NPR CMO Meg Goldthwaite on Telling The Stories Of The Storytellers

Headshot of Nadine Dietz

Meg Goldthwaite, CMO of NPR, has had the most intriguing career path.  From earning her degrees in French and Government, to the conference circuit in the Middle East to being a temp that turned into a 15 year stop in telecom to leading the charge to get all of the U.S. to turn their lights off for an hour (including Las Vegas!) to creating a sustainable economy in Haiti to helping women thrive in the Congo to now Washington DC leading marketing for NPR.  Her role, as CMO (aka Chief Storyteller), is to tell the stories of the storytellers of the world from border camps to Wall Street to remote glaciers. Could that be any more exciting?

I’ve traveled a lot, lived in 20+ cities around the world, but I don’t hold a candle to Meg! Not only is she about as colorful in travel experience as they come, but her principles on marketing are second to one – her principles on parenting.  As a mom of three, Meg had to find balance and peace with how she raised her children as she traveled the globe.  Often, she would bring her children with her to share with them the experience from the Congo to the conference room with President George Bush. As Meg told her kids “if I’m going to have to be away from you, I want it to be for something that you can be proud of” and what better way for them to understand than to see for themselves!

When I asked her how she does it all, she humbly referred to her friend, “Yoda”, who gives her guidance and inspiration.  She asked Yoda the same question and the advice is priceless:  “Balance is not something that you’re going to hit on a daily basis and you may not hit it on a weekly basis. That it’s something that you strive for over your lifetime. So don’t beat yourself up because you are not having a balanced day. Look holistically at your life and seek to have balance in the long run.”

When it comes to telling the stories of the world to create a more informed public, Meg says “the secret to being a good storyteller is actually much more in your ears than in your mouth.” I love that.  With the 50th anniversary of NPR coming up in a couple of years, Meg is already looking to the future and what the next 50 years will hold.  And surprisingly, new technology, like smart speakers, will give way to the past bringing “the magic and romance” of audio back to the forefront to bring families and communities together and off their screens.  With the blazing development of Amazon’s AlexaGoogle HomeApple’s Home Pod and others, NPR is positioned to be right there at the dinner table or by the fire sharing the stories from every possible corner of the world.

Tune in to hear more from Meg on her exciting adventures before and now at NPR, along with her valuable career and balance tips along the way.  Hint: “Be Brave”. Nadine Dietz is chief community officer at Adweek and host of the CMO Moves podcast.