Founder of NYC-based mmd communications, Meghan Donovan has worked on some of the world’s most well-known brands in consumer product goods, beauty & travel including P&G, Virgin America, Clarisonic, Farmacy Beauty, BeautyRx, PayPal and Ford Motors. Meghan’s focus on elevating beauty and lifestyle brands through thoughtful and dynamic ideas in PR and influencer marketing has gained the attention of the industry at large. Meghan has been a featured speaker at a variety of industry events including The General Assembly’s June 2016 Social Influence panel, TapInfluence’s State of Influence and the 2011 IFB Conference. And if that weren’t enough. her name may be ringing bells for you because she’s also the brains behind wit & whimsy, a lifestyle site established in 2006 that reaches thousands of engaged readers per month interested in style, beauty, travel and home.
Name: Meghan Donovan
Location: New York, NY
Education: BA in Communications, Santa Clara University
Company: mmd communications
How did you get started in PR?
I had two PR internships in college – the first in tech and the second in consumer. They primed me to land my first entry-level job right out of college working on consumer tech brands in San Francisco at Ogilvy Public Relations.
How did you get the job you have now?
After ten years in PR, I found myself yearning to work for smaller brands that I could help grow in industries I was truly passionate about. I stepped back to look at everything I liked and didn’t like about agency life and decided I would work for myself and seek further career fulfillment. Starting my own company has been the most challenging yet wonderful thing I’ve done!
What are your primary responsibilities?
As Founder I oversee all aspects of account management and client service, new business and operations. I do everything from strategic planning and counsel to media relations and reporting.
Starting mmd communications has been the highlight of my career to date. Everyday I wake up excited to work with truly awesome clients
How is your agency structured?
Party of one at the moment!
What are you working on right now?
Currently I represent Sweat Cosmetics an awesome line of beauty products for active women, Memebox, a fast growing online destination for Korean beauty and Esselle SF that offers chic housewares for hostessing. I’m also always actively looking for new clients whose missions and values align with my own!
What is a recent job success story of which you are proud of?
I contracted with the farm-to-face skincare brand Farmacy over the summer and was able to secure a feature story in WWD that highlighted the company’s success to date and share their story with an important audience. I love the brand’s products and founder and was so happy to get them a series of meaningful press while we worked together.
Most memorable/meaningful job moment thus far?
Starting mmd communications has been the highlight of my career to date. Everyday I wake up excited to work with truly awesome clients and I’m grateful that I have the ability to create and continually curate my dream job.
Most glamorous moment in your career?
They were some of the craziest days I’ve ever worked but I’d have to say the market launches for Virgin America were the most glamorous. I would handle celebrities for the launches and orchestrate the press as we departed LAX to the newest market in which the airline was launching. Working with such a fun brand, meeting Richard Branson and securing press on the airline’s growth were all moments I’ll never forget.
Least glamorous moment in your career?
There have been plenty as it comes with the territory in PR no doubt but even the least glamorous moments have led to good learning moments in my career! If I had to pick one it would probably be an event outdoors in New York one summer in 100 degree weather where we were handling celebrities, models, chefs and a full-scale production for a day of media and consumer activation!
PR can be stressful & full of rejection – how do you deal?
I rely on two things when the going gets tough: working out and utilizing my network to pick the brains of other professionals when I need guidance! I love the network of other consultants, freelancers and #girlbosses I’ve developed in New York and beyond. Everyone is always looking to lift one another up and help where needed. It’s inspiring and comforting to know you always have others there for you who understand the industry stressors.
Three current favorite apps or tools?
I love Texture for the ability to have the full newsstand on my phone at all times, Google Drive for easy access to materials and I couldn’t live without Dropbox!
What do you wish more people understood about your job?
That the hustle never stops. Sometimes it’s hard to turn your mind off from constantly thinking of the next idea, the next pitch, the next client. And when you work for yourself, even if you take a vacation, you’re never truly unplugged. Your business is always on so you must be, too.
What’s the biggest challenge facing fashion/lifestyle communicators right now?
I think breaking through the clutter and having original ideas remains the hardest. With all the channels now that involve “coverage” it can be difficult to break through with an idea that is truly heard in the industry. Something I’m trying to do more of for my clients to help on this front is coming up with strategic partnerships between brands that have similar audiences to truly leverage the power of many vs. the power of one.
What are you excited about right now?
I’m loving the continued growth of the green beauty category and seeing brands like Credo celebrate it and make it more accessible to people.
How do you stay on top of industry trends?
Every morning when I wake up I read my WWD Morning Report. I also follow a lot of brands and editors on Instagram to stay up to date on what competitors to my clients are doing. I believe staying informed is one of the most powerful things a PR pro can do.
I rely on two things when the going gets tough: working out and utilizing my network to pick the brains of other professionals when I need guidance!
What would you tell someone who wants to be like you when you grow up?
Work hard, get as many internships as you can and never underestimate the power of networking! Remember that the thing about careers is that while having the right title is great, your career shouldn’t just be about taking jobs to build your resume. I think it should be more about doing the work that makes you feel fulfilled and alive. The work you will wake up excited to do. It exists out there but sometimes it can be A) hard to identify B) harder to choose. Remember to trust your gut and follow your dreams.