How I got here: Megan Shroy of Approach finds strength through adversity

Megan Shroy of Approach shares how she maintains a work-life balance.

Megan Shroy, founder and president of Approach, recognized a need in 2010: clients sought PR and communications services without the high costs of big agencies. She pioneered a virtual team model, offering top-tier service without traditional overhead.

Under Shroy’s leadership, Approach gained notable recognition, including being shortlisted for Outstanding Boutique Agency of the Year by PRWeek. Approach specializes in serving clients of all sizes, focusing on building credibility and ensuring brands are not just seen but believed.

Shroy’s pioneering approach to remote team management has positioned her as a leading voice in the industry, earning features in esteemed publications like Forbes and Inc. Her forward-thinking vision for remote work, implemented long before the pandemic, has enabled Approach to create employment opportunities for nearly a hundred women. Shroy is deeply committed to advancing opportunities for women, particularly for working moms.

One way I maintain my work-life balance is:

Three young kids will surely help you prioritize!

But I’m also a master planner. I live and die by my calendar, which I review in detail every Sunday evening. In addition to blocking meetings, I hold time at the end of every day to get through email, which helps me to “shut off” as I transition into the evenings with my family. I also try to avoid scheduling meetings on Wednesdays or Fridays. This allows me time to get work done, which is what I find gets pushed into off hours when you are stuck in back-to-back meetings.

Most importantly though, the Approach business model was designed for flexibility, and that plays out in our culture. We give each other grace to have big jobs and big lives at the same time. Whether it’s taking much-needed time off for travel or leisure, or dealing with family issues, we respect that everyone has valuable lives outside of work. Our core purpose at Approach is “to prove you don’t have to give it all up to have it all.” I believe making work-life balance a value helps my team do our best work (myself included!) and helps us attract and retain top talent.

My professional motto/mantra is:

I may not be the smartest person in the room, but I will not be outworked.

I was raised in a family that very much promoted the ideal that hard work leads to success, and that chasing goals builds character. That intensity plays out in both my professional and personal life. Whether starting a PR agency in my 20s… or taking a biking trip across New Mexico … or helping our clients hit ambitious targets … I get tremendous satisfaction from setting and achieving goals. I’ve learned the way to do this is through hard work, intention, and surrounding myself with people who have skill sets and areas of expertise that complement my own.

The toughest moment in my career was:

The early weeks of COVID stand out as one of the more difficult seasons in my career. There was so much uncertainty, clients didn’t know what to communicate and so many paused communication efforts altogether. We had to get lean, and fast, which challenged me as a leader. In addition to worrying about our clients, I was worried about our business and making sure I could retain employment for our team members. On top of an extremely tough work environment, we were juggling so much outside of the office … from shelter in place to homeschooling to overall anxiety about this unknown illness.

I learned SO MUCH that year – about resilience, empathy, and making tough decisions quickly. From that time, we learned a lot and implemented business practices that continue to not only serve us well but improve the way we service clients. Now that we’re on the other side, I sometimes find myself looking back with fondness. I think overcoming hard seasons will do that to you – you can look back with pride in the journey of surviving.

A book or song that changed the way I think about my career is:

Brené Brown, Daring Greatly. I love everything Brené Brown does, but I think her insights on leadership are incredible. This book challenged my thinking on fear and anxiety and made me realize being vulnerable is at the core of so many of our emotions. I love the idea of being brave enough to let ourselves be seen and having the courage to step into the arena when it comes to leading a company and a team of people.

A lesson I learned the hard way is:  

Leadership takes courage and vulnerability.

For many years I let agonizing over how I would be perceived hold me back from true authenticity. I shied away from opportunities to share my POV or experiences publicly because I thought I was too young to add value, or I needed to appear pulled together. I let the pressure of wanting things to be 100% perfect stand in the way of moving forward. And the crazy part is, that I counsel clients on executive thought leadership!

As a result, I missed opportunities. I’m trying to push myself to share my experiences with others without worrying about second-guessing how I will be perceived. The world is looking for authentic leaders to pass along the knowledge that inspires, encourages and educates. I am striving to get to that place – both for myself and for the clients we work with. 

When I’m feeling overwhelmed at work, I:

Work out! For me, nothing helps with overload quite like a quick shot of endorphins. From running marathons to taking adventure vacations or just the everyday fitness class, I find stress relief in a good sweat. 

Isis Simpson-Mersha is a conference producer/ reporter for Ragan. Follow her on LinkedIn.

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