U.Group’s ability to deliver impactful solutions is all thanks to the work of our incredible team— both in their ability to collaborate with partners like you, but also in the unique talents and experiences each person brings to make the work stronger as whole.
Each month, we like to shine a light on a member of our team—giving them an opportunity to talk about what they do at U.Group, what inspires them, and more. This month, get to know U.Group’s Senior Director of Strategy, Megan Peterman. Megan is an empathetic leader, passionate problem-solver, and has had one heck of a career path. Are you intrigued? Keep reading to learn more.
Describe your role at U.Group.
MP: I use design thinking and human centered design to identify our clients’ core challenges, define a vision of where they want to go, and create a roadmap to get there.
Do you have an outside hobby that influences your professional work? What is it and how does it influence you?
MP: I volunteer as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for children in the Foster Care system. The training I received in trauma-informed care and working with kids who have endured so much trauma so early in life, has made me a more empathetic person. I try to bring that empathy to how I work with my colleagues and teams, but also how I approach my clients and their customers. You never know what others are going through, so I try to assume good intentions.
How did you discover your passion for human-centered design?
MP: I have an MBA and am comfortable with numbers. So, unsurprisingly, I did highly quantitative, traditional strategy work for years. But analyzing performance and doing secondary research always felt like creating only a partial picture to me. When I was first exposed to human-centered design and design thinking about six years ago, it was like “THIS IS WHAT I’VE BEEN LOOKING FOR!!” The act of co-creating with the people you are solving for is so obvious, so elegant, and it so WORKS. Marrying my highly quantitative background with this structured empathic approach has led to better results that actually get implemented.
What music gets you in the zone at work?
MP: I have eclectic music taste. I’m obsessed with Lizzo and Robyn, but I’m also equally likely to be listening to the Avett Brothers, St. Paul and the Broken Bones, Bob Dylan, or Van Morrison.
Before working at U.Group, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?
MP: I was a camp counselor at Camp Winnarainbow, a circus and performing arts sleep-away camp in Northern California. I did Dance and Spanish Web (an aerial circus skill where you preform while dangling from a vertical rope hanging high in the air—not for those afraid of heights!). We slept in teepees. It was glorious. Camp brought incredible lessons about independence and responsibility, and being a counselor taught me so much about having patience and compassion for others.
What is something few people know about you?
MP: I studied abroad for two semesters in college in Costa Rica and Cuba. My Spanish is rusty, but I am always willing to practice!
Where is your favorite place in the world, and why?
MP: Rome—hands down with no hesitation. I love being surrounded by ancient ruins and metropolitan bustle at the same time. And I’m not mad about the food and wine there either.