Startup culture and risk-taking run through Meghann York’s veins. She got her first taste of tech when she joined the education management startup DyKnow, after working in healthcare for almost 10 years. Her interesting career path led to iGoDigital, which was acquired by ExactTarget, which was then acquired by Salesforce.
Today, Meghann is a director of product marketing for Salesforce — one of the largest and most influential tech companies in the world. Meghann focuses on the Salesforce Marketing Cloud, largely based in Indianapolis.
“Going through two different acquisitions was probably one of the biggest personal and professional growth opportunities for me,” Meghann said. “From my experience, you can either plant your heels and say ‘this is the way we’ve always done things’ or you can realize there is a lot to learn and become a student of your new organization.
“I opted to take the student path and as a result, I’ve had wonderful opportunities to learn more about my craft in marketing, and even more about building a successful technology business,” She said. “It’s also our responsibility to help infuse that startup energy and spirit into our new home. From my perspective, it’s been the best of both worlds.”
Getting to have the best of both worlds is one of the reasons Meghann chose to stay at Salesforce following the acquisition. She has been able to continue using the “many hats” skills that she loved so much about the startup environment along with a shared philosophy of really listening to customers.
“I think that’s our secret sauce, putting the customer at the center of everything we do,” Meghann said. “It’s true for the best startups and it’s true at Salesforce.”
In her role as a director of product marketing, Meghann is encouraged to think of herself as the Chief Marketing Officer for her product lines. She works on the Salesforce Marketing Cloud’s artificial intelligence, journey management and cross-cloud products, alongside teams of pros she describes as the best in the business.
Her role includes working with with the product team to come up with the messaging, target markets, pricing and packaging. Then she works with the campaigns, sales enablement, events and public relations teams on executing the go-to-market strategy.
“I get to work with super smart people at Salesforce who are very good at their jobs. It’s my job to be the expert in the product and how our customers can use the product to solve their business challenges. I then lean on the expertise of these other teams to drive demand,” Meghann said. “Of course, we product marketers get our hands dirty and crank out a lot of work of our own, too!”
Last year, 2017, was a big year for Meghann. She was named to Direct Marketing News magazine’s “40 Under 40” list celebrating exceptional achievements in marketing, as well as accomplishing some “bucket list” items on her professional development list, like delivering the Salesforce Marketing Cloud keynote address at the World Tour event in Sydney, Australia.
“At one point, I would have told you that stepping out on a stage in front of 1,000 people was completely outside of my comfort zone,” Meghann recalls of her keynote experience. “But that’s one of the great things about working at Salesforce. We have all these opportunities to grow and to push ourselves to overcome fears, advance our careers and become the professionals — actually, become the people we want to become. It’s built into the culture here.”
Culture at Salesforce is centered around the Hawaiian concept of Ohana. In Hawaiian culture, Ohana represents the idea that families — blood-related, adopted, or intentional — are bound together, and that family members are responsible for one another. It’s reflected in the way the company and its employees care for the communities in which they live and work.
Founded with the 1-1-1 model, giving back is part of Salesforce’s DNA. Each employee has seven days of Volunteer Time Off (VTO) every year to give back to causes they care about. Most recently, Meghann has directed those resources to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society for which she co-chaired the “Light the Night” event committee, and Salesforce was the largest total fundraising team in the city. Meghann is also very involved with Junior Achievement’s “BizTown,” a financial literacy laboratory that inspires and prepares youth to succeed, complete with a mini Salesforce Tower and tech jobs role-playing.
As a mother of two children, Meghann has become very skilled at time management, but she’s able to keep her kids as a top priority while continuing to advance her career in a demanding role at a top tech firm.
“I feel so lucky,” Meghann said. “I get to love my life, be the kind of mom I want to be, and I get to love my job because of the culture at Salesforce. Don’t get me wrong, there’s definitely some ruthless prioritization that takes place and some days managing all of my commitments is far from ‘easy’, but I am very grateful to be part of an organization that values me, values who I am and continues to give me ways to grow in my career.”