The Millennials: Meaghan Greene, making an impact in business and community.

January 17, 2015

Editor’s Note: Sustaining a community and keeping it vibrant requires diversity on many levels, especially among age groups. An unintended movement the last few years has been the increased number of millennials who have taken a role in community and business leadership in Mason County. A millennial, also known as Generation Y, is defined as a person who was born in the early ‘80s and sooner. This generation grew up in the digital age and often offers a unique and fresh perspective to leadership.

Today, we begin a series on the area’s millennials who are making an impact in our community. From time to time, this series may include some exceptions by featuring a member of Generation X, a person who is currently in their mid-30s to late-40s.

Appropriately enough, this story is written by a millennial, Senior Correspondent Kate Krieger.

Meaghan Greene. Photo by Rob Alway.

Meaghan Greene. Photo by Rob Alway.

LUDINGTON – Graduating from Ludington High School in 2006, Meaghan Greene was on her way to Grand Valley State University with a plan to major in business. But during her second year of her college, her plans changed a little.

The 26-year-old said that she always had a passion for non-profit work and volunteering. When she went to see her college advisor, after telling him where she thought she was going, her advisor told her that she may want to change her direction some.

“I actually started at the business school,” Meaghan said. “Everything I told my advisor leaned toward a degree in public non-profit and health administration.”

A lot of the classes for her business path were required for her degree in non-profit and health administration, so she didn’t really have to extend her college experience more than one extra semester. But that extra semester pushed Meaghan into graduating in December; jobs in Michigan are hard enough to find, especially when you start looking in the winter.

“I loved Grand Rapids and if the right opportunity would have come around, I would have stayed,” she said. “I wanted to come back to Mason County though. I did my internship with the City of Ludington.”

Returning to Mason County during the summers to wait tables, Meaghan had already established some great contacts. Returning full time after graduating from Grand Valley in 2010, she returned to what she knew would help her meet the right people and get that job she always wanted, she went back to waitressing.

Meaghan was approached in June 2011 by Robin Koikas, from Habitat for Humanity of Mason County who told her the organization was looking for some new board members. With Meaghan’s degree and love for non-profit work and volunteering, she jumped on the chance and joined the board and currently serves as the public relations and marketing chair.

“They were looking for different viewpoints,” Meaghan said. “They wanted to bring some younger perspectives, too. I think it’s really good to have different viewpoints in a non-profit.”

Serving on the Habitat board and volunteering at several of its events and projects, Meaghan continued to look for her right fit in the non-profit world, hoping to land a paying gig doing what she was interested in.

Meaghan was still waiting tables when her current employer walked into her life and offered her a part time job, which quickly turned into full time.

“I got my job at Western Land Services because of waiting tables,” she said. “I got exposed to the best networking from waitressing at Jamesport Brewing Company and Lincoln Hills Golf Club.”

Meaghan was hired at Western Land Services in 2012 to work in human resources.

Within a month, she was working full time.  “I have had a lot of different titles. My current position is HR and benefits coordinator. In 2014, they really started redesigning the HR department and we went basically from one person to four.”

Western Land has really given her a lot of opportunities to continue to learn about HR, she said.  The company sends her to places to continue her education on conducting trainings and interviews.

Meaghan was then approached by Ludington Mayor Ryan Cox at the end of 2014 who asked her if she would be interested to serve on the planning commission.

“Ryan knew there were going to be some vacancies coming up,” she said. “I was also hoping with joining the planning commission, I could help with a lot of the downtown events.”

Meaghan had just purchased a home in town. Seeing the opportunities that could come from serving and knowing she could voice a positive opinion in helping to mold the community she loves living in, Meaghan joined in 2015.

“There is a huge learning curve,” she said. “Learning all the ordinances and zoning laws, it’s a lot to take in. The planning commission is really the driving force of what really happens here and joining now is a really fun time because we are working on re-mastering the plan.”

Meaghan said that anyone can be a voice on a board or good volunteer, but having a true passion for helping people and your community become better is what really makes for a great board member or volunteer.

“I want to have an impact on the benefits Ludington has,” she said. “I could have moved away, but I wouldn’t have had made those connections when I drove home every weekend to work here. I love it here and being a part of the change, it’s a big deal.”

 

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