For your business to grow, you have to keep growing, personally. Owning a business definitely pushes you to continue to evolve and grow personally, and I’ve seen that in order for your business to continue to grow and expand, you have to embrace that process and everything that comes with it (good and bad!).
I had the pleasure to interview Megan Driscoll. Megan is the CEO and Founder of EvolveMKD, a public relations and social media agency based in New York City. She has 16 years of experience in healthcare, aesthetics and dermatology, and prestige beauty. Key to her success is Megan’s ability to always find a way. Megan finds potential in every opportunity for her clients through determination, relationships, agility, and sound strategy coupled with creative spirit. Megan is widely recognized for her work, earning a spot on PRWeek’s 40 Under 40 List and being honored as one of 12 women chosen for The Ernst and Young Entrepreneurial Winning Women class of 2018. Additionally, Megan was the first ever recipient of the Early Career Achievement Award from her alma mater, the University of Chicago.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?
About six months into my business partnership at my last agency, it became clear it wasn’t going to work out long-term. I realized I had a choice — I could go to another agency, be someone else’s right hand and potentially have the same experience repeat itself or I could be brave and try to do this on my own. It was really scary and still, sometimes I can’t believe I actually did it, but it’s been the best decision I have ever made. I’ve learned so much about myself, other people and life, that regardless of what happens next, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
Not necessarily interesting, but an alarming thing happened over the summer. I was out to dinner with a few colleagues, celebrating another’s new job (all women and one man). One of my colleagues started chatting with the table next to us (all older men) and they ended up talking about EvolveMKD. They wanted to meet the CEO of the business, and my colleague mentioned I was right at the other end of the table. I happened to be sitting next to the one man that was with us, and wouldn’t you know it, they walked right up to him and congratulated him on the fantastic business he had started. He corrected them, and introduced me, and all of the men for some bizarre reason could not believe I was the CEO.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
The funniest experience I’ve had since opening a business was shortly after leasing our office space. We had just moved in and I had hired a cleaning crew. Before they could start, I had to figure out how to assemble the cleaning cart that they would be using every day. There was no one else to do it, so at 8 pm on a random Tuesday, I am sitting alone, in the office, trying to figure this out! I made it through, and we do have an assembled, functioning cleaning cart, but I always think back to that story as a reminder about how far EvolveMKD (and I!) have really come.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
I think what makes EvolveMKD stand out is the people. Kindness is a huge priority, coupled with being a true meritocracy. That means the people who are the longest tenured at EvolveMKD are not only absolute gems of humans, they are also incredibly driven and hold themselves to the highest possible standard. That results in better and more impactful work for our clients and better output for the media, influencers and other stakeholders we partner with.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Yes! There are quite a few new exciting projects in the works. We are working with an aesthetic medical company, Candela, which is committed to developing and enhancing innovative technological solutions that change lives. On September 26th, we are officially kicking off Profound’s “Bring The Snap Back Campaign” to spark a conversation that surrounds promoting resilience from the inside out. The Profound device is a safe, non-surgical alternative to a facelift with patented technology that addresses aging skin by delivering RF energy to induce the body’s natural healing process. We will be hosting a media and influencer event to educate media on the Profound device, and specifically elastin as a key skin fundamental, to help consumers “snap back” in all aspects of their lives — physically and emotionally. We are also rolling out a consumer contest and influencer campaign for a full 360 approach.
We are also officially launching sunbetter Advanced Mineral Protection by skinbetter science on October 1st. The new range of SPF products will offer a new category of water-protectant sun protection in a tone-adapting compact that is easily wearable every day. I’m particularly excited about this launch because I believe SPF should be worn every day and it’s hard to find a product that is both elegant and effective (and layers well with makeup!). skinbetter science is closing the gap between choosing an elegant SPF versus an effective SPF — so we can have the best of both worlds.
What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?
I think being a good leader is giving your team opportunities to “fail safely” — allow them to try new things, stretch a bit, and see what they can learn when something doesn’t go according to plan. I also think, where you can, recognizing everyone’s individuality in terms of style — there’s rarely one right way to do things, so ensuring the strategy/content is correct, but then allowing people to let their personalities shine through the work.
What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?
Male or female, as your team grows, it’s important to have a strong senior team beneath you, that can help to guide/instruct the team. I also find it important to still carve out 1:1 time (when you can) with newer members of the team, so you have an opportunity to get them know them, and they have an opportunity to hear directly from you your expectations, vision for the company, etc. I’ve personally also have found the practice of meditation valuable, since when you have a big team, more people are pulling on your energy. Meditation gives me the chance to start my day with intention and refuel the energy gas tank.
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? Can you share a story about that?
I’ve heard people say it “takes a village” in reference to raising a child, but I also think that’s true when starting and running a dynamic, growing business. Everyone from my husband, my business banker, my lawyer, my account, former and current clients, fellow female entrepreneurs, my team, etc. has played a role, big or small, in helping EvolveMKD grow to what it is today. I have had a fantastic mentor in Jonah Shacknai, who definitely knows a thing or two about building successful businesses. Being a small business owner is a team sport and I try, when I can/when asked, to mentor/help other small business owners along the way, to pass along the good karma that others bestowed on me.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I’ve also felt that with success, comes the responsibility to provide others with opportunities to succeed as well. We do that internally, with how there’s no limit to what you can achieve (I made two colleagues shareholders in the business last year) and we do that externally, by donating 10% of our profits each year to charities that support women and children in the US. We’ve donated almost half a million dollars to date, which I am very proud of.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
There are so many things, I am not sure I can keep it to just five! The five that come to mind are:
- Don’t sacrifice your vacations, even in year 1 of your business. Seriously, your brain, heart and soul need a break from the intensity and pressure. Stepping back also gives you clarity and distance to “work on your business and not in it”.
- You’ll see the best in people….and the worst. I continue to be surprised at people’s capacity for kindness and willingness to help (even a stranger!), especially in the entrepreneur world. I am also constantly saddened by the nastiness people can exhibit and the strange relationship people can have with money.
- Your business banker will know more about you than your spouse, your family or any of your friends. For real. I am shocked I haven’t had to promise a first-born child at this point!
- Sleep isn’t ever really the same (unless you are on vacation and even then, not till day 4). You’ll find yourself waking up at random times of the night, with random ideas or not being able to shut your brain off because you’re thinking of all of the “normal” work to dos, plus the actual running of a business. See point above about the importance of taking time off (if only to sleep a lot!)
- For your business to grow, you have to keep growing, personally. Owning a business definitely pushes you to continue to evolve and grow personally, and I’ve seen that in order for your business to continue to grow and expand, you have to embrace that process and everything that comes with it (good and bad!).
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I would love to inspire a movement of self-awareness in society. I always say that the #1 predictor of success at EvolveMKD is if you are a self-aware person or not. With self-awareness comes the desire to improve, be accountable, and be honest about yourself — your talents and your limitations. I think our society (especially in politics and some of the trolling/bullying that happens online) could benefit from a large dose of self-awareness.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
I have two favorite quotes — “Whatever you are, be a good one” from Abraham Lincoln and “You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them” from Michael Jordan. I think both speak to the importance of believing in yourself first and foremost, before you can expect anyone else to. I think having confidence in yourself and the willingness to hustle is the key to success in life.
We are 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 with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why?
I would LOVE to have a lunch with Michael Jordan. He’s played a big role in my career, as I always hold him up as an example of how even the most naturally gifted people still face failure and need to work incredibly hard for their success. Whenever I get down or frustrated, he’s the first person my husband quotes to me, to remind me that even legends stumble and fall sometimes.