April 21, 2021
Megan Sousoulas, creative director at VMLY&R Memphis, has been named to the Memphis Business Journal 40 Under 40. She is a bold example of the best and brightest up-and-coming talent within the VMLY&R family.
As an employee of VMLY&R, the agency of record for the United States Navy, Megan serves as creative director, leading a team of designers and writers in bringing the essence of the United States Navy to life via the America’s Navy® brand. In this role, Megan leverages data and consumer insights to inspire the development of thousands of creative pieces of content that authentically connect with target audiences and ensure Navy meets its recruitment mission each year. Megan was instrumental in the creation of Faces of the Fleet®, an award-winning content series which shines a light on not only the myriad career paths available to Sailors in the Navy, but also the people behind those Navy jobs—America’s sons and daughters with the intrinsic motivation, drive and commitment to keep our country safe while becoming the best versions of themselves through Navy service, training and education. In addition to numerous industry awards and nominations, Faces of the Fleet® has truly resonated with its target audience, garnering MILLIONS of views via YouTube and navy.com
In addition to leading the creative direction for all of America’s Navy®, Megan oversees creative brand development and evolution opportunities, collaborating with various teams—strategy, in-person events, social and paid media, production, etc.—to ensure the brand comes to life in relevant ways specific and nuanced to each channel. Most recently, Megan’s professional expertise and personal passion for championing female leadership aligned when she led creative, production, and design teams in filming an upcoming Navy campaign featuring women Sailors shattering barriers and glass ceilings in the military. Though not yet launched to the public, that inspired work has already received positive reviews from both Navy leadership and internal VMLY&R audiences.
Within VMLY&R Megan not only leads creative for Team Navy, but she also works to acquire new business for the company. She has lent her talents to multiple new business pitches for national brands, leveraging her expertise to demonstrate to clients how crucial diversity and human connection are when building connected brands. An example of this is the “901 Reasons” to wear a mask COVID-19 campaign for the city of Memphis. Megan led the creative direction for that moving campaign which featured humorous and poignant reasons for Memphians to keep one another safe during the pandemic by wearing masks. The campaign reflected the unique beauty and diversity of our city while reminding us of the critical importance of looking out for one another as only Memphians can.
In addition to being a trailblazing female leader in her own right, Megan is an active member of [email protected]&R, an employee resource group dedicated to highlighting and nurturing women leaders within our organization. Having started a similar women’s ERG at Y&R, Megan regularly contributes to and leads [email protected]&R’s efforts. In 2020, she co-created the Women’s History Month visual campaign and led initiatives for the Memphis office. She is also active in our global diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, leading group discussions on social justice and dismantling bias and stereotypes in media, marketing and the workplace.
Megan’s success can be attributed to her passion for human connection. Always looking for new and different ways to enable empathy and broaden horizons—particularly within the digital space—Megan can be counted on to inspire boundary-expanding work and leaning into the tenants of inclusive leadership for the betterment of her team and the entire VMLY&R Memphis office.
Megan lives in East Memphis with her husband, Michael, and their two dogs, Sterling and Heidi. She is a committed volunteer for Memphis Merit Academy (MMA), supporting the school’s book drive and other efforts directly impacting its young scholars. She has recorded herself reading for the scholars as part of an innovative approach to online learning during the pandemic and even designed a creative writing exercise for them based on the book Sulwe by Academy Award® winning actress Lupita Nyong’o. When asked about her support of Memphis Merit Academy and the intersection of diversity and culturally relevant education, Megan responded, “Education—specifically READING—is our MOST important tool in making sure our kids grow up to learn about each other and celebrate what makes them special and unique. When those who don’t look like you or aren’t from where you’re from celebrate your culture, share it and embrace it, you don’t feel so insulated by the world.”
Read more about Megan and the other honorees here.