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Branding Room Only Interview with Megan Belcher: Multiplying and Making it Happen

Branding Room Only Interview with Megan Belcher: Multiplying and Making it Happen
Megan Belcher is an accomplished business function and law department leader with expertise in compliance, regulation, litigation, and communications. Currently serving as Chief Legal & External Affairs Officer and Corporate Secretary at Scoular, Megan leads Legal, Brand Marketing & Corporate Communications, and sustainability and ESG functions. Before Scoular, she was a partner at Husch Blackwell and Vice President & Chief Counsel – Employment Law and Compliance at Conagra Brands for nine years. Megan is a dedicated leader who brings together diverse teams to make a positive impact on organizations and communities, embodying a “make it happen” approach to all aspects of her life. She is passionate about facilitating pathways for women in the legal profession and serves as a coach to aspiring female leaders.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Why Megan Belcher sees herself as a culture creator
  • Empowering women in the legal profession
  • Teaching your children the tenets of building your brand
  • How to effectively utilize networking to create opportunities
  • How young attorneys can avoid common mistakes
  • The attributes that make Megan a great leader
  • Using Drinks Among Friends as a relationship-building strategy
  • Megan’s pre-development program for women in agriculture
  • What is Megan’s superpower?

In this episode:

Reliability and results are among the most valuable attributes of a personal brand. Being a known figure with proven success enables others to trust you, and investing in yourself by building a personal brand pays untold dividends in the long term. However, simply being dependable and a hard worker is not sufficient. Your branding also plays an integral role in building a strong personal brand. Megan Belcher is an established legal professional, a proven leader, and a mentor for many young attorneys. She has developed her brand centered around reliability and helps younger professionals do the same. Want to know how to establish yourself as a trustworthy professional? Take a cue from Megan’s branding strategy. Paula Edgar invites Megan Belcher, Chief Legal & External Affairs Officer at Scoular, on this episode of Branding Room Only to talk about building personal brands and mentoring others. The two discuss how to be a culture creator by being reliable, making things happen, and building relationships. They also touch on common mistakes that young professionals make and how Megan is helping women in agriculture and the legal space.
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Resources mentioned in this episode

Sponsor for this episode

This episode is brought to you by PGE Consulting Group LLC.

PGE Consulting Group LLC is dedicated to providing a practical hybrid of professional development training and diversity solutions. From speaking to consulting to programming and more, all services and resources are carefully tailored for each partner. Paula Edgar’s distinct expertise helps engage attendees and create lasting change for her clients.

To learn more about Paula and her services, go to www.paulaedgar.com or contact her at [email protected], and follow Paula Edgar and the PGE Consulting Group LLC on LinkedIn.

Paula Edgar: Hi everyone. It’s Paula Edgar, host of Branding Room Only, where we have conversations with influencers and experts about their personal brands, lessons learned, how they built them, things that they shouldn’t do, things that people shouldn’t do. And I’m really excited today because I have Megan Belcher who is here.

And let me tell you a little bit about Megan. Megan is a chief legal and external affairs officer and corporate secretary for Scoular. Megan’s passion and brand is about bringing diverse teams of talented individuals together to solve complex problems or make big things happen. Whether that be in her executive and board role for her nine plus billion dollar company, or for many community roles she inhabits.

Megan is a multi-function corporate executive, board member, culture creator, and community leader who brings her “make it happen” approach to all that she does. A true exemplar of the power of taking a portfolio approach to both work and life. Megan is excited to share with us today the story of how her brand has evolved through the various seasons of her life, and how honing your brand can launch you into dreaming an even bigger dream for yourself.

Megan, welcome.

Megan Belcher: Thank you for having me, Paula. I’m excited to be here.

Paula Edgar: Oh, I’m so happy to see you, and I don’t even know where to start. Okay. Yes, I do. I wanna start with, I have a couple questions that I ask everyone, and I just gave a background of you, but I wanna hear what your elevator pitch is. Tell me what you say to folks about you.

Megan Belcher: Yeah, it’s a great question and I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about it, particularly as I’ve thought about my evolution, not only in my career, but my personal evolution as well. I think like many of us, I have taken a portfolio approach to my life as I know you do too. And I wear a lot of different hats.

