Megan McKenna, the National Mango Board’s director of marketing, might have found her perfect career.
“I love how easy it is to talk about mangoes — not only at a trade show, but also at a social dinner party,” McKenna said.
“I can’t tell you how many times I have taught family, friends, even my yoga instructors how to cut a mango.”
Her passion inspired friends and relatives to nickname her “Mango Megan.”
“It’s a little out of hand,” she said. “I’ll be calling my friends and the (caller identification) says ‘Mango Megan.’”
McKenna didn’t plan to work in the produce industry, but she jumped at the chance six years ago when the mango board needed a marketing specialist. In 2009, she was promoted to marketing manager.
In January, she became director of marketing, with responsibility for consumer, foodservice and retail marketing programs, as well as trade media communications and the board’s website.
Wendy McManus, the board’s retail program manager, was McKenna’s supervisor until last year, when the two swapped roles.
“Because Megan has worked her way up the ladder, she can honestly say that she has handled every task in the marketing department at one time or another,” McManus said.
“I believe this makes her an empathetic leader that inspires her team to work as hard as she does.”
McKenna said she strives to be a servant leader who seeks others’ input and works with them to achieve goals.
“I think this empowers those around you and makes them stronger professionals,” she said.
“Helping others be successful by giving them the right tools only helps to make the organization more sustainable.”
McKenna credits McManus with teaching her about marketing and providing important insight into the produce and retail industries.
“She always took time for my game of 20 questions after an event, regardless of how long the day had been,” McKenna said.
“That is something I try to do with those that now work for me.”
William Watson, executive director of the mango board, said he appreciates McKenna’s creativity and her relaxed, yet methodical, approach to projects.
“She’s cool as a cucumber,” he said.
“She has a Zen-like approach to everything.”
In 2012, for the first time, the board’s marketing program generated more than a billion impressions, McKenna said.
She looks forward to executing this year’s integrated consumer-targeted “Mangover” marketing campaign. It’s the first campaign she’s built with her own vision.
McKenna’s industry leadership extends to her new role as a member of Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit committee.
Last year, she served as president of the International Foodservice Editorial Council, and she remains on the board of directors as immediate past president.
McKenna earned a bachelor’s degree in organizational communication from the University of Central Florida, Orlando. She’s pursuing a graduate certificate in corporate communications at the university.
Before joining the mango board, she worked for two years for the Orange County Regional History Center, Orlando.
Shortly after being promoted to marketing coordinator, her supervisor resigned, leaving McKenna to manage daily marketing activities, as well as the marketing campaign for an exhibit opening.
The experience was invaluable, she said.
“It was truly a moment of sink or swim and it instilled the work ethic I carry to this day,” McKenna said.