November 03, 2016 6 min read
Meggie Dials is the founder of The Sussy Project, an initiative that gives gifts to unassuming recipients for no reason other than to make them smile. A “sussy” is a gift given for no reason, hence the project’s name. Meggie lives and works in Indianapolis and is the RVP of healthcare enterprise sales at Salesforce Marketing Cloud. In her spare time, she can be found hanging out with her family and training for the next marathon. Follow her at @meggiehd.
You launched The Sussy Project in 2011. What inspired you to do that and when did you know you could make this project work?
At the time when we founded TSP, I was looking for new projects and things that not only kept me busy, but also spoke to a more altruistic passion of mine. I love my day job, but I wanted something that touched my heart, as well as others'. Though I haven't read the book about love languages, I know that mine is and always will be gifts. When someone takes that extra effort to give a gift as a way of demonstrating their feelings or to make another smile, it goes so far and beyond what words can do. I have always loved sussies and have incorporated them in my life. I'm a big gift giver myself, but this project was a way to expand that and to make a difference in more people's days.
It's been five years since you founded The Sussy Project. What's been the most inspiring part of it all?
I am always inspired by the stories we hear. There are so many good people out there – and not just the nominees for sussies we hear about. The people who send in nominations are also so kind and thoughtful. They truly want to make someone happy. But reading the nominations is not just a reminder about the goodness in the world, it's also a lesson in resilience. There are some heartbreaking stories of loss, sickness and hardship. But throughout all of them, there is a common theme: people are resilient. We can do things we never thought we'd have to, or can. But with support of friends and family, even some of the darkest days have light. And to be a little part of lightening someone's day – that made it all worth it.
What is it about getting an unexpected gift that can make a person's day?
It goes back to that extra effort. Someone not only wanted you to be happy, but they stopped their busy life to take those extra minutes to create happiness for you. The intent is often there, but the execution is usually what slips through the cracks. When you receive an unexpected gift, it comes from a place of pure thoughtfulness and kindness.
You are also the RVP of Healthcare Enterprise Sales at Salesforce Marketing Cloud. What do you love about your job?
I work in an ever-changing, dynamic and energetic industry and for a company that is best in breed. That in and of itself is exciting. In addition, the people I have the pleasure of working with are hardworking, smart, talented and passionate. They raise my game daily. I love leading a team, as it gives me the opportunity to interact with diverse personalities and to tailor how I engage, brainstorm and lead each person. The culture at Salesforce is fantastic. For lack of better words, it's a cool place to work.
You live in downtown Indianapolis. What do you love about your city?
Indianapolis is the perfect small big city. We have sports, concerts and shows. We have great food and bars. We have an awesome downtown scene that is thriving with families pushing strollers, singletons walking dogs, friends hopping bars. But the best part is, we have all of that without crazy traffic, insane housing prices or too much congestion. I can walk down Mass Avenue in downtown Indy and see friendly faces of both people I know and people I don't. We are a tight community with Midwest hospitality, but the appetite to keep evolving.
You've done double-digit marathons. What number are you up to now?
I have completed 12 marathons and just signed up for my 13th! I'll be running in Virginia Beach with my girlfriends in March 2017!
What's been the most fun marathon experience?
The London Marathon was just incredible! My husband got me an entry for my 30th birthday as part of the Parkinson's UK team. My dad suffered from Parkinson's Disease for 19 years before he lost his fight in February of this year. Running for a cause that meant so much to me gave me all the inspiration I needed to finish that race and PR! It was a perfect spring day, in my favorite city in the world, with my husband cheering me from the sidelines and running for my dad. Nothing will ever touch that experience. It was a perfect day.
How did you get into distance running?
I never was a runner, but I met some very encouraging runner friends in 2005 through my job. I was trying to lose weight and we would run twice a week together. They helped me run my first half marathon that year. And as these things do, it became contagious. My husband started running soon after he saw me become committed to it and after cheering for him in his first marathon, I knew I had to cross that 26.2 mile finish line myself someday. It just stuck.
Logging all those miles is a challenge. What do you do to help get through the particularly tough runs?
I am a very mental runner so I need to keep my brain engaged while running. When on a treadmill, I cover the screen with a towel, listen to music and read a book. And when running outside, if I am alone, I listen to podcasts. But ideally, I am with friends. I have met some of my closest friends through running, and when you log all those miles together, you become very close. We call ourselves the Perfect Strangers, as many of us didn't know each other until we started running together. Now we not only run together whenever we can, but take yearly girls trips and are a big part of each other's lives.
What empowers you?
Like most competitive people, I am empowered by someone telling me I can't do something. I like to defy odds, burst through glass ceilings and prove people wrong.
Who empowers you?
I am a new mom to a three-month-old girl. In her nursery, we had a calligrapher paint empowering and inspirational quotes on one of her walls so that when she wakes up every day, she is reminded that she can do anything she sets her mind to. She empowers me. I think of her little eyes watching my every move and I want to set a wonderful example for her – that she can be strong physically and emotionally. That she can be sensitive. That if she so chooses, she can be a mom and a career-minded woman. That she can be a good friend, daughter, wife, leader, employee, etc. I want her to know that despite me going to work every day and loving my job immensely, nothing in the world compares to the moments I spend with her. She makes me better. I am also empowered by other moms and my closest friends. I never understood the phrase "It takes a village" until I had my baby. We have had so much support – especially during those difficult first two months. I plan to offer the same support to new moms in the future.
Why do you think it's important for women to empower one another?
While women may not have the most hardship when compared to other minority groups, it isn't easy being female. There are standards that society places on us to look a certain way, talk a certain way, dress a certain way. If it were as simple to just "be yourself" in this world and to still be successful, then there would be a lot more women leaders in businesses across our country. Only we can change that. We need to build each other up, support and understand each other. We need to not let our own internal competitiveness drive us to be catty, jealous, rude and demeaning to our fellow femmes. If we become the village for each other, there is nothing we can't do.