Infectious Energy, Dedicated Client Service and Yoga: Meet Meghan Gardner
A trusted advisor to client executives and a valued coach to her teams, Meghan Gardner brings 20 years of experience to Mission North in her role as senior vice president in our West Coast operations. Meghan has a deep background in B2B technology and experience across multiple industries from AI and data management to financial tech and healthcare.
I have had the pleasure of seeing Meghan pour her infectious energy into existing Mission North teams from the day she started with us. Her ability to galvanize different ways of thinking and unlock creativity while empowering individuals to move with a purpose is inspiring. She can easily synthesize information, whether it be a technical product development or brand narrative, or nuances of team dynamics that encourage better teamwork and results. In a nutshell, Meghan views everything she does with an eye for maximizing client service and bringing our clients the best experience possible, day in and day out.
I chatted with Meghan about her journey to Mission North, what drives her, and how she approaches client service. What follows is an edited version of that discussion:
Why did you come to Mission North?
I wanted to join a team where I could make an impact at the strategic level with a shared vision for a culture and a working approach fueled by valuing the human beings who are showing up every day. Mission North is uniquely looking at growth as a conscious and thoughtful strategy rather than a mere outcome of opportunity.
I knew Mission North would be a place where I could bring my own authentic self to work every day. It was also important for me to land at a place where leadership values transparency around why we do what we do with the entire organization. I found all of that and more at Mission North.
What fires you up when it comes to your role?
I simply love the work of helping people figure out how to communicate. That applies to the clients I work with, the internal teams I work with, and the individuals within client organizations. The spirit of communications lights up everything. Communications powers teamwork, processes, efficiencies, how you activate audiences, or create digital experiences. No matter how it manifests, communications gets me excited to come to work every day.
Hitting a standard of excellence when it comes to the quality of the end product also inspires me. I love it when a team comes to work excited about doing great work where we orient ourselves around outcomes rather than outputs. If something feels like busy work or is dragging you down, it’s worth taking a second look at it and finding a different way to do it.
I’m constantly asking questions like “How do we make this better?” I gain energy from this process of improvement. I love seeing how it empowers individuals and teams.
“Communications powers teamwork, processes, efficiencies, how you activate audiences, or create digital experiences.”
You’ve already wowed me with your ability to synthesize information and integrate ideas for quick activations. How does that translate to bringing value to your clients?
I do enjoy synthesizing information and facilitating conversations on the fly. Thanks for noticing that! I see communications as central to every aspect of marketing success, and synthesis and integration are key to unlocking strong communications programs. Earned media and relationship development with influencers, reporters, and producers needs to reverberate across all marketing channels. Communications is fundamental to all forms of marketing—it should live and breathe across every part of the marketing stack.
What does client service mean to you?
Client service means being a trusted advisor. It’s about establishing a relationship that enables you to offer good advice all the time. To do this successfully, you must constantly attend to quality and ask yourself tough questions.
I’ve learned that someone else can always make things better—striving for perfection is a fallacy. That realization wasn’t innate in me. I made a very large mistake in proofreading that drove this fact home for me early in my career. I think it was a $50,000 mistake—the actual cost of the printed books I was in charge of producing in-house.
We produced a beautiful book for life sciences industry executives. I was the proofreader and I missed something. We had to have everything reprinted. I’ll never forget one of the VPs asking me what we would tell the CEO. He said “I’m not asking you to defend what happened. I’m asking you to identify how we are going to prevent this from ever happening again.” It taught me that, even if my ego is at stake, being accountable for my actions above all else, and moving forward with what I’ve learned from my mistakes will only make me, my teams, and my clients better off.
“Client service means being a trusted advisor. It’s about establishing a relationship that enables you to offer good advice all the time.”
How do you know when client service is operating at its best?
You know when there are fewer cycles of discussion before the client okays the decision. The client knows that you have provided the best advice, and they trust you. This doesn’t mean getting to “yes” is always an indicator of great client service because they could just have checked out.
I’m in a situation right now where my team is onboarding with a new client who has a major piece of news around the corner. We’re having a lot of open discussions about media engagement and social media amplification strategies. I view these discussions as a great opportunity to give the client a sense of how we’re going to be working together.
I’m seeing this client reflect back that we’re going to get there together, as a team, and she trusts us out of the gate. This early relationship building will go a long way towards setting the tone for our work together for years to come.
You are a dedicated yogi who practices every morning, and you were a yoga teacher at one point. Why is yoga so important to you?
I started practicing yoga because of an injury. I hurt my back and was very inflexible. Beyond helping me to overcome my injury, yoga subtly started to shift how I look at the entire world. It allowed me to be kinder to myself and to other people, more patient, and more willing to take a step back and see things with a better, gentler perspective.
My best friend from college once looked at me and said, smiling, “You’re very driven.” My tendency is to let that drive move forward too quickly, at the expense of other things. Yoga has helped me harness that drive without sacrificing my balance.
Are you interested in joining the Mission North team? We’re hiring! Check out our open positions here.