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In Conversation: Precision’s Meredith Gringer

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Meredith discusses how she came to Precision, digital strategy overseas, and Chinatown Fridays.

Q: How did you land at Precision?

MG: About two and a half years ago, I was looking for a new job. I had been doing analytics, but I was really interested in broader questions, like ‘How do people think about digital? How do people use digital? How can brands make the most of their digital presence?’ I wanted an opportunity to grow into that.

A good friend of mine told me that his younger brother was working for a company that sounded interesting — he said, ‘You know, they’re the Obama people,’ which, particularly at the time, were sort of like magic words.

I remember talking to Teddy and feeling that he got what I was saying. In a lot of interviews, [other companies] were trying to make you say what you were saying, but while standing on one foot, jumping around, and in French. Teddy took what you said at face value. I really liked him and thought it would be a good way for me to move past analytics and start thinking about larger challenges that companies have and how to use digital to solve their problems.

Q: Can you tell me a little about some career highlights?

MG: We’ve had the opportunity to do a bit of international work. It was an amazing opportunity to go in, learn about another country, learn about how their political system works, understand how their history impacts where they are today, and then get to think about the digital tools that they need.

You really need to think about how people in other places communicate. What are the tools they are using that we don’t use? We did one project in Africa, where mobile is so important, and email is not. The same was true in Asia — we thought a lot about WhatsApp, which is not something we talk about much in the U.S.

I joined Precision because I wanted to have conversations with people about digital and solve these problems. People have brought us some tough problems. We’ve had a lot of legacy brands come to us and [ask] how to use digital to push forward.

I said once that I believe there is no problem we could not solve here. You could get the right combination of brains in a room here and we could figure something out — and figure something out that was pretty cool. That process of being in the room and getting to think through things with people is great. I love that.

Q:What are the primary skills people need in your position and what are some of things you have learned here that you didn’t expect to have to learn?

MG: When I’m interviewing people, the thing that I’m actively looking for is a demonstrated interest in the digital world. I don’t doubt that if you’re a young person and it’s 2016, you use apps and social media. And maybe you use them better than I do, but what I’m really looking for is that interest in ‘Why do these people make the choices they made? Could they make different choices? Would you have made a different choice?’

I always ask, ‘Who is a brand you think is doing good work in digital?’ I ask it every time. If you don’t have an answer to that question organically, and you shouldn’t have to think about it, this isn’t the right field for you.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about working here? Do you have a memory you want to share?

MG: In our first New York office, our office was smack in the middle of Chinatown. That is what led me to create “Chinatown Fridays.” I’d say that is my greatest point of Precision pride: to have created a tradition that has continued every Friday, without exception, since I’ve worked here. It spawned a similar Wednesday lunch in our DC office.

While we don’t always have Chinese food and we’re not in Chinatown anymore in our third location, it’s still important to have one point in the week where everybody gets to check-in and over-eat.

Rapid-fire questions:

Favorite social platform: Instagram.

Favorite tweeter: Can I say @LauraOlin?

Favorite media outlet: Not only do I read Fast Company online daily, but I even get the actual magazine delivered.

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