And as I thought about my elevator pitch, I wanted it to be applicable whether I was talking about an executive role or a board role, or my passions in the community, or how I think about myself as a mother and culture creator at home. So I really define myself as someone who can wear a variety of hats and who is really at all times focused on building the right teams with inclusive cultures that make really big things happen.

Whoever the stakeholder is. So that could be for Scoular, it could be for Yakima Chief Hops, where I’m a board member. It could be for the nonprofit boards that I serve on, or it could be for my two young children. And that is really about facilitating significant opportunities for all of them and solving the most complex problems when they arise.

Paula Edgar: I love that because, culture creator just sitting with me I’m like, yes, that’s exactly right. And I think about, you and I met through Ms. JD, which is an organization that we both are very passionate about. And I, when I think about your impact in that organization, just in the time that I’ve known you, it is very much where you are emphasizing to all of the women law students or lawyers, how important it is to invest and to be a part of culture creation and culture shifting. And I think that, so that really rings true to me in terms of you being a culture creator and a “make it happen” person. So thank you for sharing that. So we’re talking about personal branding and it’s something that you and I have connected on many times.

And so I wonder how do you define personal brand?

Megan Belcher: For me, and when I talk about personal brand with folks that I’m mentoring or coaching, in its most simplest terms, I tell people it’s what people say about you when you’re not in the room. It’s the body of conversations that occur when you’re not around, but at its core, it’s really the set of feelings and impressions that your stakeholders have about you and on which they make decisions on when and how they will engage you and if they will rely on you, and if so, how much, right? Personal brand at its core is really about the level of trust that people have in you in various forms.

How much they will trust you and at what level they’re going to let you into their trust tree as they think about where they can leverage you in their lives and where they can bring value to your life as well.

Paula Edgar: What an awesome definition. I’m like blown away. I’m like, that is an awesome definition of personal brand.

Woo. I’m sitting with it for a minute because it really is like that oh gosh. That definitely is gonna have to be a snippet that we pull out. We are at three minutes in and you’re like dropping gems already and I knew this was gonna be awesome. Okay, so tell me how you would describe yourself in three words or short phrases.

Megan Belcher: Yes. I’m gonna distill this down to just a very basic phrase that my team, or anyone that knows me or works with me, will hear me say all the time. Make it happen. So my approach to life is endeavor to make it happen in the big and small ways. And that is my expectation for my teams.

I like to hire “make it happen” people who can deliver and deliver it in high integrity ways under the kind of cultural window that we create here at Scoular and in the other communities in which I inhabit.

Paula Edgar: I’m thinking about make it happen as like a mantra and a directive. And like it has so many good actionable ways of being and an expectation. It’s all of those things. So what then, if you have one, is your favorite quote?

Megan Belcher: I think you and I share a deep passion for driving inclusion more universally, but in particular in the practice of law.

And specifically I think you and I both have a passion for lifting up women in the practice of law. That has been a longtime focus for me. And I’ve certainly brought that focus to now serving in a C-suite role and as a board member. And when I was thinking about this question, really my go to quote is that women belong in all places where decisions are being made, which is a Ruth Bader Ginsburg quote.

And I think that that distills so much of my personal investment time and my personal passion. And I think it is still very much an opportunity for us globally and something that I think we can all look to as an inspiration as we look to getting an inclusive and diverse set of perspectives at the table.

Paula Edgar: I mean there’s never a time when Brooklyn’s own RBG is not okay for a quote and for those of you who are not watching on YouTube Megan has a picture of or a painting of…

Megan Belcher: She’s always over my shoulder.

Paula Edgar: Right …and it is an awesome view. So thanks for that. Okay. Speaking of Brooklyn, hype songs, what is your hype song if you have one?

And I’ll explain it. Cause I, I like to tell people the difference. It’s either the song that’s playing when you know you’ve gotta get it done, make it happen. Or if you’re not having the best day and you wanna hype yourself up, what’s your hype song? And it could be more than one.

Megan Belcher: So I would say they definitely evolve over time.

