In our inaugural episode of Intersections, William Smith sits down with the show’s host, Meghan Kelly to talk about what listeners can expect.
Read the transcript:
Today we’re going to give you, the listener, some background on this brand new show, talk to Meghan Kelly, the show’s host, and provide you with a sneak peak of what’s to come. My name is William Smith, and I’m a producer at the Attainable Podcast Network. Let’s talk about “Intersections,” Meghan. What is it? Who’s the show for? What can people expect? Kind of give us the rundown.
OK, well, “Intersections” is really an opportunity for our Audigy Group, Audigy Medical, and Stratus employees to get to know their coworkers in a way that they might not otherwise without a more structured opportunity to have an in-depth conversation with them about their life.
Yeah, this week, actually, I guess the use case for this came up because I recently moved from one side of the building to the other side of the building. And I’m sitting next to new people that I haven’t really met before. And it’s funny, because I get stories where people come to me and be like, I don’t mean this to sound the wrong way, but I don’t know what it is you do.
And that’s actually pretty common, because then I turn around and be like, I don’t know what you do, either, like I know that you write or I know that you design, but I don’t know what you’re working on and things like that. So I think that this is a good opportunity to avoid that awkwardness of saying to somebody, yeah, I kind of know what you do, but I don’t know what you do, like what are you working on right now?
Yeah, and I think it also really fulfills a business need, where you get a little bit more of a rundown on what your co-workers do. Because there are plenty of opportunities when you’re working with clients, or we call members, to help those members by referring them to someone internally who is knowledgeable on a particular subject. And if you have that knowledge on what your coworkers skill sets are and job responsibilities are, you can be more helpful with our members.
So one of the things that you’re going to be doing in this show is digging into people’s backgrounds a little bit. So I figure with this first kind of Episode 0, is what I’m calling it, kind of let everyone get a sense of who you are. Let’s talk about something like, where did you go to school? What did you go to school for?
Well, I grew up in a small town in Northern Michigan, and I went to school at Michigan State, which is a pretty big school in Lansing, East Lansing, Michigan. I think there’s like 45,000 students.
Is that the Spartans?
Yeah, yes, it is. I started out as a biochemistry major. I did that for two years. And I determined that I didn’t want to work in a basement lab for the rest of my life. I was maybe a little bit too social to do something like that.
And so I got into advertising. And at the time, Michigan State was one of only three universities in the US where you could actually major in advertising. So that’s what I did. And it’s turned out great for me.
That seems a lot different than biochemistry. How did– did you know somebody that was doing like marketing, advertising? Or did you read like a brochure? Like how did you go from a very science kind of background to one that’s more creative?
I wish I had like an interesting story to explain the transition, but I really don’t. I think I was looking for something that was completely different than what I was currently doing. I do remember that I took one class, like an advertising theory class. And the man who taught the class came from J. Walter Thompson, and he was just this really, really creative individual, who was obviously very successful, but he was really just a different type of off-the-way personality. And the way that he communicated was entirely different than the way that any of my more science-based professors had communicated. And there was just something that was very intriguing about that.
And so I guess if you’re looking for a point in time where I made a decision that this was the career path that I was going to follow, it might have something to do with that class. I wish I could remember the guy’s name. I wasn’t so impactful that I even remember his name, to be honest with you.
Yeah, but you remember the lessons and the way that he conveyed the information. That stuck with you.
Yeah, I remember this feeling of being in that class. And I remember being very creatively charged. And I remember really looking forward to that class. I maybe wasn’t the best student. I was known to skip class, and that was one that I definitely wouldn’t skip and I looked forward to attending.
And I formed a lot of relationships with other students in that class. There was a lot of teamwork and collaboration in that class, where working in a lab it was very– there wasn’t that type of collaboration. You’d collaborate with the instructors on specific experiments, but in terms of collaborating with other students, there wasn’t much of that at all.
So fast forwarding to today, you’re now the director of media at Audigy Group and really, indeed, the whole enterprise. So you work with audiologists, but you work with our dental members. You work with our ENT members throughout Audigy Medical. So just give me a little bit of a taste of how it was you came to know about Audigy and your progression when you came into Audigy. Because you didn’t start off as the director of media.
No, no, I joined Audigy in November of 2008. And I had come from the newspaper industry, which we all know is currently really suffering and was just beginning to suffer at that time. So I was looking for maybe a more positive, growing work environment, something that was just going to be a little bit more fulfilling in terms of the cultural mindset.
So I came in November of 2008. I believe I was the 32nd employee. There was just a small group of us here at that time. And I was hired to be a marketing manager, but my job was quickly change from marketing manager to media buyer, because we didn’t have anybody on staff who had had any experience working with outside vendors and negotiating media contracts.
So just for clarity’s sake, when you say media buying, what’s all involved in media buying? Is it does what it sounds like?
Yeah, it’s exactly what it sounds like? And it’s not really complex. I mean, anybody can buy media. But it is really, really helpful to know. So when you’re buying media, you’re buying any time or space in any type of media vehicles. So you’re either purchasing television spots or radio spots or you’re buying some space in a newspaper or a magazine or on the back of a bus or any place that advertising is sold. If you’re purchasing that, you’re a media buyer.
