Trendsetter to Know: Megan Finnerty

Name: Megan Finnerty

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Age: 40

Title: Senior Director, Storytellers Brand Studio and Founder, Storytellers Project

Married/Single: Married

Kids: George, 3 months

City you live in: Downtown Phoenix

A typical day in my life includes…

running with my girlfriends at the Phoenix College Track; a jillion conference calls; designing custom live storytelling events for brands and nonprofits including Diageo, the Grand Canyon Conservancy and Spark Therapeutics; and helping 22 newsrooms execute live storytelling events in their communities; homemade dinner with my husband, Vince, and little George.

I was born…

in Michigan City, Ind.

My favorite thing about Arizona…

that people care more about your ideas and your hustle than where you went to college or who your parents were or how much money is in your bank account.

I’m listening to…

The Smiths, Drake, The Highwomen, The Lemonheads… more Drake.

My family…

is generally funnier than I am, and I’m lucky to have so many reasons to laugh.

If I could have dinner with anyone, it would be…

Bono.

One thing I cannot live without…

my haircuts at Mane Attraction Salon.

When I was younger, I wanted to be…

Jem, and then a journalist.

I’m inspired by…

my mom, Susie Finnerty.

The one person who motivates me is…

my friends and family – I am wildly supported by incredibly talented people who encourage me all the time.

If I could change anything in the world, it would be… 

I’d roll back CO2 levels to pre-industrial levels to mitigate the impact of climate change.

The perfect day would be…

I think it was my wedding day last year. We started with a morning run outside with girlfriends and then hanging with my entire family and several girlfriends while getting ready, and then cocktails just before the ceremony at AZ 88 with my siblings and parents. And then, my husband and I danced to “Apeshit” on stage at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art just before our loved ones walked in – surprised to see us greeting them. My mentor officiated a heartfelt ceremony and then, we went back to AZ88 for dinner and dancing on the patio!

My first job was…

Val’s Pizza and Grinders, making pizza and sandwiches and answering phones when I was 15.

My favorite escape…

the Grand Canyon.

My life…

is focused on using journalism to connect people through their common values so we all feel less lonely… and so reporting continues to flourish across the country.

I’m currently working on…

planning a national event celebrating the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment and perfecting the art of getting a baby to sleep.

Always…

praise in writing and criticize face-to-face.

Never…

send an email you wouldn’t want printed on the front page of the Arizona Republic.

Favorite Quote… Favorite quote: 

Nicole Carroll, editor-in-chief of USA TODAY – “No is the first step on the way to yes.”

Biggest Dream…

hike the Grand Canyon with my siblings and husband. Maybe my kid!

My Pet Peeve(s)…

procrastinating.  

More about Megan…

The Storytellers Project is a nationwide series of live storytelling nights where anyone can share a true, first-person story with their community. Journalists from USA TODAY NETWORK newsrooms produce and host these nights to serve their community and develop empathy within them. We combine journalism and oral storytelling to present a broadly appealing evening of entertainment. Since its founding in 2011, more than 7,000 people have told their stories at hundreds of Storytellers Project events. The series has 100+ nights in 2020 alone, in front of audiences of 75 to 1,100, at venues ranging from the Cape Coral Yacht Club in Florida, to Hoyt Sherman Place in Iowa and The Transept in Ohio. We know that when communities share stories together, we become emotionally and financially more invested in one another.





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