Growing up in Napa, Calif., Emily Meyer’s two brothers had a history of fainting whenever they visited the doctor. But not Emily.

Given her ability to handle blood and needles, her mother suggested she look into a career in healthcare. She ended up choosing nursing because it appealed to her social side.

After completing UCLA’s nursing program, Meyer worked as a labor and delivery nurse at UCLA Health for nearly four years. She enjoyed the job because it combined analytical skills with creativity. At one moment, she would find herself examining someone’s blood pressure, and the next she’d be managing family dynamics during a significant life event.

“From the moment they come in until the moment they leave, you’re there with them helping guide them through the process,” said Meyer.

Interested in learning more about the business side of how hospitals operate, Meyer moved east and earned an MBA at the University of North Carolina. She thought her background in nursing would give her an advantage in the healthcare industry compared to a consultant who had never worked in the trenches.

While at business school, however, Meyer felt pulled toward marketing. She liked that the field required a feel for both science and art—hard data with plenty of humanity.

After a stint at pharmaceutical giant Bayer, Meyer landed a job at snack brand Kind, where she works as a brand manager on the company’s innovation team. Bayer was a good place to work, but high regulation in the pharmaceutical industry meant change took time and products were slow to come to market. Kind can move much quicker. Plus, snacks are fun.

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During her time at Kind, Meyer has helped introduce new snack products to better meet emerging consumer demand, including Chewy Minis and energy bars.

While no longer in a hospital environment, Meyer said her background as a labor and delivery nurse helps her remain calm under pressure in her current role. It’s given her a healthy sense of perspective around what’s urgent, too.

“Even when the stakes are very high, I just know that the best thing is to have a good attitude and remember that no one’s life is on the line,” said Meyer.

Big Mistake

A difficulty she’s dealt with is comparing herself to others, burning up time and energy considering roles and opportunities that don’t make sense for her career path. “You see something on LinkedIn—someone moved jobs, someone got a promotion,” she said, “and you’re just thinking, ‘Should I be doing that?’”

Lesson Learned

Take a step back and remind yourself that everyone has their own background, path, strengths and weaknesses. For Meyer, it’s important to be pragmatic about her own career and learn where she is as opposed to looking ahead to where she isn’t. “I can’t compare myself to someone who’s been doing this for 10 years,” she said.

How She Got the Gig

Staying close to her network, Meyer heard about the job through a former colleague.

Pro Tip

Interests evolve; twists and turns will come. “Your career is a marathon,” Meyer said, “not a sprint.”


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