Our conversation was edited for clarity and brevity.
Megan, when did you decide to branch out on your own?
Well, that historic moment was me getting laid off. So I left SAP and was recruited to First Data, a financial technology company here in New York. But they merged with Fiserv. I saw the writing on the wall that the leadership and the marketing and communications direction of the new company was not going to be as modern and necessarily open to my new way of doing things. Sure enough, I was laid off, which was a really upsetting and unexpected experience.
I immediately thought to myself could I do this on my own?
I recognized that what I do is still very new and cutting edge in corporate – to be a TV personality who then has moved into corporate communications and has tried to, as you said, change the way stories are being told in corporate, so that they’re not boring, they’re still business smart, but they’re more engaging. It’s still a really unusual thing. So I grabbed an LLC. I said MEGA MEDIA. I did the paperwork and I got the name and I had it in my back pocket. So when those walking papers came that was the time to take the leap.
Very cool. So it was pretty much seamless then.
I was lucky enough that I got a healthy severance package. So I wasn’t putting a ton of pressure on myself to figure it out right away. The pandemic really pushed me because everybody at work went virtual and my on-camera skills came in handy. So people started calling me before I really had even planned the business.
How did the pandemic impact the services you offer and what were some of the issues that your customers were bringing to you to say, help me with this please, Megan?
Suddenly everybody had a camera staring them in the face at work, and that turned out to not be such a comfortable transition for most people, even executives at the highest level.
This is my wheelhouse. Everything’s going virtual. How can I take advantage of this? It came down to this one flyer. I was sitting in bed one night and I was trying to imagine what service I could offer and how to sell it. I just basically made a simple flyer advertising my speaker coaching and on-camera presence training to SAP.
I knew that people were starting to take these physical events and make them digital and that they were scrambling to get everyone up to speed with their presentations on camera. So I just made this flyer one night offering my coaching services, even though I had never done it yet. I sent it to a friend at SAP and I said, will you just blast this flyer out and see what happens? She did and something really big happened. It landed on the desk of somebody important on the digital marketing team. He then passed it along to somebody else important who was in charge of SAP’s big customer-facing event Sapphire and, sure enough, the phone rang and boom, there was my first job. The timing that was perfect. I got hired to coach several people that were involved in that event.
You evolved your business from there, because now you’re offering master classes and other services.
Mega Media is basically a multimedia agency and most of my services fall under digital storytelling. So there is the speaker coaching piece. I train executives one-on-one for generally digital events.
There’s a few master classes that I created. One in particular is called She’s so Essential. This is for female leaders and it’s about being an essentialist. It’s everything from nonverbal messaging to verbal messaging tips, and that I teach to large groups over Zoom at companies.
I have another class called Virtual Victory, which is just Zoom 101, how to show up here, how to get set up, how to look professional. It’s less about storytelling and more about setup and getting comfortable.
I do executive producing and hosting big events for companies and also video productions. So it runs the gamut.
Incredible. All of that in the last 18 months?
Yes. Less than two years.
Here’s a question that, that I don’t often ask, but when I do, I get great answers. What’s the most controversial decision you’ve ever made?
… ending a business partnership with a male friend. When I was starting out and wasn’t exactly sure what Mega Media was going to look like, I obviously had a video background, but I wasn’t my own established production company at the time. Out of insecurity, but also because I really had done good collaborative work with this male partner in the past, I latched onto him. We had a contract together to do the video side of the business together. From the beginning, it didn’t feel right. The contract didn’t really serve me.
But I let that go for a very long time. Then it got to a point where I actually didn’t feel I was respected in the relationship. It was getting to a point where I was losing authority and and then kind of being taken advantage of financially. It took me, I’m embarrassed to say, a year and a half to get up the nerve to say, this is not serving me. I’m going to end this contract.
And I did. It was in the middle of a video project with a high profile client and it was terrifying. I had to scramble and find a new team to work with a new vendor. But I was in charge now and it paid off in spades.
I’ve grown so much from taking that leap and using my voice and having that hard conversation that we have to learn to start having, if we want to be leaders, which is, I’m not gonna worry about whether this person likes me at the end of this conversation.
You’ve mentioned that not every company is open to having a TV personality, a more infotainment style of communications, in their marketing teams. But who is open to this? Talk about some of your clients if you can.
Samsung Ads is one of my regular clients. I’m doing brand videos, hosting digital events, writing and producing videos for them. They’re an amazing client. I really enjoy working with them. And I’m really proud to say, I work with Samsung.
I am working with Pfizer, which has been amazing. I host every two months something called Inside Perspectives with their leadership team and that’s been an amazing ride to be working with Pfizer directly in the heat of the pandemic, something so high profile. They’ve just been a great group in the HR department and communications that I’ve been working with. So love the Pfizer gig.
SAP of course is a huge client of mine and just the gift that keeps on giving. It really was the job that changed my life.
If you could identify a few common factors that these companies have in terms their leadership or their culture, what is it about them that makes them want to do things differently?
