Attract more diverse talent — in order to build a well-rounded team, your workplace should be inviting. People will not want to work somewhere that they don’t see others like themselves, or more specifically, where everyone is from the same background and has the same views and opinions.
As a part of our series about “How Diversity Can Increase a Company’s Bottom Line”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Meg Prejzner.
Meg is the Founder and CEO of Hackett Brand Consulting, a digital marketing agency that works with purpose-driven brands to bring their mission and vision to life. Meg founded Hackett on the heels of a successful 15- year corporate marketing career. She’s led big-name brands and managed million-dollar budgets, but for Meg, all of the success in the world would be meaningless it if didn’t serve a greater purpose. Her desire to follow her personal mantra of “unlocking the power of what can be” drove her to start Hackett with her husband, Maciek. Together with their team, they partner with like-minded businesses who have a greater purpose, help them grow their brands, and simultaneously answer the call to positively impact the world.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive into the main part of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit more. Can you share a bit of your “backstory” with us?
For more than a decade I’ve helped build brands and marketing programs for everyone from Fortune 50 companies, national franchise concepts, and globally recognized brands, to local independent retailers and start-ups alike. I started in marketing in college and was one of the lucky ones who followed her major into a career and fell in love with it.
I worked in a number of different areas from sports marketing to a PR agency, and eventually led brand marketing for a national restaurant concept. But, the whole time I knew I was an entrepreneur at heart and was always busy planning to start my own business. In fact, from the time my husband and I first started dating, I would always tell him one day we’d work together and run our own business.
In 2017, we were traveling in New Zealand and we decided to go bungee jumping on a whim. And, as it turns out, it was one of those cliche but profoundly impactful, influential moments that would change the trajectory of my career.
Flash forward just three short months, I started our own marketing agency — Hackett Brand Consulting — providing the same foundations I used to grow some of the world’s most recognizable brands to our clients. Today, I not only support Hackett Brand Consulting but also help independent entrepreneurs and small business owners with marketing consulting and courses through my other company, Meg Prez.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? Can you tell us the lesson or take away you took out of that story?
We work building brands and developing brand identities for organizations, and one of the funniest mistakes I made was not doing the same for my own brand.
When I started Hackett I very much just jumped in and started offering services without much thought to branding, and then ironically had to take a step back and re-evaluate what our niche or brand would be.
Starting at the heart of it all, as we encourage every client to do with a well-informed strategy, is something that I retroactively implemented. For us, this is working with purpose-driven brands and doing work that is bigger than ourselves.
The biggest lesson I learned in identifying our niche and retroactively articulating our purpose is to remember to start with the basics and build your foundation. While it’s important in business to just start — meaning, don’t let small details hold you back from pursuing your dreams — you also need to know why you started and be a brand you believe in.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you tell us a story about how that was relevant in your own life?
“Unlock the power of what can be.” This isn’t a particularly famous quote, but it is my life mantra. To me, it’s a reminder to push beyond any current challenges, because challenges are an opportunity for growth. Although it’s not the most pleasant experience to step out of your comfort zone, I see it as something to overcome in order to get to the growth and amazing opportunities on the other side. This is something that I keep in mind daily as I work to be the best version of myself, both professionally as a leader and personally, in the many roles that I play.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?
My husband. He has been my biggest support system through life. Anytime I’ve ever had an idea for a business, he shows an unrelenting amount of encouragement and enthusiasm for everything I do. To have such a tremendous partner by your side really makes all the difference.
In fact, when I came home from work one day and told him, “I think I am going to start my own business and do marketing consulting,” his immediate response was a resounding “yes!”. He didn’t ask any questions about the “how” that could make a person second guess a decision so big. Instead, I was met with so much enthusiasm and encouragement, he made me feel like a success from day one. For that, I am forever grateful.
I am also grateful for friends who really supported me and talked through business ideas along the way from idea, to growth, to success. I have a friend who also runs her own business, and she’s been such a wonderful person to have by my side as I’ve grown.
And as I’ve said, the people are what makes the difference. I am very grateful for our team members who have helped us grow. To have such amazing people working by our side is the biggest testament to the business we’ve built.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Hands down, our people. And we hear that from our clients, time and time again. When we hire, we not only hire for talent but for fit. It’s important that every person on our team can not only deliver stellar results but can build a real relationship with our clients. When we work with our clients, we pride ourselves not just on marketing numbers but on the relationships we build, many of which last well beyond the typical client retainer. Our people are the reason for that.
Are you working on any new or exciting projects now? How do you think that might help people?
Yes! Right now I’m working on building my other company, Meg Prez. It’s a consulting agency for entrepreneurs and small businesses, where I offer training course, resources, and one-on-one consulting to help people create the brand they’ve always dreamed of. My goal is to inspire and educate business owners, entrepreneurs, and leaders looking to grow their business with brand strategies and marketing support.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I believe that when we’re living with purpose, we show up as the best version of ourselves and that means we are better able to play the many roles we have in life. For me, doing what I love has made me a better wife, a better mother, friend, and leader. My belief in loving what you do is so strong that it translates to my team at Hackett Brand Consulting as well. I want this to be a place that people enjoy working at, and that they can see themselves growing in, because this work suits their life and not the other way around.
Ok. Thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the main part of our interview. This may be obvious to you, but it is not intuitive to many people. Can you articulate to our readers five ways that increased diversity can help a company’s bottom line. (Please share a story or example for each.)
- Attract more diverse talent — in order to build a well-rounded team, your workplace should be inviting. People will not want to work somewhere that they don’t see others like themselves, or more specifically, where everyone is from the same background and has the same views and opinions.
- Improve your company growth — change and growth don’t happen in a vacuum. In order to progress as an organization, you have to try new things, and you’re more likely to do that if you have a team of people who can give different perspectives and ideas.
- Create a wealth of knowledge and perspectives for your clients — In the world of digital marketing, our job is to help brands connect their audience. In order to do that, we have to understand the audience, what they want/need, and deliver messages in a way that aligns with our client’s brand. Having a diverse team of people from different backgrounds — educational, cultural, work-related — gives your company a foundation of different perspectives and life experiences that can create content that a variety of audiences can relate to.
- Increase your customer base — This relates to having different perspectives on the team. With a diverse workforce, you’re more likely to attract a diverse population of customers/clients.
- Be a brand founded on doing the right thing — In today’s world, people want to work with companies that care about their impact on the world. This is true of the kinds of products and services they provide, as well as the culture that they create internally.
What advice would you give to other business leaders to help their employees to thrive?
In order to help your employees thrive, you have to make it a point to listen to them and give them the resources, support and opportunities they need to grow, both within their current role and in any role that could suit them in the future. As a leader, it’s my job to provide opportunities for members of my team that interest them. What I have found is that, when people are in roles that they are excited about, they will put forth their best effort and really thrive, which is good for them personally, and also for the business.
What advice would you give to other business leaders about how to manage a large team?
The team I manage currently is pretty small, but I do have experience managing large teams in some of my previous roles. My advice would be to find ways to come together as a team and build relationships. The teams that collaborate are the ones that have the greatest success, and it’s our job as leaders to provide opportunities for team members to interact outside of their working roles.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this 🙂
I am truly inspired by our first-ever female Vice President. She is breaking barriers and paving paths for women behind her. On top of that, she seems like such a kind and charismatic person that you would love to just know and have in your life. It would be an honor to meet her.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Thank you for these excellent insights. We wish you continued success in your great work.