Meg Garlinghouse | The Innovator 25 Asia Pacific 2018
Charting the future of public relations
Innovator 25 NA Meg Garlinghouse

Meg Garlinghouse 

Head of Social Impact     

LinkedIn   
San Francisco Bay Area    

“Hire outside your industry to bring a fresh perspective to your team.”
As head of social impact at LinkedIn, Meg Garlinghouse is responsible for identifying partnerships and programs that leverage the LinkedIn platform “to create positive social impact for the world.” Her perspective, especially now, is refreshing — that service builds critical skills that our country and the world needs. She’s an advocate for employers to more heavily weigh two critical skills among job candidates: grit and agility. These are two attributes may need to be prioritized, perhaps more than ‘agency experience’ or the problematic ‘culture fit’ to truly diversify a workforce.  

In what area(s) does the PR need to innovate the most? 
Diversity  

How would you describe the communications/PR industry's level of innovation compared to other marketing disciplines? 
Lagging the others 

Where is the PR industry's greatest opportunity for taking the lead on innovation? 
Content creation 

Who most influences how innovative a brand's engagement is? 
CEO 

How do you define innovation? 
A new approach to an existing problem that adds material value to the world.

What is the most innovative comms/marketing initiative you've seen in the last 12 months?
I really loved Heineken’s “Worlds Apart” campaign. It was timely, authentic, provocative and raw.

In your opinion, what brands and/or agencies are most innovative around PR and marketing? 
I really admire what Airbnb is doing to position their brand around community and belonging. They have succeeded in making it a lifestyle brand — and the company has been very clear about its values, which its visitors and hosts must adhere to.

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider 'innovative.' 
During 9/11, I had only been at Yahoo! for a few weeks but quickly realized that we could leverage our core asset (which was then, and arguably still is, its frontpage) for good. We put “donate now” buttons on our frontpage and raised $30 million from more than 400,000 people. For many individuals, it was the first time they had made an online donation. This has since cemented my philosophy on how corporations are best positioned to do good in the world — by identifying their unique assets and finding an application for social good.

Who do you admire for his/her approach to innovation?  
I admire Charles Best, Founder and CEO of DonorsChoose.org. He has done an extraordinary job changing social norms around our moral obligation to fund school projects, and he has made this experience compelling, delightful and viral.

How do you get out of a creativity rut? 
Chocolate — and if that doesn’t work, I find someone completely outside both my industry and network, and I spend 30 minutes with them talking about a shared area of passion.

What advice would you give to the PR industry around embracing innovation? 
Hire outside your industry to bring a fresh perspective to your team.

What would you be doing if you weren't doing your current job? 
Teaching high school civics in Montana.

Favorite book/movie/podcast/article that's not related to PR/marketing/business? 
I love listening to “Wow in the World” with my 9-year-old daughter. I’m not sure who learns more — me or her!