by Lindsay Odom
MEET THE AUTHOR: Communications Coordinator and Columbia native Lindsay Odom received her degree from Clemson University before joining the Endeavor team in May 2017. In addition to social media responsibilities, Lindsay is interviewing Endeavor members to learn (and share) more about marketing, agency life, entrepreneurship, and what it means to create meaningful work for clients.
Meredith Rigdon gathered a crowd at Endeavor this holiday season when she sported a sequined reindeer sweater at our Christmas Fun Food event. Word quickly got around about it –– before we could begin the interview, several people had to come up to witness the sweater themselves. Meredith is one of those women who knows how to laugh at herself, brings everyone together, and makes everyone in the room feel comfortable.
As if she couldn’t be any more interesting, she told me about her current favorite project –– ghostwriting a book. If you are like me and were wondering what that means, Meredith explained, “ghostwriting means you never get credit for writing a book from the point of view of someone else, which is fine, especially since my ‘public relations’ brain sees it turning into a movie.” What? Tell me more. “I found the job through LinkedIn Pro Finder. You bid on jobs, and if people are interested in your experience, they can call you.”
“I am writing for an immigrant doctor who came to America with nothing, worked through school to get a Visa, and now his son is going through a similar process. It’s a classic story of the American Dream, focusing on the ups and downs of the recruiting process that immigrants and potential doctors have to go through. Once the book is published, I’ll be in charge of all the marketing and public relations.”
Meredith is also employed by her hobby, cycling. Her client, Atlanta Cycling, has four locations in Georgia, one in Tennessee, and three in South Carolina. “I started as a Woman’s Advocate for Trek Bicycle, helping to bring more women into the sport. I didn’t have a plan and I wasn’t an elite athlete, but I applied and interviewed so that I could try to build up business. The man in charge asked me if I could do a few marketing and social media tasks. I happily obliged, and even came up with some more ideas that I pitched to two men from the Atlanta headquarters in the back of the Greenville store –– without a computer or PowerPoint slides. I took over the email program and social media profiles, and ended up replacing a local agency they were paying to do some commercials every now and then. Now I feel like I’m part of the team, and adding to the number of women who work in cycling.”
It wasn’t always easy for Meredith before her ghostwriting and cycling career, so a mentor encouraged her to start in sales and then transition into marketing. Over the next five years, Meredith worked in sales for Merrell and Michelin before crossing over to marketing at Michelin, and was recruited for marketing and PR at Sealed Air Corporation. “I learned to advocate and network for myself. Even though I knew I didn’t want to do sales, I was still calling on independent tire sales companies at Michelin. I also offered to make a marketing plan for them, and I invited myself to Michelin’s marketing meetings to ask if there was anything extra I could do for them,” Meredith explained to me.
As someone who is easily intimidated by rejection, I admired Meredith’s “go-getter” attitude. “I had just started to get involved in the Greenville community, especially through volunteering and biking, when an opportunity fell in my lap,” she said. “One of my cycling friends needed marketing help for an upcoming race. It ended up being the 2016 USA Cycling Professional Criterium Championship hosted in Greenville. I didn’t know what to charge him or what I should do with the money he gave me. I was working remotely, and I was scared that someone was going to find out. Another mentor told me to be open to business, and business will come. He was right. More freelance opportunities were coming in and more people were asking me for help. I matched my salary at Sealed Air, decided to freelance full time, got an LLC online, and $150 later, Narrative Strategic Communications was born.”
Meredith got what she fought for –– a career in marketing, while continuing her passion of cycling. “The doctor I’m ghostwriting for always says, ‘don’t burn the Rolodex!'” she laughed. “I didn’t advocate for myself earlier in life. I have no regrets, but it did take me five years to realize that it’s up to me –– it’s up to you to build the skillset to get the job that you want,” she challenged me. “Accept all of the invitations to coffee and happy hours. It’s exhausting, but it’s worth it.”