But our current ones, and we really have, you know, there is a household of three of us. And we definitely share a family hype song and one would be La Roux’s Bulletproof. That’s our current hype song. And Lady Gaga’s Born This Way.

Paula Edgar: Yes. Great. I’m gonna create a whole season full of… Sonya gave like 91 songs, but I’m gonna create a full playlist of songs.

Megan Belcher: You need a Spotify list for your podcast of all the hype songs.

Paula Edgar: Hundred Percent what will be happening. So you’ve already started talking about some of the ways in which your brand is impactful, both in the work that you do and the work that you do and the community and on boards, et cetera.

But talk to me about how you believe your brand has evolved and changed over the course of your career, whether be organizationally or through your board work, et cetera.

Megan Belcher: I recently pulled together from Ms. JD a personal brand kind of discussion and workshop that really made me think about the different seasons of my life.

And I would say my personal brand up to this time has had really eight very distinct seasons, based on, really material things that were happening in my career, or very material things that were happening in my personal life, and I like to encourage those who are thinking about their personal brand…that it is in no way static, right? It is an evolutionary animal that you should think about over time. It should always have the flavor of your present season and a look to your aspirational season. And I would say I’ve gotten much more intentional about that as I’ve gotten older and as I’ve thought more about my role as a leader versus an individual contributor. But you know, I really began as the shiny faced big firm lawyer who was interested in being the go-to associate. And that certainly evolved as I moved in-house and then moved to an in-house leadership role, and then thought about my aspiration to become a general counsel and then really expanded that to being a multi-function leader.

And now thinking about this season I’m in as board member, community creator, and I would say I’ve fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, I’ve reached a stage in my life where I’m starting to think about what do I want my legacy to be for my children and the communities about which I care.

And that will be another inflection point for me as I think about that next season about how I want to wind up the last 20 years of my career and think about the legacy that I want to leave for an industry that I care a great deal about, the practice of law. And the newer industry that I care a great deal about, agriculture, and the many communities and stakeholders that I’m passionate about making a better future for.

Paula Edgar: That resonates deeply for me in terms of legacy.

I often talk about my therapy whenever I’m presenting, where it’s like, look, my therapist is like God skipped to everybody because she keeps me in check. But she always says that when you even get to the point of thinking about legacy, you’re already there. You’re already there. You are already, there’s someone to say what is it going to be?

It means you’ve already probably mapped it out to thinking about it before, and I’m always like yeah. I guess so, right? We’ve had impact already. And it’s about what else do you want, if you’re not done yet. And what do you want people to say about your brand when you’re gone.

So you now mentioned your family and your kids a couple of times. And I wonder what you would say to your children about building brand?

Megan Belcher: That’s a great question. It’s something I think that we implicitly talk about all the time. I’m in this new iteration of my life as a parent where I don’t have little little kids anymore. They’re 12 and 14. So they’re emerging into that teenager phase. And I think in what I am experiencing it is probably the phase I’m most investing in, thinking about their brand foundations.

Integrity. Kindness. Empathy. Those things that you want them to have just to be decent human beings. I didn’t say it earlier, but the halfway joking, other half of my “make it happen” go-to motto is don’t be creepy. I think that those are really the two keys to success in life is make it happen and don’t be creepy.

And we spend a lot of time just discussing, and for me, trying to show up as just a good human being who delivers. I would say as I’ve gotten more nuanced in understanding the real complexities of the world and the real inequalities of the world, I’m also trying to deliberately instill in them an understanding of the value of hard work.

But for them to understand and not get caught up in the story that their hard work is going to be responsible for all of their success because they come from a real place of privilege. And I don’t want them to get sucked down into what I think can be a very expansive myth that we have in the United States about hard work getting people all the way there without recognizing the privileges that you also bring with you that others do not have.

And starting to try and have those conversations in a very deliberate way without getting an eye roll from my kids.

Paula Edgar: The eye roll resonates as I have a daughter in college and another one, who’s 11. So the eye roll definitely resonates. But when I think the reason I ask the question is because I thought about legacy and inherently your children are a part of your legacy and really thinking about what you want them to take away.

