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meagan adele lopez

Director, Sales Planning & Advertising Operations, The New York Times, Paris 

 

And - Theatre actress; author

Be aware of how you're spending your time and what you are drawn to. See how that could turn into the perfect career.

What do you do?

I oversee the digital teams that plan and put advertisements on the NYTimes.com site of the global advertising department for the New York Times in Paris, Hong Kong and London. 

Throughout my time at the New York Times, I've developed training programs to fully onboard the teams in the digital landscape in the programmatic, display, video, social media and mobile world. Moving from a world of print newspapers to online was slower than other industries, and that was a main reason I was hired - to speed up the process of digital transformation within the sales teams. I've onboarded new data partners that tilt towards having more of a focus outside of the USA, and helped ensure we were compliant with the new data privacy laws in Europe which came into effect in May 2018. I listen closely to what our clients need, and work with New York's product teams to develop advertising products that suit them. What works in the US doesn't always work throughout the vast cultural and economic landscape outside of the US so I'm there to be the liaison between New York and the world. But my team does the important work, and I'm mostly there to support them during escalations.

Why did you choose this field?

"We often think we have to have all the answers of what we want to do at a very young age."

I fell into this career. That said, I do strongly believe that each step I made along the way has consciously led to the next step. I was a Theatre and French major at the University of Southern California (now I'm living in Paris and doing theatre on the side).

 

I moved to Bristol from Los Angeles where I was an actress and casting assistant. I decided to blog about my experience living in England as an American and writing my first novel. During this time, Twitter, Facebook and social media really started to take off. I became fascinated with how people would get to my website, and constantly played around with seeing where my traffic would come from.

By the time I moved to Chicago in 2010, I marketed myself as a social media expert since there really weren't any at that time and got hired as a Social Media Director for what became the US' largest tech conference. (side note: the only reason I got that job was because my father emailed a recruiter on LinkedIn asking if she could help find his daughter a job. She thought it was sweet and got me the interview). From that job, I met three people who asked me to start a social media marketing agency with them. Social media marketing turned into social media advertising which led to overall digital advertising and a few companies and cities later, I had a huge position with the New York Times. 

 

Although I can be a technical person, I can't survive without using the other side of my brain. I think oftentimes we feel we should be forced into only being one thing, and, that's bollocks. Someone once actually said to me that he couldn't pigeonhole me and that confused him, so I should really pick who I wanted to be...to help his brain wrap his head around me. Never let anyone tell you that. I thought about what he said for way too long. I never forgot or stopped practicing my true passions. Don't think about it! Just be you! 

What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?

I studied abroad in Paris from 2004-2005, and I've never been more depressed than the summer I left the city. If that young woman knew that she would be coming back a decade later, I don't think she would have been as depressed. And, if she knew that she would be working for the NYTimes and acting in plays on the side in Paris - there's no way she would have believed me.

Why do you love working in STEM?

I don't love working in STEM. I do love working with people. I do love being a mentor to women. I really am curious about data and how that is used online (and sometimes abused). I don't like spreadsheets. I do love learning about new technologies and how it will change lives. 

Best advice for the next generation

The fact that I had an arts background didn't hurt me, but in fact, helped me to see things in other ways.

 

I can't tell you how many times something I thought was utterly useless came in handy down the road - (like having a Theatre and French degree - knowing how to speak in front of big groups of people and in a different language is actually one of the best skills I ever learned).

 

Be aware of how you're spending your time and what you are drawn to and see how that could turn into the perfect job or career for you - don't do it the other way around and try to fit into what you think they want you to be. That's a recipe for unhappiness. Never think that any experience is useless.

Fun facts

I can say all the United States in alphabetical order. I am related to an ex-President of Cuba.  I starred in a really bad horror movie when I was 17.