But there are all sorts of ways that media is communicated. There’s all sorts of media jargon and metrics that are important to understand in order to make sure that you are buying enough or not too much and that you’re not paying too much. So it is really, really helpful to be able to work with someone who has a decent understanding of media and how it’s purchased.
So you start off as marketing manager, quick shift over to media buying. At what point did you start– because I know that you’re now the director of media and you manage a large team. So what was that progression like? Were you just hired to be– were you the only media buyer at that point?
Yeah, I was the only media buyer for a long time until that got kind of overwhelming. And so we hired another media buyer. And we partnered together. She didn’t report to me. We partnered together, and then we hired another media buyer. And same thing– it was just a group of three of us, and we all had our own territories and good collaboration and coverage.
Eventually, I did become their boss. I don’t really remember that transition or how it happened and it really being this really impactful thing for me, to be honest. Because it really just meant that I had a slightly different role and that I was communicating the success of the team up to management. But it didn’t change our working relationships very significantly, because the ladies were incredibly smart, and I continued to learn from them in the same way that I always had.
Actually, with that promotion, I became the person who was also in charge of our corporate brand and buying for the corporate brand. And we started to do a lot of digital by purchasing a lot of digital space. And one of those things that we were purchasing on behalf of our members were paid search campaigns. Paid search is essentially you go into Google, and you’re looking for a hearing aid. You type in “hearing aid,” and a certain amount of the results that come up for hearing aids are going to be actual ads that people have purchased for them to appear there.
So we started doing that. And we were using an outside vendor to do that. We realized that, hey, we should be able to do this in house and get better results for our members while also creating a revenue stream for the enterprise. And we built out a team to do just that. And so now there are four people on my team who focus solely on the paid digital side of media.
What is something that you wish people knew about you?
Hm. Well, if you’re meeting me for the first time, you might feel like I ask a lot of questions. And I do. I get that feedback from people quite a bit. But I think that part of the reason that I– I really am just interested in learning interesting things about people. And I know that sounds probably really cliche, but I find people really fascinating, particularly their quirks.
I love learning things about people that I didn’t expect to learn or things that are somewhat random or unusual. That’s just really intriguing to me to sit down and talk to someone and learn about their life and learn how their life is different than mine and their experiences and perceptions are different than mine.
And that actually doesn’t go away. Because I’ve known you for three years, and you still ask me 20 questions a day just about any random kind of a thing.
Yeah, I mean, I’ve also learned people love to talk about themselves. If you’re in a room with somebody who is maybe a little bit more shy or reserved, if you ask them direct questions, most of the time they will answer you. So it’s a really good way to form a rapport with someone that you might not otherwise be able to get to know.
So I know one of the things that you’re going to be doing when you’re talking to other members of the staff is kind of putting them in a scenario or asking them a question that will evoke something out of them that maybe just a regular interview wouldn’t. And so I’m not going to do the scenario, because that’s your domain. You’re really good at doing those things. But I am going to ask you to describe your perfect day. What would need to happen today for today just to be a perfect day for you?
I would sleep in. I’ve had a hard time sleeping lately. Or as I’ve gotten older, I don’t sleep nearly as soundly as I used to. So I would have this like perfect 12-hour restful night of sleep in a 60-degree room in a hooded sweatshirt and like PJs that were like a jogging suit, something where I’m in like this cocoon of warmth.
I wake up in that, and there’s just like this hot cup of coffee sitting right next to my bed. And so I sip that in my bed for a little bit. It’s a super sunny day. It’s like already 80 degrees, and the forecast says it’s going to be 90. And I have– hm, what do I do? I probably do some thrift-store shopping.
And I go into these thrift stores that like I have never discovered before, and they all are full of reduced-price mid-century modern furniture. And I buy this beautiful furniture, tons of it. I’m able to fit it all in my car, and I get good parking spots when I go to pick it up. And I fill my car full of this beautiful furniture. And like I said, it’s cheap, because I like that, too.
And then I come home, and I put it in my house, and it looks really good. And I take pictures of it and just appreciate it. And then we grill on the back porch. We just have something simple like hot dogs or hamburgers, corn, and blueberries. I have a couple of glasses of wine.
I just sit there and eat with my family. I don’t get comfortably full. I eat like a normal amount and feel good. And then I read my book and go to bed after I put my kids to bed. That would be my perfect day.
That is incredibly detailed and specific. And I’ll have everyone listening know that that was just off the top of her head.
I wish I was doing that right now.
She didn’t even hesitate. That’s crazy. Wow.
Yeah, that’s it. That’s it. I love thrift stores, good deals. I like interior decorating to an extent. Like I’m not that good at it, but if you find awesome pieces, then it’s hard to not make them look good.
So, Meghan, thank you very much for taking the time today. Now, this is an abbreviated episode of “Intersections.”
Of course, this was fun.
But I wanted to give the listeners just a sense of who you are and a little bit about your background. And I’m sure through your conversations with many, many other people here in the company that even more of that’s going to be exposed.
Well, I hope so.
So I’m looking forward to hearing what you guys come up with, and thank you.
Yeah, thank you.