And I loved your answer and the just be a good person as opposed to thinking, you have to do this. You have to be this at the baseline is you have to be a good person and figure out the other pieces later is fantastic. So you’ve spoken about parenting, leadership in terms of the work process, but talk to me about how leadership and volunteerism has helped you with building your brand.

Megan Belcher: I hadn’t really thought about it so deliberately until we were at Ms. JD this past year. Juliette Pryor did a phenomenal fireside chat. And I had definitively recognized that at my core, the reason, I went into the practice of law, the reason that I still love a component of me being a lawyer and that I am so deeply in love with the profession is that I love helping. I love helping solve a problem.

I love helping create an opportunity. I love opening doors for people. And I think an inadvertent outcome of that was that a big part of making my brand more visible and building relationships around my brand has really been about that helping. Probably unintentionally so, and Juliette gave this phenomenal brief snippet when asked for some advice really talking about how she has approached her career with an open hand. How can I bring to you the power that I am currently exercising or that I currently have in this season of my life, how can I extend that to you?

Because I think too oftentimes I have conversations and there’s a perception that opportunity is this very finite resource and I really approach it from a place where I truly believe there’s an abundance for everyone. And I love a multiplier more than anything in my life. If I can be doing three things at the same time, that is a real love language for me.

And I think finding opportunities to be a multiplier and multiplying that opportunity has inadvertently become a real pillar of my brand and also been very powerful for my brand.

Paula Edgar: That is fantastic and I’m so happy you reminded me about that conversation.

Megan Belcher: It was a real light bulb, like goosebump moment, I mean, Juliette is… she’s such a magical unicorn anyway, and then there were just so many moments that it clearly demonstrated why she is who she is and where she is.

Paula Edgar: A hundred percent. It resonated through the room when she talked about that because so often, particularly when people are talking about networking, relationship building, their fear is that it’s transactional.

Megan Belcher: Yes.

Paula Edgar: And she very much spoke about, if you’re in this, this trajectory of giving, then things just come back to you even if it’s not your intention… I love that was a mic drop moment and I’m glad that you elevated it again so that the audience can hear it cause it’s so true.

It is absolutely true. You think that you bring yourself to the table as a volunteer board member or just volunteering for programming, et cetera, and it’s taking from your time, I always say whenever I do something, I do it because I care. If I’m not getting paid, it’s because I care. … Because time is the resource that we can’t get back and that is a love language to be able to say, I am standing here with you giving you my time. It’s more than if I was getting paid, and I love that. And we’ve talked I mentioned it was Ms. JD a couple of times, but we should specifically mention the program that we’re talking about, right?

Which we see each other, which Juliette spoke, et cetera which is LaddHer Up. And so do you wanna give a little pitch about what LaddHer Up is?

Megan Belcher: Absolutely. Ms. JD as a nonprofit is really focused on supporting women law students and early stage lawyers in their practice, women lawyers in their practice.

And they have created a phenomenal learning event that they host each September, typically in California. Danielle Allison, who is the CEO of Ms. JD is really at the center of that. And then the legendary Michelle Banks and then myself co-chair that event. And it brings together… this year we will have probably a little over 60 women general counsel who will spend three days with a hundred law firm associates who are in the first era of their practice. We have the privilege of having built, I think in talking about very strong brands, LaddHer Up has built a very strong brand. We’ve had record early signups this year. There are just about 30 spots left for the associates.

So we have 70 registered already and there are 30 spots left. So if you are a woman in a law firm in your first five years of practice make sure to check out Ms. JD’s website and LaddHer Up and go ask your firm to make an investment in you because it is a relationship building, coaching, development, educational experience, unlike anything that I have ever seen in my 20 years of practice.

And I probably wouldn’t have known it at the time because I was young and unintentional, if I had that opportunity in my first five years of practice, it can be a real game changer. The women who are there are very powerful. They’re very invested, and they are interested in making a difference for women at law firms, and they know how to do that.

They know it is about power, influence, revenue, business building, rainmaking, they understand those nuances and are very interested in making that investment in the women who attend.

