Building a career in marketing around a passion for health and wellness
Throughout her life and career, Megan Rokosh has been drawn to work that has a positive impact on people’s health and wellness. By pursuing this passion, the UBC Sauder School of Business Bachelor of Commerce (2007) alum has built a rewarding career in marketing. Today, she’s a senior executive working in New York for one of the largest integrated marketing communications agencies in the world.
Rokosh will soon celebrate her two-year anniversary as Global Chief Marketing Officer for Havas Health & You, a firm that’s focused on helping clients in the health category to communicate their brands, products, services and stories to target audiences.
After an exciting career in Canada in consumer marketing, media and entertainment, Rokosh joined the health division of Havas Group, a French multi-national company that is part of the Vivendi media empire.
Reflecting on the past year, she says the COVID-19 pandemic has intensified public interest in health-related topics. It has also brought to the forefront the importance of high-quality content that empowers consumers to make healthy living decisions.
“Even before COVID, there was a fascination with health around the world, but the pandemic has been an accelerator in terms of new innovation and technology in health,” says Rokosh.
Growing up in an entrepreneurial household
Working within the health and wellness vertical runs in the family. Growing up in Calgary, she watched and learned from her parents as they developed a business that offers professional medical-legal expertise.
“My parents were entrepreneurs, which was an amazing model for me growing up,” she says. “Their mission was to elevate healthcare around the world and it’s funny because that’s where I’ve ended up at this phase in my career — doing my best to contribute to the same objective in my own way.”
Growing up, Rokosh was interested in both arts and sciences, but she ultimately chose to study business at UBC Sauder. It was there her passion for marketing was ignited.
“I was quite certain I would end up in finance, but Marketing was the course that I was most excited about. I was totally taken by the content and the challenge. The blend of business and psychology was fascinating to me.”
It’s important to play the long game, be resilient and always challenge yourself to do work that is too good to ignore.
A natural talent for storytelling
Upon graduation, Rokosh launched her career at a small advertising agency in Calgary. From there, she moved to Rogers Media where she developed television content and worked on both sides of the camera – as a writer, producer, talent and creative services manager.
“I started out in Rogers in their Western Canadian markets, bringing shows like The Bachelor and America’s Got Talent to Canadian audiences. From there, I progressed to the Toronto market.”
In addition to overseeing go-to-market strategies for a suite of brands, she also wrote and produced televised events including the Stanley Cup playoffs and Major League Baseball and worked with high-profile brands such as Disney, Walmart and Next Issue.
Her success in Canada’s national media landscape paved the way for a move to New York. In 2017, she was hired as Director of Communications, North America for the Havas Group.
“Because of my time at Rogers, my sense of editorial and media had gotten better and better,” Rokosh explains. “I joined Havas to communicate their story to the marketplace and tackle the constantly changing category of advertising and marketing.”
Integrating brands and culture
One of her favourite creative projects from this period was an event called Bands & Brands. Launched to run alongside the annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, Bands & Brands featured international marketing experts that explored how pop culture intersects with brands.
“This event gave us an opportunity to share learnings across some of the world's best marketers and platforms, all centred around the cultural moment, which is the Grammys. It’s rare that you get a room filled with top CMOs, CEOs and thought leaders to discuss the most fascinating and complex challenges facing the industry today, so it was a really special time.”
Communicating health messages during a global pandemic
Today, Rokosh leads the marketing team that services over 4,500 employees around the globe. She is also co-founder of a new division called the Content Assembly. Her team will blend storytelling with health data to service the ever-changing needs of health brands, as well as help consumer brands enter the health conversation in a relevant way.
“All these pieces of my career have come together in a sequence that somehow makes perfect sense. One of the most rewarding aspects of this role is that it’s allowed me and my team to support the global health community during this incredibly challenging time.”
Honing your skills to support your ambitions
Looking back on her career journey, Rokosh is grateful for her business degree that continues to support her as a marketing leader.
“My education at UBC Sauder was deeply formative for me,” she says. “It was a priceless experience that gave me a foundation of knowledge that I still reference today, not to mention relationships with students and professors like Jeff Kroeker that are very important to me.”
Her advice to students dreaming of a career in marketing is that if you put in the work, good things will happen.
“Be as ambitious as possible, while humble in the steps that it will take to get to where you want to be. There is no dream that is too big, but the road isn’t necessarily a straight one without bumps, curves or stop signs. It’s important to play the long game, be resilient and always challenge yourself to do work that is too good to ignore. At the end of the day, it comes back to your craft – never stop learning and never, ever let anyone tell you that your dream is out of reach.”