When Megan Klein joined the team at My City Rides, an innovative transit company, she didn’t know what to expect. The nonprofit was in its infancy, and the concept was the first of its kind in Memphis, allowing people the opportunity to lease-to-own scooters to get to and from work. Although a new concept to Megan, she relied on her 15+ years of experience in communications to jump right in and become a major asset to the growing company.
Now a year later, the Missouri native has found her groove as the Director of Flyer Operations, leading the company’s strategic communications strategy; but her role expands far beyond sending out press releases and launching marketing campaigns. She’s a thought partner in a small team of innovators who are dedicated to providing affordable transportation to residents who may have limited means to get around the city.
Megan’s enthusiasm is contagious as she talks about her enjoyment in balancing a thriving career and family life, all while making an impact in the city she now calls home. Meet our newest FACE of Memphis, Megan Klein!
Congratulations! My City Rides recently celebrated its one-year anniversary in May. You’ve been with the company since its inception. What do you love most about your role as the Director of Flyer Operations?
I absolutely love the adventure of this position. We are all kind of changing the wheels on this vehicle as we are rolling, but it works because the team is very adaptable. Giving the community a flexible, reliable, and affordable transportation option is the part of our mission that is the most inspiring thing about working with My City Rides. And we’re like a mad hatter crew. Everyone is funny, but they’re also willing to take risks and smart enough to figure it out on the back end. It’s nice to be around those types of people.
You have experience working with some long-standing, reputable companies including Archer Malmo and the Boys & Girls Club. What attracted you to My City Rides, a company that was very much in its infancy when you started?
I saw an opportunity to go beyond traditional communications. I could also see that as a new company they needed processes put into place and systems to manage the day-to-day. My role has been to figure out what our story is and our demographic. It’s a ton of research and learning as we go, and we have to adjust processes on the fly a lot. It’s been really interesting, but we have grown as an organization. We crossed 100 scooters on the road at our one-year-anniversary mark in May.
You have tons of experience in communications. How did you get started in the field?
I’m a farm kid and grew up on a gravel road in rural Northeast Missouri in a tiny town. One side of my family had farms for generations, and the other side was in the newspaper business for generations. So, I grew up with both aspects of that.
I went to the University of Missouri, and they had a program called Agricultural Journalism at the time. That’s what my degree is in, and that’s actually how I came to Memphis. When I was a senior, I had a mentor who worked at Archer Malmo. They were looking for a public relations person and asked me to come down and interview. I thought I’d go interview but there’s no way I was moving to Memphis. That wasn’t on my radar. But it turned out to be an awesome opportunity. I moved in January ’07, and my husband followed after we got married that summer.
You also have experience in fundraising. How does this experience help in your current role?
I always say if you have a job in communications, you may as well be prepared to do some fundraising. My first job in fundraising was as the Vice President of Development for the Boys & Girls Club of Memphis.It was at a time when they were having a big anniversary. I learned quickly how to fundraise from an organization that had 36 central board members and had four to five large fundraisers a year. Plus, they were looking to raise a couple million dollars each year. It was a baptism by fire, but they had a really good system in place, and it was a great opportunity.
I had my son when I was there and wanted something with a bit more flexibility. It was tough for our family because of my husband’s schedule (he’s a personal trainer), and sometimes I’d have long evenings with funders or have to attend board meetings.
As a career woman, wife and mom, how important do you think it is to have a work-life balance?
It’s very important. In my current role, I was able to come to my employer and let them know what I needed in order to do my job, but also be the best mom that I can be. At my job, we all know that we work really hard, but we also know that we’re people who have lives and need to be able to balance that as well. It’s been a really refreshing aspect of this workplace.
As a mom of a 5-year-old and 2-year-old, this gives me the opportunity to pop out and go see what’s happening at his karate program at school and not have to take time paid time off for that and still be a part of something that is exciting.
You’re not originally from Memphis but you’ve resided here since 2007. What do you love most about the city?
We’re downtowners, so we love all things downtown. I live my life between the parkway and the river. I love everything that’s happening downtown and the energy behind entrepreneurship, especially women entrepreneurship. I also love all of the development and even the interest in social justice. It feels like it’s a good, authentic energy that’s being driven by natives and people who are moving in because they’re drawn to it. From growing up on a gravel road to living on Main Street Memphis has been a great transition.
What are some of your favorite places in the city?
Being the hustlers that my husband and I are, we have two Airbnb’s, and our recommendation list that we offer is a hit. We love Grecian Gourmet on South Main. The owners do an amazing job, and the atmosphere is fantastic. We live in this triangle of incredible eateries. We love The Green Beetle. They have the best burger in Memphis. I also enjoy the atmosphere and architecture of Catherine and Mary’s and The Gray Canary.
We also go to a lot of sporting events at the FedEx Forum and AutoZone park, but my favorite is the Orpheum. I love the Broadway shows that come to the Orpheum and all of the kids’ programming.
When you look at all you’ve done so far, what accomplishment(s) are you most proud of?
I was reading to my daughter the other day, and I have a picture of Rosie the Riveter on my wall. When we were reading, she turned to the picture and said, “Mommy, that’s you.” And I was like, “Yes! Life goals complete! My daughter thinks I’m Rosie the Riveter.” If my daughter confuses me with Rosie, then I’m good with that. That’s an identity I’m willing to swap.
You seem really excited about your roles, both at My City Rides and as a mother and a wife. Why is that?
Being able to be in a career where I am making a difference for hardworking people while getting to problem solve and challenge my brain and love on my family to the best of my ability — this is the best. I’m at a really good place right now because I get to be authentic and a real asset to the team I’m on at My City
Rides. My job is energy-driving and has a lot of things to challenge me. I’m growing professionally, while still being able to love on my family as much as I can.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received, personally or professionally?
I love the book Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg; and one of the things that she said in the book is, “If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask which seat. Just get on.”
I think sometimes we can caught up in what our title will be. I know I’m guilty of that. Following that advice has led to a lot of freedom and opportunities because I’m not tied to a title.
What are three things that you can’t live without (besides food, family, and faith)?
My girl time! You’ve got to have your tribe. Also, a good manicure and pedicure can just change my life. And podcasts. I love a good podcast.
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