Paula Edgar: It is a powerful career shifting, psyche shifting experience. And I say that as one of the speakers as well. So in the same way, hands open and out to the world we are supposed to be their imbuing information into the participants, but they, similarly, it’s a very much symbiotic experience and I’m really happy that I’ve had the opportunity to be in involved and I love it. And that was a great pitch for it and we will make sure we put the links and everything in the show notes.

Megan Belcher: Thank you for your support, Paula. You literally blow the doors off every year. Thank you for always being just a world class huge lift and keynote each year and the feedback we get about what you bring to the table is always it could not be better. It really is just so amazing.

Paula Edgar: Megan… and then I started crying in my podcast y’all. Very much appreciated and thank you. All right, so talk to me, speaking about – this is a great pivot – about seeing young attorneys coming through the pipeline and being invested. Tell me what kind of mistakes have you seen people make when they have been networking or building their brands that we can learn from?

Megan Belcher: I’m gonna pick up a theme that we’ve been batting around a bit, which is this like transactional piece and I do a lot of informal coaching and mentoring with women who are building their careers in law. And I hear a lot of conversations about, asking me the question, well I don’t wanna just call and invite them to lunch cause they’re gonna think I’m gonna pitch them for business or I’ve been out with them four times, we’ve done four things and no business has come of that.

So should I just stop investing? And I will harken to your prior podcast guest, Sonya Som, I attended a kind of a brand and relationship building event that she hosted many years ago, and she gave just like very clear advice that you cannot go into the world approaching it, what’s this quid pro quo that we’re going to do? And you need to go into those conversations and those relationships saying, not, what can you give me? How can I help you? Because we all carry resources with us. We might not have taken the time and been design oriented enough to think what are the resources that I have that they might want and that I can offer to them.

But being deliberate about that is just tremendously, tremendously important. I also think, and this is going to maybe sound a little harsh, and I don’t mean for it to, but it’s something that I probably failed to realize before I went in-house. For law firm lawyers, I think there is a perception that someone brings something very unique and special to the table with their technical skillset.

And that they’re very good lawyers and I want early stage lawyers and even like young partners or partners who are aging into their practice in new ways to understand there are thousands of good lawyers. I’ll give an example. I’ll give labor and employment lawyers that I love, right?

All of whom are great. I am going to pick the ones that I think bring something extra to the table, who can get in, get into my space and be deeply empathetic with what I’m navigating, not only as a lawyer, but as an executive, as a corporate leader, understanding empathetically what my company is going through.

So if you think you are going to make the business case for why you should be a destination for work solely based on being a phenomenal technical lawyer, you are missing out on most of the picture. So think about what the niceties are that you also bring to the table, and the deep empathy that you can bring to the table for your client or potential client and I think that you will find that to be pretty transformative.

Paula Edgar: A hundred percent. I always say it’s not just the what you do, it’s the how you do it, that is transformative, that sticks with people because to your point, we have so many people who, we all know, particularly in legal profession, who have the same resume essentially.

It’s the other thing that they do, how they impact the world that makes them special and magical, not the rule of perpetuity. Tell me… something that’s telling me that I need to ask you about this. Tell me about what you think your, the people who work for you, would say about you as a leader in your brand, other than the, make it happen. What would they say about you that makes you what I think is a fantastic leader?

Megan Belcher: I think they all… I’m very transparent and really come from a deep place of inquiry to understand what are their lives in a 360 degree, right? Because I don’t think anybody comes to their career in this vacuum, I’m a career person from eight to five.

I’m a single parent. I’m managing aging parents. We all wear these hats that are all about resource allocation. So I think they would say that I am genuinely curious in a thoughtful way – so I don’t want to extend in anyone’s boundaries – about their life from a 360 degree perspective, and I’m genuinely humanly empathetically interested in helping them achieve whatever the dream is that they have for whatever the season is that they’re in. So that could be a career dream. It could be navigating kids through a complex time. It could be navigating their partner through a complex time. It could be a season of self-care.

I’m genuinely interested in understanding and trying to gather data and emotion that I think will help me understand and then being a multiplier for them, leveraging my network, my influence in the organization to try and help them achieve against whatever that dream is.

Paula Edgar: I love it. I knew I was supposed to ask you that.

