Eight Questions With: Megan Smit

PayByPhone’s director of Marketing & Communications strives for spontaneity, organization and believes in asking the questions “why?” and “why not?”

If you could teach a college class, what would it be called? And what would it cover?

Speaking frankly, it would be called, “Sh*t they don’t teach you in college but will change your life.” This would cover the basics of workforce dynamics and include real examples or situations frequently experienced, such as times you’ve been apologetic or compliant. There have been many times the benefit of hindsight taught me to push for validated ideas and to be unapologetic in their pursuit! I’m a big advocate in asking “why?” and more importantly, “why not?” It’s the pillar of strength when it comes to testing, growing and building new ideas, processes and teams. Too often when in a new environment or without these tools, we fall victim to the status quo, bureaucracy and taking delight in the different. I would like to arm newcomers with an artillery to confidently become the best ideators, leaders and team members.

What can’t you live without? OR What is your secret vice?

That’s a tough one! I love spontaneity but cannot handle a mess. My vice is an organized space, be it my home or my desk – this is down to the welcoming of chaos, but in a space that has a measure of control. Having a degree of simplicity and organization provides me the space to tackle the bumps and lumps along the way. (Marie Kondo would be proud #cringe)

What is the best business advice you have ever received?

Two pieces, which have stood out for me over time: 1) Disagree and Commit – I may be borrowing from the Amazon analogy here, but it really works! Not everyone will agree on everything, and we can’t delight everyone with certain projects. However, if you have a firm direction and accountability on getting it done, individuals will be motivated to complete the action with 100 percent presence. 2) Ask WHY … again, again and again, whether the CEO, PM, CTO – if you have questions, then ask. I’ve often found that bigger ideas or principles may be communicated, but people seldom ask the reason behind them or the factors that warranted the change. Understanding the context that led to a decision allows you to be a part of it and highlights aspects that may not have been considered.

What is your favorite place in the world to visit?

Spoiler Alert! My home turf – Cape Town, South Africa. My biggest life love is to travel and seek as many adventures as possible. I’ve been lucky enough to travel to many destinations, including Egypt, Russia, Europe, Africa and Asia, but the quality of life and the people in the city of Cape Town never cease to amaze me. However, I’ve fallen in love with Hawaii (I love diving and attempt to surf), and I can’t say no to a glass of wine in Southern France. Next on my list is Japan.

What is the hardest thing you’ve ever done?

Saying goodbye to my fiancé for a year when he started his company in San Francisco, while I was based in South Africa. We were pursuing exciting journeys that would lay the foundation of our future together in Vancouver, and we didn’t know how long it would be at the time. It was a balance of being proud and giving the freedom to fully pursue what is important to both of us, but also being OK with the challenges it would bring. We’ve been married for three years, and it honestly feels like we can do anything, anywhere.

What is the smartest marketing, communications or PR thing you’ve ever done?

I worked for an online classifieds company and sometimes had cases where con-artists preyed on vulnerable people. For example, the “seller” would post a vehicle, demand a deposit, and once paid, would not show up for the trade. What may seem like common sense (for example, examining on-site and releasing payment after inspection) was good-natured people being taken advantage of. We had such a case that would have been a PR nightmare. I interviewed the buyer, got the police involved and created a story on safety – the “know-hows” and support when using an online classifieds’ tool. It went viral and supported our stance as the leader in this space.

What are you currently reading?

I am reading a negotiation tactics book entitled, “Never Split the Difference.” It’s brilliant for client and sales negotiations as well as one’s own career objectives.

What is your motto or favorite quote? Where is it from?

“What’s the worst that could happen?” Not exactly a motivational quote, but I use this frequently to avoid opting out of new and potentially nerve-wracking experiences and challenges – whether work or personal.


 

Eight questions with… is an occasional series where we ask marketers to share a little of their professional and personal insights. To suggest someone you’d like us to ask eight questions – or to answer them yourself! – go to https://arketi.com/8questions.

By Arketi – October 23, 2019

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