2 Minutes With ... Megan Fath, Design Chief at Deloitte Digital
As U.S. chief design officer for Deloitte Digital, Megan Fath is an empathetic leader who champions the role of design in solving the complex business challenges. She emboldens clients to launch innovative experiences and put humans at the center of campaigns.
She works alongside many of the world's most creative thinkers and makers to encourage deep collaboration across organization silos (particularly technology platforms, business strategy, marketing and human capital).
We spent two minutes with Megan to learn more about her background, her creative inspirations and recent work she's admired.
Megan, tell us...
Where you grew up, and where you live now.
I fondly say that my parents were gypsies as there is not one answer to where we grew up—a sprinkling of D.C., New Orleans, Flint, MI, and Ohio. The experience of being the new kid and learning to acclimate to regional cultures really shaped my ethos and approach to work. I live in Brooklyn now.
How you first realized you were creative.
In the fifth grade, I lost a poster design contest for the first time. The teachers pulled me aside to tell me that they had to let some of the other kids win every now and then. They also commented that I put too many words in my poster—this was likely an early sign that I’d be headed to a love for graphic design.
A person you idolized creatively early on.
Paula Scher, one of the most influential graphic designers in the world, really stood out in my mind as someone's career and evolution in design that inspired me.
A moment from high school or college that changed your life.
My undergrad design program many moons ago was very similar to the one Chip Kidd wrote about this in his novel Cheese Monkeys. It really tested my resilience and persistence (and conviction that design was the field for me). The numerous critiques really shaped me—how to truly talk about your work in an impactful way and deliver feedback to peers.
A visual artist or band/musician you admire.
Cy Twombly, a painter, sculptor and photographer, his work always draws a deeper breath and pause. It is something about both the feeling of quiet energy and negative space.
A book, movie, TV show or podcast you recently found inspiring.
Your favorite fictional character.
Jo March in Little Women.
Someone or something worth following in social media.
Trevor Noah. I am so curious to see what he does next.
How Covid-19 changed your life, personally or professionally.
This is a big one—I delivered my baby during lockdown (the early and worst wave) here in NYC. So, becoming a mama for the first time and navigating the unknown of the pandemic then has been intricately threaded together. Whenever a new obstacle seems insurmountable, I draw on that memory—it's made me fearless of ambiguity.
One of your favorite creative projects you've ever worked on.
Much of my creative work is in the innovative space so clients are a bit guarded about public attribution. One of my favorite clients is one that I have worked with as he has taken on roles at different companies. He's a fantastic mentor and an amazing advocate for human-centered design, really championing it with his leadership team on his side. Because of his belief and trust, my team and I were able to do bolder programs and approaches. For one of our projects a few years ago, we literally prototyped and tested right there live in a store! The rapid pace and real time creative problem solving with end users is often something that can get lost in programs.
Someone else's work that inspired you years ago.
Not to be redundant to my earlier answer, but Paula Scher's work was such an early influence. Design history often sadly overlooked many earlier women designers. I recall a sense of awe in seeing her posters, record covers and environmental graphics.
Someone else's work you admired lately.
Playlab, an LA-based creative practice. I used to teach with Archie Lee Coates and Jeffrey Franklin at the School of Visual Arts' Design for Social Innovation graduate program, who also run Playlab. Not only are they swell and cool dudes, but they are also really pushing the typical confines of creativity and design. Check them out!
Also, one of my colleagues Tracey Arcabasso Smith just released an incredible documentary, Relative. Our work is already demanding yet she had a story that needed to be out in the world (not to mention she is a mom to two under 3).
Your main strength as a creative person.
I seek ways to insert creativity in new domains and problems. I am part integrator in personality and collaboration is a core of how I work. So, I seek out opportunities to partner up with individuals who might not understand or see themselves as creative and draw it out because everyone is creative in their own way—just executes it differently.
Your biggest weakness.
I have split my time as an adult in Chicago and New York, so I have taken on the impatience of a NYer and the over apologetic nature of a Midwesterner (sorry, Midwesterners, oomph, there I go again).
One thing that always makes you happy.
My toddler's giggle.
One thing that always makes you sad.
Any story of an abandoned dog… especially if set to a Sarah McLachlan soundtrack.
What you'd be doing if you weren't in advertising.
Split answer here: running a flower farm or chairing a design program.