Mar 4, 20216 min read

Building a rocket ship with Megan Gokey, Head of B2C Marketing at Klarna USA.

Klarna K logo

by Klarna

Celebrating Women’s History Month this year, we’ve been lucky enough to sit down (virtually) with an incredible range of inspiring, powerful women across the retail and eCommerce industry. Today, we’re super excited to share an interview with one of Klarna’s very own: Megan Gokey. After only 18 months at Klarna, Megan launched our debut at the Superbowl and leads all of Klarna’s B2C Marketing in the USA.

First of all tell us about yourself! What do you love doing when you aren’t at work? Any pets?

I currently lead B2C marketing for Klarna US. I’ve been at Klarna for almost a year and a half now and I love it. The culture, ambition, pace and creativity – it’s energizing and also never ever boring. I don’t like to be bored.

If you asked me how I preferred to spend my time pre-pandemic, I would have told you that I take a Zumba class every Thursday evening, host a monthly book club with a group of incredible women, enjoy as much live music as possible, explore new restaurants, and prioritize time with my family and good friends that are like family.

As a true extrovert I’ve struggled with the necessary quarantine and physical distance guidelines, but I have adapted as much as one could to maintain as much of “normal life” as possible. Now, I try to do a lot of the above virtually including Zumba from my Brooklyn based living room but let’s be real, it’s just not the same. So with this cooped up Covid lifestyle has come more focus on self-care and exploring new ways to feel connected and inspired. I’ve also become a co-parent to a dog that’s tripled in size over the past 6 months so that has definitely kept me entertained.

Where did you start your career, did you always know what you wanted to do?

I didn’t even know advertising or marketing was a thing when I initially went to college. I was the only one of my friends that was oddly good at math so I started to explore finance and economics to pursue big dreams of working on Wall Street as a stockbroker. I was chasing a powerful vision of being one of the few women on the trading floor until I took an intro to advertising class where my creative energy took over my plans. So, I changed my course and was then determined to become an advertising exec in the big apple. One of my first ad jobs was working on a financial services brand so to me, it was the best of both worlds.

What are the greatest challenges or frustrations you face as a woman at the top (if any)?

There have been several times in my career where I’ve witnessed a woman’s point of view isn’t as respected or supported as her male counterpart, and that there were higher standards women were held to. What these kinds of challenges lead to is believing that you have to constantly prove yourself. As women, we often not only have to fight for a seat at the table, but to also be heard once we are there.

Is there a woman who has really inspired you?

My mother, hands down. She is the strongest, most resilient woman I know. She has endured a lot in her life and most recently, I almost lost her to Covid after she was in the hospital battling a very severe case for several weeks. But, she never stopped fighting and because of that, she is still here today.

What accomplishments are you most proud of?

I could talk about some of the work I’ve done in my career that I’m proud of, but that alone is not what actually keeps me going. What I’m really most proud of is being part of the explosive growth and transformation that has happened over the last year for Klarna US. When I started at Klarna, I was basically a team of 1 and not many people yet knew Klarna in the US. Since then, I have recruited and surrounded myself with incredible, ambitious talent and am proud of fostering an environment of collaboration, comradery, constant ideation and pushing the boundaries. This magical mix of talent, ideas and creative energy only leads to great things.

What’s the riskiest move you’ve taken in business?

I’ve always taken risks. It started when I was younger. I grew up playing sports from competitive gymnastics to varsity tennis, and I was brought up to always push and challenge myself. So, I tend to take risks often, some are more calculated than others. Probably one of the biggest risks I’ve taken in my career was when I decided to take a job at a Swedish start-up that I had never even heard of. I remember saying to the recruiter “Kleerna, what is that?” At the time, I felt like it was a huge risk but I believed in the leadership and the vision. Now, joining Klarna has been one of the best decisions I’ve made in my career.

A more recent risk that’s fresh on my mind was suggesting Klarna be in the SuperBowl for the first time ever and developing a massive campaign during a global pandemic — all on the most ridiculous timeline. While I’ve done big campaigns including Super Bowl before, this was wild and full of many hurdles that were tough to control due to the pandemic. But, it was absolutely worth it and couldn’t have been done without the rockstar team of Klarnauts and agency partners that worked on this.

What 3 traits do you think are most important when running a successful business?

  1. Resilience
  2. People-first
  3. Optimism – have to be glass half full

What’s the best business advice you have ever received?

Be quick to learn from your mistakes and be even quicker to dust yourself off and try again.

Any advice to future female leaders?

Don’t shy away from hiring people around you that are smarter, quicker or more creative than you are. This will make you stronger.

Know your worth. You likely won’t get what you want (and deserve) unless you ask for it. No one will fight harder for you than you.