Meg Young joined the staff team here at The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education late last year as office manager and was swiftly promoted to director of admissions. She works closely with our students to ensure their registration and enrollment process goes as smoothly as possible — something she believes sets them up to succeed throughout our courses and trainings.
Meg attended the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) for two separate degrees. She received her first degree in 2010, which was a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science. Four years later Meg went back to get her Master’s degree in Public Administration (MPA) with a concentration in Nonprofit Management, which she received in 2016.
We recently sat down with Meg for an interview focusing on her path to NCOAE and a variety of other topics we’d thought you — the readers of the NCOAE Blog — would appreciate. Here’s what she had to say:
NCOAE: Where did you grow up and what did the 7-year-old and 11-year-old Meg want to be when they grew up?
Meg: I grew up in Richmond, Virginia. I’m not sure if I was quite 7 years old, but there is written evidence that my first career aspirations were to be a bird, which later morphed (probably around 11 years of age) to be a bird watcher. That’s a job description, right?
NCOAE: Give us a quick and dirty timeline of your professional work progression (up until the time you started working at NCOAE).
Meg: Before I went back to get my Master’s, I worked for many years in the service industry as a barista, server, sub “artist,” restaurant manager, as well as a yoga teacher and surf instructor. During that time, I worked for an entity called Building a Better Wilmington where I helped nonprofits tell their stories through the art of film. I also worked at Wilmington’s Public Radio station, WHQR, in its development office. After graduating with my MPA I worked for a year at Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity, also in the development office. The common thread with all of these organizations is their commitment to service and enhancing their communities (whether that community be local or global). This commitment and common thread has continued into my work here at NCOAE, for which I am very grateful.
NCOAE: Who helped shape your early professional working experience and whose advice, counsel or wisdom remains with you to this day? And what was that advice, counsel or wisdom?
Meg: Leslie Knope (yes, the TV character from Parks & Rec on NBC). Not only is she hilarious, but I always admired her character’s tenacity, commitment, and compassion for others. She never lets anyone hold her back from accomplishing her objectives, and she looks at problems as opportunities rather than deterrents from finding solutions. She works to lift up her community and all who surround her. She doesn’t concern herself with others negativity but keeps focused on what is important. I continue to find these qualities inspirational, and in many ways, they contributed to my decision to go back to study Public Administration. She truly is a “goddess, a glorious female warrior.”
NCOAE: If you had a non-outdoor industry sponsor who would it be and why?
Meg: Some sort of garden supply store would be nice to allow me to have as many houseplants as I desire. I love houseplants (and all plants really) — probably because they allow you to bring the outdoors inside, so you can always be surrounded by nature.
NCOAE: If you had super power strength, what would it be and why?
Meg: To fly. I can’t really say why I choose this over all other super powers, but I think it must go back to my desire to be a bird when I was little.
NCOAE: We understand you have an affinity for whales and even started a side-business that focuses on whales? Tell us about that.
Meg: I love all animals. As a surfer, my connection with the ocean has drawn me to have a distinct appreciation for whales. I find whales to be extremely beautiful and almost magical. They are among the largest living things on this planet, and they improve every ecosystem in which they exist. The side business you speak of is You’re Whalecome, and it was my sister’s idea. When she reached out to my twin brother and I to create a “sibs biz” that celebrated whales through art and design, it was a no-brainer for both of us to say yes. My older sister, Lloyd, has always been drawn to whales ever since she was little. She is an accomplished graphic design artist and has always been heavily involved with her community. So, she decided to start a business that not only focuses on her love of whales, but also contributed to their welfare. You’re Whalecome is a subscription-based business that delivers whale goodness to the comfort of your own home and gives a percentage of all proceeds to whale and ocean conservation groups.
NCOAE: Last questions— and you have the option of picking which one you’d like to answer: A penguin walks through the door wearing a sombrero. What does she say and why is she there? — OR —What would you do in the event of a zombie apocalypse?
Meg: I’ll answer both.
Penguin question: “Where’s the fiesta?” She is lost.
Zombie apocalypse question: I would grab my dogs and boyfriend; we would hop on our boat; and we would bring a fishing rod for food, umbrella for shade, a cooler and two surfboards. It seems like zombies wouldn’t be very good at swimming. To be water-bound seems like the most logical solution — that and possibly consider building a smaller version of Water World?