Megan McFadden

Senior Research Director

I may live in my head, but I am fascinated by venturing into yours. I'm happy to sit at home and play video games all day, and yet I'm always itching to get outside somewhere with music and crowds of people to talk to and learn from. Never lived anywhere else but Los Angeles, but constantly going on long car adventures to nowhere in particular—an excuse to shift gears, literally and figuratively. Endlessly optimistic and curious about the world, I am obsessed with all the little sparkling details woven into the fabric of our daily lives. Nuances make the world go 'round.

What's your favorite type of research project to work on?

I like new product development and optimization. It's fun to have a bunch of people come in and check out a product or a new design they've never seen before, then watch as they pick it apart, using it in real time. Similarly, ethnographies, where you go into a person's house and see how they use a product are super interesting. That's the most fun—seeing people fiddle around with things and, oftentimes, mess them up in their actual home. Then you get to report back on the gaps and opportunities and guide your clients towards helping people.

If you weren't working in research, what else would you be doing?

I was a psych major in college and sort of going in the direction of becoming a therapist. I sincerely enjoy the idea of helping people. I like talking to and listening to them, seeing what makes them tick. We encounter so many different people daily, and oftentimes, those interactions are short and somewhat traffic or someone cutting in front of you at the store. We so often get to a point where we end up missing the fundamental humanity in others. But talking to them and being able to understand their deeper concerns is what helps you tie everyone back together again. I find it so essential to have that reminder.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and how would you use it?

I think everyone has some good in them. But the reason why there is so much conflict in the world today, and even people who completely dedicate themselves to being opposed to those different from them, is that they fundamentally don't understand the groundwork underlying the other side's perspective. On top of this, everyone is constantly being misrepresented, even though deep down our core needs and motivations are all the same. So, if I were to have a superpower, it would be to be able to help different people empathize better with each other—see each other's perspectives, where they're coming from, they deeper reasons for why they feel a certain way. I think that would make a huge difference in the world.

What inspires you?

People doing positive things and affecting others without concern for selfish gain. People being good to each other for no reason. Like being out and about and having a positive conversation with a stranger—there's no expectation that comes from that interaction, and you're never going to see them again, but it's just niceness for niceness's sake. It's back to that idea of seeing the fundamental humanity in everyone. We're bombarded with negative news all the time, and that can make it hard to even just get through a day sometimes. It's so overwhelming. But it's the purity of those little interactions that's inspiring to me. It's kind of all you have left in the swirl of confusion of daily life.

Why is being people-first important to you?

Being people first isn't just important—it's essential. What is the point of modern society, and by extension, the systems and businesses that keep it afloat, if not to meet the needs of its people? Understanding human experiences is key to remaining in tune with the constantly evolving world around us, so it is our responsibility to keep up, keep innovating, and keep listening.

What's one quality you admire in someone else and wish you had more of?

My boyfriend is the type of person who doesn't just do things a certain way just because that's how it's always been done or that's how it's supposed to be done. He's very much a thinker—very intelligent—and the kind of personality where he wants to figure things out for himself. He encourages me to think about all the processes in my life and how I can make them more efficient or better, instead of just doing things the way someone told me to do them. I've learned how to do that to some degree, but it also requires you to have a heightened amount of confidence to reevaluate all the things you've taken for granted your entire life. He has that, I'm still working on it, but getting there!

Tell me one thing you love about working at Bovitz.

Oh, I love working at Bovitz. The people here are just great. Everyone is very nice and friendly and collaborative. I feel like my ideas are listened to, and I don't feel uncomfortable sharing them. Everything is a collaborative effort. I don't ever feel like I'm just stuck with something I can't figure out; I can always ask someone else what they think and they'll give me a nudge that I can run with. I can't say enough good things about Bovitz.

Tell me about one of your colleagues.

I am incredibly impressed by Emmeline. She is so organized and so efficient and so thoughtful. She has very good ideas and she's not afraid to speak up despite working with people levels above her. She has very valuable contributions all the time.

What's your favorite part of the research process?

The writing portion—once you've decided what you want the story to be and you're writing to it. Once the flow has been figured out and I know what I want to say, I love immersing myself in the process of writing everything out in a way that is both clear and concise. I've always been a storyteller by nature, and I've written stories for as long as I can remember. And I've always enjoyed sharing those stories with other people as well. It's just a part of who I am.

What's your happy place?

For me, it's in my Z4 M Coupe. It's the place where I can turn my brain off for a while and experience the beauty of the current moment, the roar of the engine, and the physical feeling of shifting gears. I feel connected to the road and disconnected from any of the little things that tend to cloud my brain every day. It's bliss!

In the Industry: Since 2010

At Bovitz: Since 2016

Education: BA in Psychology from Occidental College, and a MA in Sociology from Cal State University, Northridge

Her best quality: Listening