Home: Petaluma, CA. Age: Mid-life, without significant crisis. Birthplace: Honolulu, HI. Profession: Learning + Media + Play. Alma mater: University of Wisconsin-Madison; University of Hawaii at Manoa.
Recent recognition: “With a child’s energy, drive, passion, and curiosity, Meagan always brings a fresh, educated, empathetic perspective and joy to any work she does. I am sincerely inspired by her and can say that I have truly learned from the best with Dr. Meagan Rothschild” (from a senior designer I’ve worked with over the last six years). Latest contribution to others: Advising a group of professionals in the wellness space that is working on creating products in support of children’s social emotional development. Draws on my background in teaching mindfulness and meditation practices in conjunction with my knowledge of children and learning. What’s been your big (or biggest leap)? Moving from my lifelong home of Hawaii to Madison, Wisconsin, on the coldest day of the year, in order to obtain my Ph.D. Hobbies: Drawing and painting; meditation, bird watching. Recent travel or adventure: The rocky shores of Lake Tahoe and babbling waters of the Truckee River. Last book read: Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer. Recently viewed and recommended: Old Enough (Netflix). We underestimate what kids can do when given the right supports and environment to thrive.
Personality profile: INFP-A, Enneagram 9w1. Empathetic, curious, just, decisive. How do you define a perfect friendship? Reciprocal caring, fueling one another toward their fullest and most grounded selves. How do you define an ideal business relationship? Mutual benefit, joining of the minds that spurs insight and innovation, aligned on a common set of goals. What is your guilty pleasure? Well-designed office supplies and stationery. What occupation, other than your own, do you most admire? Organizational psychologists. How do you relieve stress? Creating (art, writing, etc.) and the outdoors. What is your go-to workout? Supernatural on the Oculus 2. What ingredient is essential to your perfect vacation? Open air, with very few people.
What was your first paying job? Making architectural scale models (painting tiny people and cars, flocking trees, creating foliage, etc.). What’s prominently featured on your home or office wall? A sign reading, “When you get there, remember where you came from.” What company or organization do you most admire? IDEO. Besides your parents, who has had the greatest influence on your life? Ronald E. Bright, the director of the theater I was with for ten years while growing up. What’s the best advice you received growing up? Take the note! When we would get notes following a show performance, sometimes cast members would argue with the director, attempting to place the blame elsewhere. Everyone else would say together, “Take the note!” Accepting constructive critique is a valuable skill. What’s the best advice you received in your career? When you are at your seat at the table, don’t be afraid to take up that space. You are not there because someone was being nice, but because you are a highly qualified professional. Take up your own space.
Leading with empathy makes a difference in team building, field-specific expertise, and achieving business goals.
What message do you want to send out into the world? Don’t leave play, curiosity or wonder in childhood years. We all still need them as adults. What widely held belief do you reject? That kids are more likely to tell you what you want to hear, while grownups will tell you the truth. In fact, the opposite is true. What mega-trend most excites you? The metaverse, with its potential for creative space, fandom, and frictionless, borderless media engagement. What mega-trend most concerns you? The metaverse, which will magnify what we put into it. It has the potential to be empowering and amazing, but also, to be detrimental to humanity.
What title would you choose for the movie about your life? Unconventional Sacraments. What actor would you choose to play you in the movie about your life? Melissa McCarthy. Who would you like to spend an evening with, in heaven? Fred Rogers. As a kid, what did you first want to be when you grew up? The person in the orange outfit on the field at football games. When he stepped onto the field, the game would stop for a commercial break. I saw that as wielding the ultimate power. What advice would you give your younger self? Find contentment in what is, not in what isn’t.
Favorite quote: “What we do is more important than what we say or what we say we believe” (Bell Hooks). Desired epitaph: She lived in wonder.