The Power Thread sat down with Megan Shekleton, the co-founder of MoxxieMade, which she founded in 2018 with her best friend, Lindsey Salas. MoxxieMade is organization focused on creating events that bring together a community of women. Their events encourage women to be bold and powerful by providing mentorship and creating authentic connections.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Tucson, Arizona. I loved growing up in such a beautiful and nature driven place. Now, I love going back home to visit. I find it to be a very grounding place for me. The mountains have this stabilizing effect and the stillness amazes me. I went to the University of Arizona, also in Tucson, where I studied marketing.
What brought you to New York, and what was the most important thing you learned in your first job?
I was drawn to New York from a very young age, and I always knew I wanted to move there. I was fascinated by the living and breathing relationship the city plays in the life of a New Yorker. Right after I graduated from college, I moved to New York to accept a job at a big NYC retailer in a buying and planning program. I was given a lot of responsibility for a first job out of college. My position was very data driven, which I did not really mind, but ultimately, I realized that I needed to be working with people and in a job that was more creative.
Your 20’s are such a definitive time and can feel really overwhelming and intimidating. It’s the first time in your life you don’t have a clear roadmap to fulfillment. Before graduating, you know the keys to success – getting good grades, getting into the right college, etc. But in the real world there are no more stepping stones laid out carefully for you. There is a lot of uncertainty.
This position made me realize that it is extremely important for me to have tangibility to what I am doing day to day and to feel connected to other people. I found this position to be a great starting point for my career because it made me understand that I needed to pivot into a different direction.
What did you do after working in retail?
I was at my first corporate job for little over a year, but I realized early on that retail wasn’t the right fit for me. I decided that I needed to take a break to evaluate what I wanted to do with my life. So, I sublet my apartment and traveled across South America for a few months. That experience was a big risk for me, but I felt very compelled to go and lean into the uncertainty. After I returned, I started working in advertising and I have been working with an advertising firm since.
Why did you start MoxxieMade?
After moving to the city, I found that it was very hard to find like-minded women that really become your NYC family. Also, there are amazing badass women doing bold things in the city, but I didn’t feel like I had accessibility to them or their mentorship. I’m at a time in my life where sisterhood and mentorship are more important than ever given that adulthood, at times, can feel really uncertain and all your decisions have a lot of weight behind them.
My friend Lindsey, who I met while studying abroad in Italy during college, had recently moved to New York, and we commiserated about this yearning for a better female support system.
Like us, 66% of New York women move to the city without a close community, and 21% of women admit that they still don’t have a close network today. Additionally, 88% of New York women don’t have a mentor, but would like one. So, MoxxieMade was created to bring together a community of women to connect, gain holistic mentorship, and encourage one another to go after our big dreams. We decided we wanted to create an intimate and accepting space where we could cultivate true, raw connections with incredible women in New York. We also wanted to ensure that our events were easily accessible, where every woman could have a seat at the table.
What is your favorite MoxxieMade event?
I think my favorite MoxxieMade event was an event we hosted in February about self love and barriers to self-love. We collaborated with LIVELY, a lingerie company with a genuine focus on female empowerment, and had a panel of three incredible women: Ruthie Friedlander of The Chain, Nina Roth of Alma, and Larissa May of Half the Story. During the panel, all three women were very vulnerable and open with our community. Their stories and messages were so touching and the energy in the room was unbelievably palpable. Our conversation covered everything from struggling to love ourselves to our fears of being alone. It is moments like those that stand out to me and remind me what all the hard work is for.
What was the most challenging part of starting MoxxieMade?
On a personal level, a challenge I faced was moving beyond any self-doubts or feelings of imposter syndrome to develop MoxxieMade. But I knew that to create the organization that I envisioned, I had to stand up for what I felt compelled to do and move past any self-limiting thoughts. And in doing so, I discovered a much wider sense of self and self love. Challenges and growth are uncomfortable, which is why they call them growing pains. But, it’s often where we evolve the most. Personally, MoxxieMade has proven to be a wonderful experience and teacher for me.
Time is another challenge for me as I am working a full time job as well. I have had to become very strategic with my time, so that I can navigate both aspects of my career. There is a huge societal pressure put onto women to have a balanced life, but balance is something that never truly exists. While I try to maximize my time, it’s always important to listen to my body and accept what I need in the moment. Sometimes, that extra hour of sleep is more important than getting in a work out. Or other days squeezing in a morning meditation is the best way to love myself.
When do you feel powerful?
I feel most powerful when I am embodying courage, when I am fully showing up and engaging with the world as my most authentic self. Being powerful means that I am pushing past my perceived self limitations and going toward what my heart is drawn to do. For me, when I exemplify my power is those soul-shifting moments where I am fully embracing myself, loving and believing in myself.
What advice would you give to young women trying to navigate life after college?
Follow the breadcrumbs. Trust in and take the next inspired action. Try different things and see what feels the most authentic and aligned. Identify what interests you and explore that route, even if it isn’t what you expected you would do. Having a bad experience with one job will help you figure out what you would rather be doing. Trust that it is all leading somewhere.
Follow @moxxiemade on instagram to find out about upcoming programming in the fall and @ohmyitsmegshek for her journey with @moxxiemade.