Megan Belcher: I wanna be transparent. I didn’t invent that. I am very much a product of people in my life, in my career that have done the same, which has been a tremendous privilege that I’ve had, which candidly has been an incredible advantage that’s gotten me to where I am. So I’m interested in paying that back.

Paula Edgar: Which brings up something that I know that you are, invested in as well, which is mentoring and sponsoring.

So I’m glad you brought up the sort of pipeline of who invested in you to get you to the space where you can invest in others. Is there anything that you reflect on when you think about mentoring and being a mentor? How you would recommend that folks be open enough to I think not be… what am I trying to say? Not be so… I’m drawing, but y’all can’t see it if you’re listening. Not so be in the box when it comes to opportunity or even where the direction of their career is going to go. Is there anything that you wanna reflect on in terms of what you’ve learned as being mentored or what you imbue amongst your mentees about that.

Megan Belcher: I would probably, if I look at those who have the opportunity to mentor or sponsor, I think sometimes as I encourage those in power or those with influence to mentor or sponsor, sometimes I get this reaction like, when you put a coat on a dog, they like freeze up. And I think there’s this perception, it has to be this like multi-tiered thing with all this infrastructure.

And mostly it’s about a conversation and really transparent feedback. There’s no more powerful tool you can get in your career than really good feedback, right? Sometimes it will drive you to drink, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less powerful, right? So I just wanna maybe encourage those out there who are bringing their skills and their power and their influence to the table for others.

Don’t overcomplicate. You can start with a coffee, start with a lunch. Just start, right? And you’ll, I guarantee you, you’ll find your way if you can open your mind and get into that other person’s space and be empathetic with where they are. For the mentees and the sponsees, on the other side of that coin, be open to the feedback.

Be clear that you’re open to the feedback, and then get action oriented. And my advice to you is also it does not have to be that complicated. If you commit to having, going and having a relationship building lunch every other month, by the end of the year, I guarantee you those six new relationships will have brought you something probably pretty transformative.

So the safest investment you’re ever going to make is one in yourself and in my experience, if you look at any major turning point in my career, it was largely due to a transformative sponsor – someone who took my brand and made some trust decisions based on that, because a sponsor sponsee relationship is about delivering as much to the other as it is vice versa – and took a bet on me based on that brand and gave me an opportunity that really changed the trajectory of my career at each point. I can clearly say I am the product of influential sponsorship in so many different ways. Including, male allyship, which at this stage in my life is probably the most powerful career advantage I’ve had.

Paula Edgar: Somebody said to me recently… I’m still sitting with this as an analogy, but that a sponsor sponsee relationship is like a kangaroo and the sponsee is in the pouch…[laughter]..but they’re always together, whereas a mentor mentee is handholding.

Megan Belcher: Yeah. I would agree with that. I would agree with that.

Paula Edgar: It’s just the visual for me. I was like, okay. Alright, so you said that, sometimes getting feedback will drive you to drink. Talk to me about what brought you to start to convene women with Drinks Among Friends.

Megan Belcher: Yeah, I was at a really interesting place in my career. I had gotten my first really big in-house job at a very large company. I had had the opportunity to go through just a very high end executive coaching program. I’d had the opportunity to go through a program that doesn’t exist anymore but a group of us went through, called Project 5/165 that was focused on developing women general counsel, that was amazing. I live in Omaha, Nebraska, which is not a legal industry power structure that is ranked with women, people of color, in the power positions. And I had long wanted to become part of the power structure, and be influential in the Omaha legal community, but didn’t really wanna do the things that that would take under the current structure.

It was gonna require me to I think flex into things that were not authentic for me. And I was very interested in changing what the power structure was in my local legal community while bringing these very expensive things that I had gotten to the table for everyone. So in really a multiplier win, my very favorite thing, I brought women together in the Omaha legal community and crowdsourced our resources. I’ve called it Stone Soup for women lawyers. We brought all our resources together really for the common good, and we started getting together around development opportunities. We would bring in speakers, we would offer lots of different opportunities with national resources and really just brought all that together to offer them the opportunity to grow and learn. And as part of that, I not only I think had influence over what the power structure looked like, I also created a different power structure that I was interested in operating in.

