Meet Our Host Megan Effertz

Gist: Why did you want to be the host of the Business Gist podcast?

Megan: I see a gap in what business leaders are talking about. The economy is thriving, businesses are growing, profits are up. One of the biggest challenges employers are facing today is finding good talent and keeping them. The ones that get it are working with employees to meet their needs and in exchange they are getting increased productivity and tremendous company loyalty. So why not talk about the real social issues that impact business? Why not help business leaders think about something they probably haven’t stopped to take the time to think about in context of their business. Plus, I’m seeing a lot of people not listening to each other and just shouting their opinions on social media so I wanted to do something to help facilitate conversation. I think we all could spend more time listening.

Gist: What was your favorite part of recording season one of the Business Gist?

Megan: Honestly, I had no idea what I was getting myself into and I ended up learning a ton through the process and meeting some incredible people. I remember thinking in the middle of all of it how uncomfortable I felt and I knew that I was growing personally and professionally. I said to one of my friends, “the more I learn, the dumber I feel”. We explored so many topics I hadn’t been exposed to and I spent time researching the topics and mentally putting myself in other people’s shoes thinking about things like food justice or trying to find a job with a felony on my record. It was eye opening and exhausting all at the same time. I’m really glad we did it and could feel the podcast’s purpose evolving every time we had a new guest on.

Gist: What surprised you the most?

Megan: What surprised me the most was how each of these leaders instantly knew what they wanted to talk about from a social perspective and how so many of the topics tied together. We talked about food, housing, sleep, health, death and money. Literally, everyone can relate to these topics yet we are a business podcast. It was amazing to watch it evolve and that’s how we came up with our tag line - the human side of the bottom line.

Gist: What’s your business background?

Megan: I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was a little girl. I’ve always had a side hustle going. When I was young, my two best friends in my neighborhood and I would constantly be starting businesses. We created a recycling business and would collect cans from our neighborhood to put in the machines that gave you cash back. We also started a babysitting service - they babysat and I did pet sitting. I remember making flyers for us on my Apple IIE and passing them around. I guess marketing was in my blood.

My favorite memory though was setting up a lemonade stand on a hot summer day strategically placed in between five garage sales on one block. My dad took me to the store to buy supplies. He showed me how to calculate the best value on cups, drink mixes and of course cookies for an extra sugar boost. We ran out in the first two hours and had to make another trip to the store. My dad took me again but made me pay for the next batch of supplies from the profits. I was so mad that he was taking my money but he explained to me how business works and that I was investing back into the business. Great lesson. By the end of the day we had netted $300 and that was in the 80’s before lemonade stands were trendy.

I had a series of other hustles throughout high school and college before launching my career officially in marketing. I’ve spent the last 20 years running marketing programs, creating business strategies, leading sales teams and even owning my own marketing agency for a few years. I’ve always consulted on the side because I love working with business owners and helping them reach their goals. Recently, I took over as Executive Editor of Minnesota Business magazine which has expanded my perspective and business knowledge immensely.

Gist: Outside of working with business owners what do you enjoy doing?

Megan: I love the water. I love swimming in the sea, boating on the lake with friends, and competitively sailing on Lake Minnetonka. I try to get outside as much as possible in the summer and my dog Casper makes sure of that. He expects me to take him to the 15-acre dog park by our house for a 2-mile walk everyday and a swim in the river. It’s a great way to start the day. In the winter, I like to hibernate with my husband and catch up on all of the summer block busters we missed while we were playing outside.

Gist: What can we expect for season 2?

Megan: Well the podcast is about listening to other people’s perspectives. I’d love to continue on that path but we will take a pause and gather feedback from the audience and understand their perspectives before we start recording season 2. Although, I can say we already have people excited to start recording the next season so hopefully it comes out sooner than later.

Gist: If listeners have an idea for a topic what should they do?

Megan: We are open to ideas. Shoot us a note at one of the links in the footer of the website or hit us up on social media @thebizgist. We’d love to hear from you.