Megan Belden is a Director for Nielsen Consumer Neuroscience, based in Cincinnati, Ohio. Megan has grown her career at Nielsen by being herself and extending her expertise to many areas of our business.
In my early 20s, I was a headstrong student and frequent concert goer, determined to make it in the music business. But after I interned for a summer music festival after my sophomore year of college, I realized that although music is my passion, I learned that working as a promoter wasn’t for me. I discovered that I wanted to pursue a career that was more analytical and in line with the interesting concepts I was learning in my consumer behavior classes at school.
After my internship, I attended a career fair at my university and immediately noticed the Nielsen booth. I had flashbacks of hearing about Nielsen during my internship and the music sales measurement work that fuels the Billboard charts. I quickly approached the booth and was immediately welcomed by the friendly and approachable team. They described career paths that opened up a new realm of marketing that I hadn’t discovered yet. Thrilled and eager, I applied and accepted an offer for an internship in the local Cincinnati office with the Innovation Analytics team. I quickly realized I found my tribe.
I was honored to progress to a full-time associate position in the Emerging Leaders Program, and I have rotated through several roles since joining. One of my favorite things about Nielsen is that it’s possible--and even encouraged--to have many career changes, and I have taken full advantage of this opportunity. From roles in day-to-day analytics for retailers to working on our digital product strategy, I’ve now landed in one of the most exciting and innovative parts of our business: Nielsen Consumer Neuroscience. Applying neuroscience research to marketing is on the cutting edge of the market research industry and it continues to feel like an exciting rush to be a part of that evolution over the last three-and-a-half years. Working on improving product package designs and strategizing with creative agencies on global advertising campaigns are among the most rewarding and intriguing roles I’ve ever had. Plus, I definitely have the most interesting job among my friends!
Not only do I have the opportunity to work with groundbreaking research technologies, but I also have the opportunity to be involved in Nielsen’s Diversity & Inclusion strategy. I have a neuromuscular disability that requires the use of a power wheelchair. I have always been proud of my disability and the ways that it has shaped who I am in a positive way, but I’ve been hesitant to discuss it with potential employers. My disability is visible, so I knew they would notice, but I wondered “Would they be accommodating?” “Would they see past my differences?”
My concerns soon dissipated when I was exposed to Nielsen’s disability Employee Resource Group, Abled and Disabled Employees Partnering Together (ADEPT). Until I came to Nielsen, I’d never heard of Employee Resource Groups and the ways that associates can make an impact in driving an inclusive culture. I’ve always felt that my disability makes me a valuable and innovative part of the team in a way that was unique from others. During my internship with Nielsen, I realized that my values and the way that I view my disability are assets and align with Nielsen’s culture. Nielsen’s commitment to embed diversity into the DNA of its culture makes me feel supported and valued in a way that I didn’t realize was possible in my career. Aside from the personal aspect of feeling like I can be myself at work, ADEPT has provided me with access and visibility to our leaders, professional development opportunities, and the ability to help make our culture more inclusive for people with disabilities.
To be fulfilled in your career, it’s important to bring your whole self to work but also to be inspired by the work you do. I’m lucky that I found my niche so early on in my career and that I get to work alongside smart and driven associates and clients who help me learn and grow every day. I can’t wait to see what’s next!