This week we sit down with Meredith Blechman, who is the Head of Marketing at ARTA. ARTA delivers innovative technology and fulfillment solutions for global white glove logistics. At ARTA, Meredith oversees all aspects of marketing, PR, and partnerships. She was previously the Director of Marketing at Foursquare, where she managed retention, brand, and content marketing for the location intelligence company’s two consumer apps. Prior to Foursquare, Meredith held marketing director roles at Artspace and Grey New York, and started her career in brand marketing for Bliss, the beauty and spa brand. Meredith holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and a Masters in Art Business from Sotheby’s Institute of Art. She currently resides in Atlanta, GA with her husband and daughter. We are thrilled to share her Frank Talk with you below, enjoy!
What was your first job in the Arts?
Though I have always loved art and minored in Art History in college, I started my career in brand and digital marketing for consumer product companies. It wasn’t until 5 years later that I took my marketing skill set to the art world. I joined Artspace just two years after its launch. They were still early stage and a very small team, so I was somewhat of a jack of all trades, supporting all areas of the business. As the company and team grew, I was able to focus full time on marketing.
What was the most useful or important thing you learned at that job?
In accepting the job at Artspace, I took what some people might consider as a “step back” in my career. I was a Director at a global ad agency running a big team, only to move into a somewhat junior role at a small company. But for me, it wasn’t about pride or ego. I was looking to make a career change at the time. I was exploring both the arts and the tech industry, and I seized an opportunity to get my foot in the door at a company that straddled both. What I learned was that it’s more important to follow your passion and do something that excites you, than to worry about your job title. I learned a lot at Artspace about working at and running a new startup, and that role opened up doors for the jobs that followed. If I hadn’t taken that “step back,” I wouldn’t be where I am today.
Tell us a little more about yourself. When did you realize you wanted to pursue a career in this industry?
My first job out of school was for a CPG beauty company, focused on brand, product, and growth marketing. I loved working in-house where I could live and breathe a brand everyday. Four years in, I was offered a big opportunity at an ad agency and jumped – but after just a year, I was burnt out and exhausted. I took the time to think deeply about what I was interested in, what my passions were, and whether I could turn a passion into a career. I had always loved the arts; my grandparents were art collectors and my mom worked in museums my whole life, so I grew up learning to love art as well. I decided to take the leap and see what my opportunities were in the art world.
What do you do now?
I am Head of Marketing at ARTA, a global white glove logistics platform. I joined the company two years post launch to lead all marketing efforts. I oversee brand strategy and positioning, acquisition, content, partnerships, product marketing and PR. To bring everything full circle, the founder and I worked together at Artspace.
Where are you from?
I grew up in Atlanta, and actually moved back a few years ago after living in New York City for 10 years. I work remotely, but commute to NYC (where ARTA is based) regularly. It’s true what they say: it’s really hard to break up with NYC.
What is the arts community like there?
We have an incredible museum, The High Museum of Art. They do amazing programming and the community is very supportive and engaged. There are also a lot of galleries supporting local artists.
Has where you come from shaped what you do in the arts today?
My family’s love for art definitely led me down this path. If I hadn’t grown up surrounded by art and seen my mom working in the field, I’m not sure if I would have found myself here on my own.
What is the best piece of advice you can give about working in the art world?
I think now is an exciting time, because the art world is ripe for innovation and big ideas. Even the big institutions are becoming receptive to changing long standing processes and programming. So, I would say my advice is to bring new ideas that push the boundaries, and encourage the people around you to think differently as well.
What is something you do every day at work?
I write. A lot. Whether I’m writing blog posts, emails, copy for our website, case studies, press releases or thought leadership pieces for PR, social media captions… I’m always writing something.
What defines a good employee? What defines a good boss?
I’m always looking for proactive employees–ones that aren’t afraid to pitch new ideas, offer solutions to problems, and give honest feedback. For both employees and bosses, being able to give and take constructive criticism in a professional manner is also important. A good boss sets clear goals and objectives, and ensures you have all the tools you need to do your job successfully.
What do you think makes a person hirable?
While having the skills necessary to do a job is important, I also consider cultural fit as well. This is somewhat subjective in the interview process, but teamwork is essential in building a successful company, so ensuring that a new employee can work well with the existing team is key.
What is your advice to making yourself stand out in your workplace?
Find a project to own, and do it incredibly well. Also, consistently request feedback; don’t wait until a formal review, but stay on top of what you are doing well and where you can improve, and act on that knowledge every day.
What are things you can do proactively boost your CV?
Summarize your skill set in 1-2 sentences at the top of your CV. I am also a big advocate for cover letters. Writing a good cover letter takes time and thought; a good one shows that an applicant is interested in working for your company – not just any company. It is obvious when a cover letter is generic; if you include information about the company you are applying for, it shows you have done your research and have gone the extra mile to show you are passionate about that job in particular.
Are there any tips you can give people entering the workforce?
Jobs that give you exposure to many areas in the business are often the best opportunity to learn what you are really good at, and what parts of a business interest you the most. If you take a job with one specific function, you could be more limited in what you can learn and where you can grow.
In your experience, what are things to do and things to avoid during an interview?
I think honesty and transparency are essential during an interview. Don’t say you have experience doing something you do not; rather, describe your related experiences or skill sets that make you confident in being able to do a specific job. Also, if you are looking for something in particular in a new company or role, ask about those things specifically, so you won’t be disappointed down the line.
What is the best exhibition you have seen in the last year?
There’s a Sally Mann exhibition up at the High Museum here in Atlanta right now that is phenomenal. Her work is breathtaking and provocative, and the retrospective is really powerful.