Meghan Cast is the VP of Marketing at Threadflip. In her role, she leads brand, acquisition, retention, and marketing creative. Meghan has worked in ecommerce for over 15 years in both start-up and mature companies. After receiving an MBA in 2003, Meghan applied her digital music experience at Walmart.com where she helped launch their digital music solution, Wal-Mart Music Downloads to the #3 market share position within its first year. During her nearly six year tenure at Walmart.com, Meghan lead the marketing and launch plans for a variety of home, apparel and technology brands and services while also managing online, print, and TV campaigns. After Walmart, Meghan consulted in marketing strategy for several companies, including Peet's Coffee and in April of 2010 she joined Gap, Inc as Head of Marketing for the Gap.com division. Meghan later moved to head Gap brand CRM where she managed both customer acquisition and retention.
How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?
I grew up as the youngest of three children with an 8 year gap. This gave me the opportunity to observe and absorb the incredible examples set for me, while at the same time offering the opportunity to carve out my own niche, expressing who I am in my own way. Fortunately, my parents encouraged individuality. My path has not been linear: I have followed passions from studying improv to being a Page at NBC to joining two start-ups in the 90's. Therefore, my management style is rooted in encouraging individual expression and nurturing great talent which I find very fulfilling.
How has your previous employment experience aided your position at Threadflip?
I was at two start-ups in the late 90's/early 2000's. This experience taught me the importance of being nimble, making smart decisions quickly, and knowing what your customers can and can't tell you. At Walmart.com I learned to apply what I knew at scale and added great discipline and structured thinking as well as invaluable management skills. My time at Gap reinforced my love of apparel and the importance of understanding what new technologies can do for your business -- and when they can do it.
What have the highlights and challenges been during your tenure at Threadflip?
Working with the Threadflip team is wonderful. Getting to work with young, passionate people is incredibly inspiring. We work hard but ALSO HAVE A LOT OF FUN.
So far, the biggest highlights have been participating in a successful round of funding and launching our rebrand last November. The fundraising experience was a new and very gratifying experience. The brand relaunch was tremendous fun and let me leverage my experience launching various brands and businesses at Walmart.com. Another highlight is the increasing benefits and ease we are offering through Full Service selling. Watching NPS (Net Promoter Score) increases provides constant reinforcement that we are on the right track.
The biggest challenge has been maintaining equal focus on sellers and buyers, both acquiring them and satisfying (retaining!) them. It's a lot of fun but it's a ton of work. You can't satisfy all the people all the time, but you better be able to satisfy your buyers and your sellers at the same time because without one or the other you are in trouble.
What advice can you offer women who are looking to enter the tech and business world?
Network. If you don't have one, build one. Ask for meetings. Pick the brains of people you admire in your field or industry. This is vital to a successful career.
Be Curious. Know what new technologies and trends are disrupting businesses. Find an area you are passionate about and learn a lot about it.
Prepare. Know your stuff and their stuff better than the other guy (or woman).
Know yourself. Don't chase a trend or new idea you don't really get or aren't inspired by. Work won't be fun and you probably won't thrive.
Get a mentor. Research and network to find someone who has been there and build a relationship with him or her. Don't be afraid to ask questions and be open to learning.
How do you maintain a work/life balance?
I love to work. Especially when I love my work. I would say don't seek work/life balance, seek a job that is or can become a career you are passionate about.
The balance part is about working efficiently and effectively. Most people stay in the office too many hours and don't really get that much done. Get your job done well and work hard, but also hit the gym, be with family, and make time for friends!
What do you think is the biggest issue for women in the workplace?
I don't think there is one specific issue. In my experience success requires a combination of having the assertion to achieve career milestones--whether that's a position, raise, or promotion--as well as the self-awareness to make smart decisions in line with your future aspirations (marriage, motherhood, becoming an executive, founding a company--or any combination thereof).
How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?
Mentors have helped me in a variety of ways. Mine provided organizational perspective and constructs and methodologies for evaluating opportunities. They have also been invaluable sounding boards. It was recommended to me years ago that I create a "board." A group of individuals whom I reach out to for guidance, support and perspective. My board is comprised of family, a former manager, respected friends, and former official and unofficial mentors. I recommend creating a personal "board" and having the members come from varying backgrounds.
Which other female leaders do you admire and why?
I admire women who understand themselves and their values and make decisions and lead accordingly. I'm inspired by authenticity.
Consequently, I admire strong heads of households who maximize their volunteerism-- like my accomplished mother, for example. I also admire women like my sister-in-law, who works part time as a lawyer while raising three kids, and my sister, who is back at work at Amazon after a decade of child-rearing.. And I admire founder/CEOs like Jessica Herrin of Stella & Dot and Pat Miller of Vera Bradley, who created and scaled successful businesses/brands. You can have it all, you just have to understand your definition of "all."