Q&A with Meredith Tehan on becoming a Chief Member, growing as a leader, and paving the way for other women in adtech
Meredith Tehan joined Cognitiv as SVP of Sales in November 2021 and within that time has led the sales team through 9 client-facing events, 2 new product launches, and has taken over as co-host of Cognitiv’s podcast, Hidden Layers, successfully continuing to amplify our voice in market.
Recently, Meredith has added another item to her list of achievements, becoming a Chief Member. Chief is the only private membership network focused on connecting and supporting women executive leaders, providing its members with a powerful rolodex of individuals from diverse backgrounds, industries, and organizations. Becoming a member is an incredible honor and accomplishment, and one that is well-deserved here.
I sat down with Meredith to discuss the importance of her recent appointment, her continued success and growth as a leader at Cognitiv, and how she’s paving the way for others:
What sparked your interest to apply to become a member of Chief?
I actually didn’t apply to join, I was nominated by one of our clients which is really cool. They were already a part of the Chief network and contacted me to let me know that they saw value in me as a leader and had nominated me for membership, and then the whole interview process started from there! I had been interested in Chief for a long time because the opportunities provided to its members are incredible and, in my opinion, crucial to female leadership. Memberships like this not only give executives the opportunity to grow, network, and meet mentors but also creates a designated place where women can feel secure and comfortable collaborating. Women are taught by society to not take credit for things, not to speak too loudly, to wait our turn, to prove our worth by overworking ourselves, etc. and Chief is helping more women realize that there’s a different route to the top and how to be better and bolder.
What are you hoping to gain from this membership experience, and also give to other members?
I always want to learn and develop as a leader but a big piece of that comes from getting feedback from your peers and because there aren’t a lot of women leaders in sales, finding opportunities to have those conversations has been hard. So, I’m looking forward to getting exposure with leaders from other industries, gaining different perspectives, and really furthering my own professional growth. Being able to have this core group of people to work on projects with and accomplish things together is really cool. On top of that, I’m really excited to offer myself up as a mentor or for a chance to help people learn and grow. In today’s busy world, it can be hard to find the time and have the opportunity to go out and find someone that I can be a mentor to but with Chief, a designated space for that to happen is provided.
Reminiscing on your time here at Cognitiv, you’ve accomplished a lot in the past 9 months. Reflecting on it all, what are some of the learnings and key takeaways that you have gained and have applied to your leadership skills?
Something I reflect on often and have really prioritized as a leader has been ensuring that everyone is aligned with and understands what our vision and goal is, both as a team and as a company. You can have a clear plan and a strong strategy, but you need a lot of really great people to execute it, and remembering that your team will be crucial to succeeding is imperative. We have an incredible culture here at Cognitiv that truly encourages collaboration and transparency and striving to live up to that culture and our values has definitely made me a better leader.
Our podcast, Hidden Layers, has historically been hosted by CEO Jeremy Fain. What has taking over as co-host felt like for you?
Who doesn’t want to see 150% improvement in metrics?! Those are the numbers we’ve had with these newer episodes which is amazing and has really stuck with me. We’re bringing up relevant topics within and around advertising but also, topics that affect the everyday person, things that need to be elevated and discussed. Yes, we’ve had friends and clients as guests to discuss issues in advertising as a whole but we’re also simultaneously addressing an additional subset of issues and stigmas. I love what we’ve been doing with the podcast and appreciate that we have this platform to host these necessary and real, and sometimes uncomfortable, conversations.
Do you have advice for women looking for leadership opportunities in their professional careers?
It’s so important to have your own council or strong network of people. What you have learned in your own career is applicable and should be shared with those around you regardless of if they’re in your same industry or not. Having a trusted group where you can all come together and share stories, empathize, provide feedback, and give one another direction is going to be tremendous in amplifying your career.
In what ways are you working to help give women a stronger platform?
Very rarely are opportunities given to women in the same way they are given to men, so creating a space that is level and equal is really important to me. As a sales leader, I share all that I can to not only teach but also empower the women on my team. And as a hiring manager, I push for equality across the board, making sure we’re always choosing the best candidate to rise to the occasion.