It does seem like storytelling is getting to be more of a priority at a lot of companies just because this is the information age and content is king and video wears the crown and companies are understanding this more and more. Everyone’s on TikTok and YouTube. The companies that get it are looking for people like me to help train folks internally. Just to be open to that way of thinking of the consumerization of corporate communications is something that all of these clients have in common.
What advice would you have for anyone who wants to break out on their own and set themselves up in a creative consultancy, like the one you have?
The first thing I would say is keep it simple when you’re getting started. I mentioned that I teach this class She is so Essential, which is really about weeding out your words and getting to the essence of a story, identifying key messages when you communicate. So take that essentialist approach with your business in the beginning. What is your one true thing? What’s your jam? Start with that, like I started with the flyer. You don’t have to build the empire right away. Even if you see the empire in your vision.
And and the second thing I would say is take advantage of the amazing personal growth that inevitably comes hand in hand with professional growth and becoming your own boss. As you go through the process of taking risks, making decisions, selling things, you will come up against inevitably some blocks, and it’s a great opportunity to reflect on what are those blocks and where do they come from and to work through them, whether it’s a patriarchal wound or it’s just a basic confidence issue, or maybe something someone along the way told you that sort of colored your impressions of your abilities. There’s been so much personal growth for me doing this. And that’s been, I think one of the greatest gifts of running my own business.
So prepare for those two things. We can’t show up and be our best selves at work if we’re not our best selves personally. That’s been a really interesting part of becoming an entrepreneur.
That’s incredible and all without the help of a therapist. So what do you owe your business success to?
Certainly they say in real estate location, location, location, well in business, relationships, relationships, relationships. So I attribute my success to my relationships that I built with my peers and my superiors at the two companies I worked at. That really is where all of my clients have come from. I went back to those two companies to all the people I worked with and said, hey, hire me as a consultant. Many people from those two companies moved on in their careers to other companies, and I would look them up on LinkedIn. That’s really where my client list has come from. I also owe my success to a lot of mindset work and reprogramming my thoughts and that I learned to do yes with a kind of therapist, but a life coach who then became my business coach.
The Megan Meany empire, what does that look like?
Well I’ve always had a love for lifestyle. My time in television was largely spent in the lifestyle and morning TV space. I had a modern woman’s blog at one point called Megan’s Must Haves where I would recommend products and was on TV often talking about my favorite things, anything from beauty and fashion to parenting to health tips. I still do a segment on a show called Fox and Friends nationally called Mega Morning Deals, which is a little trace of my former career still with me.
I would still love to do something in the lifestyle space in the future with my business, whether it’s the segment that I do on TV, turning that into something I can offer digitally. You know, there might be a book in my future. A She is so Essential book.
I also have something I’ve trademarked called Megamorphosis, which we just touched on a minute ago, which is this idea of personal and professional development going hand in hand. I imagine this as an event for women about becoming your best professional self. I would be the host and also the communication expert, but I would bring in other experts in other areas of personal and professional development and have this summit for women. Maybe have a few fun corporate sponsors. These are a few things that are part of the empire vision.
Who are the public figures, executives, world leaders that you admire?
Since I just admitted that I am a lifestyle junkie, my idols and lady boss role models are actually a couple famous women, one of which is Gwyneth Paltrow. You can all laugh, go ahead. But I’ve always admired her business Goop and the fact that it started with a newsletter at her kitchen table. As I mentioned earlier, I had a women’s platform at one time digitally, and I would’ve loved for it to have been exactly what she’s created.
So I’ve loved watching her business evolve and seen her make this change from acting to business woman and CEO. I’m a big client of theirs and I’ve even given them some input at some VIP events and that’s been really fun. So I follow them closely.
There’s another recently, I’ve been really interested in Jennifer Fisher who is a jewelry designer and went on the map because Uma Thurman wore a necklace she made on a magazine cover, 10 or 15 years ago. And she was off to the races. But now she’s expanding into kitchen stuff. I’m a big fan of design and she’s designed a line for Crate and Barrel Two. And she’s putting all these recipes out. She recently turned me into a clean cook, like no dairy, no gluten. Believe it or not, I’m a creative person who has always hated to cook and not been good at it. So she’s really inspired me. You know, these are women that I I think are helping other women live their best lives and who are also running kickass businesses. And they’re also mothers. So those are two women that I’m watching a lot lately.
So last question. Give us your tips for onscreen presence. You can use me as a bad example.
One good tip is a solid, bright color. It always works on camera. So you got the memo you’re wearing green which was smart. You know, if you’re not somebody that wears color, you don’t have to wear it, but that is an easy way to pop. On camera, pass on patterns.
The other thing I’d say is absolutely invest in a webcam. It will up-level the quality in a really quick, easy way. I use LogiTech. You always need to have light on your face in front of you, not behind you. Think of this as an extension of your personal brand. This is the new normal we have to show up here for work whether your company’s hybrid or not. This is not going to go away.
People should get a sense of your personality from your background. But when I talk about being an essentialist, edit your space, we don’t wanna see your printer, we don’t wanna see the treadmill. Our environment gives us energy too, when we’re on camera. So you wanna feel good about the space that you’re gonna come to over and over again for work and to Zoom. So dress for the party.