This is the second blog of our VP Spotlight series. Learn about the people behind Genius Avenue who impact not just our products and services, but also our company’s culture and the Tucson community. The values and lessons each VP brings to our team make Genius Avenue what it is today.
VP Spotlight: Megan Wood, VP of Partnerships
What about Tucson is special to you?
The desert, the sunset, and the environment are really special to me. The desert has healing qualities. From a professional and personal perspective, Tucson has a really strong community, culture, and sense of charity. It has a small-town feel, but in a city with a larger population.
How do you know if a partnership is right for Genius Avenue?
Alignment between business needs, both professionally and personally, is extremely important. Also, platform requirements are a huge factor. Once those alignments are created, it’s all about soft skills like collaboration, teamwork, and flexibility.
What are the qualities you look for in potential partners?
Strong partnerships are the foundation of what we have and what we build at Genius Avenue, so identifying them and nurturing them is essential to our growth. I’d say the three most important elements are collaboration, transparency, and urgency. When we have these in alignment, it’s the perfect recipe for success together.
What methods do you follow to ensure the partner is right?
It’s kind of like dating. You trust at the beginning, and then you get to know each other. It’s all reinforced over time.
Tell a story about sharing success with a partner.
Our partner, Vive Benefits, came to us a couple of years ago with a unique problem that required a unique solution. They didn’t know where to turn, but they knew Genius Avenue provides several capabilities. So, we worked with them to create a customized payroll and billing solution for their high-deductible, no-interest loan product. In doing so, we formed a powerful partnership with both Tamara St. Claire and Jen Peebles at Vive Benefits with exponential growth opportunities. As we grow, we’re getting stronger together.
How do you train new sales staff and continue professional development with your team?
Sales training at Genius Avenue is complex. Our platforms are detailed, they’re highly configurable, and they answer various questions for different partners. Training is really a blend of classroom learning, research, and lots of hands-on experiences. Our products and platforms are exciting and interesting, so tempering our desire to learn it all immediately is critical. We grow together by overcoming obstacles and identifying new opportunities as a team. Also, learning about new markets really strengthens our ability to connect with partners in a super meaningful way.
What is your strategy for retaining your staff?
This is important. Creating a fantastic work environment is the cornerstone of building a strong team, and that means different things to different team members. Really understanding individual motivation and drive lays the foundation. Team members are all treated differently from each other because we’re all different people; and setting goals and expectations together as a team enables us to celebrate together. It’s not one person’s victory; it’s the whole team’s victory every time. I also think a work-life balance is important. We really believe in working hard and playing hard.
What leads to successful collaborations between teams, like the sales and marketing teams?
Collaboration is super important to creating an environment where everyone feels valued and where everyone’s work matters. One quality is empathy: Really understanding another team’s needs, their strategy, their goals, and how we can help them. In turn, they’re helping us. It never feels like it’s a different department; it just feels like an extension of our team. And really, at the end of the day, we’re all in it together.
Megan’s career includes several leadership roles in sales, strategic marketing, and business management and operations in the high-tech, manufacturing, and healthcare industries. She enjoys building strong teams who consistently exceed goals.