And I told this story yesterday. I would encourage those who are listening, and particularly I think women in law where we still face many infrastructure complexities to say, don’t just limit yourself to the power structure that’s in place when you’re getting design oriented about how you can find your authentic path to leadership. Maybe the solution is inventing a new power structure in which you are in charge, and you’re going to build your own culture around that, that has influence because you understand the business and you can find a new way to do that.

Paula Edgar: I love it. I love it. If you don’t see it, build it. Yes. Yes. The part of your brand should always be innovation, right?

It should always be learn from what you’ve seen before. Figure out where you bring your magic to the table and create something new and keep iterating…

Megan Belcher: Build some prototypes.

Paula Edgar: Yes, that is… see how they go. Awesome. I’m glad you shared that with folks. Tell ’em to do it. All right. What do you do for fun?

Megan Belcher: I have two kids and we love to travel. We travel every chance we get. During the pandemic, we bought an RV. So we are RV people now which is probably not something most people would expect of me. We volunteer. We have a dog we love and we spend a lot of time outdoors with our dog.

But, we have a pretty standard… I am a big believer no matter where you live, like your life is your life no matter what. You’re still getting to the dry cleaner and doing things like that. We try and spend as much time together as a family unit as we can.

And getting as much out of our time together by getting away, traveling, experiencing new things, and then when we can, giving back to our communities that we care about.

Paula Edgar: That is awesome. And the reason why I incorporated this as a question is because sometimes people think that building your brand and your personal brand is only about the things that you like do, right?

As opposed to it’s being who you are and the things that you do. And it’s important to know that I think a big part of you are and everyone’s brand is also how they decompress, right? When you think about self-care and you think about the things that fill your cup, that’s an important part of you being able to show up in all the other spaces as well… But I am a little bit shocked about you being an RV person. I can’t like, not say…

Megan Belcher: I know. And now I own two. We love it so much we own two RVs.

Paula Edgar: Oh, see, now you got like an RV like troop of RVs.

Megan Belcher: My true passion is planning RV trips for other people. It’s my favorite thing.

Paula Edgar: Really?

Megan Belcher: Yeah.

Paula Edgar: Tell me someplace that you’ve gone that was transformative for you in your RV.

Megan Belcher: Yellowstone. Oh, yes. I never thought I was gonna be a National Parks person, and it turns out they’re amazing. I so desperately wanna be a spokesperson for the National Parks now.

Paula Edgar: We will send this to them.

You have your own pitch person right here. Yeah. Even seeing pictures, I can imagine that being awe inspiring. When you look at nature and what it is it takes your breath away and doing it on the ground obviously is awesome. So you spoke about how you used Drinks Among Friends to bring PD opportunities to folks.

And I really think that, we talked about Ms. JD and LaddHer Up and the importance of professional development and convening communities. And you have launched a free development program for women in agriculture. So can you tell a little bit about that.

Megan Belcher: Absolutely. We’ve really been on a journey.

I joined Scoular in 2017. I, as you know, have a deep passion for raising up women, no matter the venue, and am very interested and have been very interested in raising up the women of Scoular. So, started our very first ERG, Scoular Women Influencing Culture. We launched our first women’s executive leadership development program here, our Leadership Development Academy.

And as I was navigating both SWIC and the LDA and kind of all the phenomenal women there I really applied the lens for the first time, honestly, this is a story about how sad it’s taken me, how long it’s taking me to apply this lesson. I just thought this should be accessible to all women who are looking to rise in agribusiness.

Agribusiness like the legal industry is an opportunity where we still have a big gap for women in leadership and we have a real opportunity to create accessible opportunities. On March 31st, we announced the launch of Perennial, which is going to be a free half day virtual development program for any woman in agribusiness.

We’re going to have some truly world class exceptional leaders from the agribusiness world and from many other venues come to the table donating their time. And I’m just incredibly excited about women in agribusiness coming together and Scoular bringing its time, talent, and resources to the table to lift up all women in ag.

Paula Edgar: That’s awesome. And that’s available to anybody, anywhere or just in the Omaha area?

