Meet Meghan Gardner, the new VP of Public Relations in the Portland, Oregon office. Meghan recently relocated to Portland from the East Coast, where she spent about 12 years in the Boston area. Although a Western Massachusetts native, born and raised in the “Happy Valley”, Meghan spent a lot of her career traveling to various places near and far. We are happy to have Meghan join the team! Learn more in the recent interview with her and Matter Video Producer, Caitlin Indermaur.
Caitlin Indermaur (CI): What inspires you?
Meghan Gardner (MG): What inspires me and keeps me passionate on a day-to-day basis? My team. They ask me challenging questions and always have something interesting to bring to the table. Also, I read a lot of fiction and have found it’s a good reminder that sometimes I might think my perspective is the most important one, but it’s often not, and definitely isn’t the only one. Finally, my daughter inspires me. I have an 11-year-old daughter who, I only half-jokingly say, I want to be more like when I grow up.
CI: What excites you about starting at Matter?
MG: Being in a new city, with a new team, with nothing but opportunity in front of us. The clients that get me excited about going to work are those who appreciate the work that we do, trust our expertise and challenge us to think bigger. When I think about the career growth opportunities I have here at Matter, I feel pretty unlimited. I have a lot of autonomy to try and seek a path that makes me feel fulfilled and accomplished.
CI: What was your first impression of Matter and the Portland office?
MG: My first impression is that this is a company that is to be reckoned with. The people are smart, the strategy is sound and the work is just flat out interesting. The Portland office is in an incredibly vibrant neighborhood. There are shops, restaurants and brewpubs everywhere. Then once I walked in the door, I saw that the place is really about the people. This team is incredibly committed to one another, committed to the work, and not to mention a group of really kind, thoughtful human beings.
CI: What do you like about your role and working at Matter?
MG: I get to help set the vision and strategy at a high level for client work while keeping an eye on whatever’s happening day-to-day. There’s a nice sense of shared direction where it rarely feels like you walk in and you don’t know what’s coming. My favorite part about working at Matter is definitely the team. I know it’s a cliche, but I’m surrounded by strong opinions and smart, thoughtful people who challenge me to be the best professional that I can be every day.
CI: What is the culture of Matter?
MG: The culture at Matter is hardworking, ethical and collaborative. The hardworking elements to what we do plays out in the fact that we’re all working toward getting great results for our clients. The ethical part is that we commit to one another, both out loud and implicitly, that we’re going to do the right thing. Working hard to get a result only matters if it’s done in the right way. And finally, we support each other which is encouraged by the leadership of the organization, making it enjoyable to be a part of.
CI: How does Matter engage with the community?
MG: Our Helping Hands program empowers each office to design their own volunteer programs where we donate our time and efforts to a nonprofit organization that’s important to us in the office. This program allows employees to volunteer independently as well and once you’ve reached a certain number of hours as a volunteer, Matter donates money to the organizations that you support. So, it’s not just something that you’re expected to bolt onto your day; we genuinely like to support by giving people time during their workdays to give back to their communities.
CI: How does teamwork play a role in the way Matter operates?
MG: Teamwork is built into the way that we do our work every day. I can’t imagine getting our jobs done without being part of a team. What that means is that we take seriously the responsibility to make sure that people know what their roles are on any given account, or project. It’s important that you know who manages you and who coaches you, but also who you can manage and who you can coach. Finally, it’s important we all feel that we’re contributing something to the best of our individual abilities, in order to accomplish something together. Even our financial incentives are based on team achievement, not just individual achievement.
CI: How does integrity play a role at Matter?
MG: Integrity plays an incredibly important role in our work at Matter. It’s like teamwork: our jobs can’t exist without it. There’s an old saying that advertising is about visibility, PR is about credibility. Whether that breakdown still exists is irrelevant, and of course we do a lot more than just PR, but with that in mind, we need to have integrity in our work as the very nature of the job is to help our clients be more credible. Leadership certainly sets the stage for integrity at Matter through open and transparent communications to be as forthright and forthcoming as we can, involving members of our teams in decision making to create a sense of collaborative autonomy. That helps bring integrity to the work that we do because everybody has a stake in it.
CI: What is innovation like at Matter?
MG: Innovation is the lifeblood of our work. There are some people in the marketing world who like to say that PR is dying. So innovating, in a way where we’re not reliant on an old way of doing things, or an old mindset, is fundamental to our success as a business. Innovation is also what gets people excited about coming to work in the morning. When I’m thinking about my team, and about what gets them motivated and wanting to work here, innovation is a really an important part of that.