Megan Belcher: Anywhere. Anywhere in the world. We’re running it virtually we’re running it in the morning time to try and accommodate Asia colleagues. We’ll be grappling with some time zone issues, but we’re going to endeavor to get the most expansive schedule to be as inclusive as possible, and, I can tell you I think it’s an unprecedented opportunity I think for women in our industry.

And the women at Scoular are tremendously excited about supporting it and supporting their colleagues at other companies, other organizations, producers, farmers the full gamut.

Paula Edgar: What a fantastic opportunity and speaking of being a multiplier, like literally that is gonna have a multiplying impact and so I’m excited about that. And again, we will share that resource as well, and hopefully be able to break the internet with all of the agribusiness women who show up.

Megan Belcher: Thanks for asking about it.

Paula Edgar: No, of course. I was glad that you brought it up because I recently did a presentation for another company that is in the same area, and I learned so much and I was just like, oh, it takes a lot to feed people. It takes a lot of things.

Megan Belcher: And it’s important.

Paula Edgar: And it’s important and I know that things happen for a reason and I’m glad that my interest was peaked even more because I had a recent experience in that area. Everyone who comes on Branding Room Only has to answer two questions.

And the first is this. It’s your Stand By Your Brand moment, which is what is the authentic aspect of your personal brand that you’ll never compromise on?

Megan Belcher: I think a couple of things. I think integrity, so I am probably, if you asked anyone about me, I am not a wall to wall pragmatist. There are a lot of integrity non-negotiables with me.

So my integrity is not something I will ever compromise on. I accept that that brings limitations to my world, but I’m wildly comfortable with those limitations. And I’m not interested on compromising on inclusion and advocacy. I am always looking to get more understanding, continue my journey. Try and at all times recognize the biases that I bring to the table and that others bring to the table and endeavor to continue to build and evolve my teams to bring an inclusive perspective to the table for all my functions, not just the legal function or the corporate communications function or the sustainability function, just inclusive perspectives.

And just continue to try and make our culture better day over day.

Paula Edgar: Love it. I love it. I love it. I love it. Okay, so the second piece is your Branding Room Only moment. What is your magic, skill, experience? Anything that you think would bring folks to convene in a room to hear you talk about it or do it?

Megan Belcher: I’m gonna say two things and I think they definitely will puzzle piece together. I think I would put myself top tier among those in the world that can absolutely immaculately handle the worst of dumpster fires. Magnificent crisis management is my true passion and my true superpower.

And I think the other half of that is, especially as I’ve aged, I’ve really, I’ve always been, I think, authentic and as I’ve aged, I’ve really flexed into my authenticity, which I think builds you trust very quickly in those crisis management situations. But I think especially for women on the rise, there can often be this misnomer, it’s this very hygienic, orderly rise to power and it’s very messy and it’s a lot of sausage making and it’s a lot of complexities. And it’s very hard and I’m always willing to tell you about some boiling crock pot that I have in a closet somewhere that I’m navigating. And I think that’s sometimes hard to get. I think when you’re in those public settings and when people are storytelling, it can seem very candy coated. And I’m not super candy coated.

Paula Edgar: Vulnerability and authenticity without the candy coating – that rings true. That rings absolutely true. So as we close, tell the audience how they can stay connected with you and Scoular and stay informed about what you are doing and what your organization’s doing.

Megan Belcher: The best way to stay up with what I’m doing is probably LinkedIn. I’m a very passionate LinkedIn user and it’s how I stay up with my favorite influencers and leaders. Same for Scoular, you can follow us on LinkedIn. If you’re interested in the news that’s happening at Scoular, you can always follow our newsfeed on our website, which is scoular.com, and that’s also where you can find our news release for Perennial and sign up for our email list to stay in touch with our conference that’s happening in September.

Paula Edgar: Fantastic. Well, like you promised, Megan, you made it happen and I appreciate you.

Megan Belcher: You as well, Paula.

Paula Edgar: This has been great and I’m gonna already ask you to come on again because we have much more things that we can talk about. So thank you for being a guest and for everybody listening, don’t forget to tell a friend.

Rate the podcast and let’s keep standing by our brands. Bye y’all.