Under 40: Anne Meagher Watson, Safeguard
Anne Meagher Watson, 34
Safeguard, Richmond, Va.
Joining the family print and promotional business was never at the top of Anne Meagher Watson’s list. But that changed in 2007 when her father, Jack Meagher, the owner of a now-41-year-old distributorship, won Safeguard’s prestigious President’s Club award. As part of the prize, Jack, along with other selected distributors from across the nation, traveled to Florence, Italy. “Our family tagged along and it was the first time I had the opportunity to see the company from a fresh set of eyes,” Meagher Watson recalled. “Meeting the other distributors made me recognize that this was something I needed to seriously consider.” Soon after her return to the States, Meagher Watson explored her options and, by summer 2008, she started working full time with her father.
Why she loves the industry: I love the creativity, the vast array of products that we sell, and the exposure we get to a variety of clients and businesses. Every day is different, and I’m constantly learning something new about the different industries we serve. With my background in art, I know a lot about design, and that helps give me the ability to offer unique insight to our customers. Once we get an order, I’m able to quickly turn projects in a seamless way that many people can’t because I have an eye for it. It’s a benefit to have that background and it adds another fun aspect to the job.
Age roadblocks and advantages: I honestly can’t pinpoint any disadvantages, but a major advantage is the grasp I have on technological advancements. This industry tends to cater to an older generation, but I grew up in the age of computers and smartphones. Being technologically inclined has allowed me to teach other distributors and business owners and provide input.
Her biggest career influence: I would have to say my father. I value his opinion and have witnessed firsthand the incredible success he’s seen over the years. The clients he works with have been with him for years and continue to praise him for his great service. He took me under his wing when I came into the business, so I try to soak up everything I can. It’s not the typical father/daughter relationship where the daughter often brushes off the father’s career advice. I take everything to heart, which has served me well. Aside from offering advice on what works and what doesn’t, he encourages me to put my own spin on things.
Her most meaningful business accomplishment: Back in 2011, our location in Richmond won the President’s Club award for our year-over-year growth. Our entire distributorship worked really hard to achieve this milestone, and I did personally as well. All of our growth was organic, not acquisition-based. We kept our nose to the grindstone, which made the award an even more meaningful achievement.
Her differentiating factor: The internet is major competition, but our Safeguard location offers a personal touch with our customers, which is not something you can find online. Our attitude and the way we treat our customers is the only way for us to stay ahead of the competition. We hold true to our beliefs that the customer comes first. If we say we’re going to do something, we do it. If we can get it done quickly for them, we do. We continually strive to be the best we can be, which I believe is our best attribute.
What she does for fun: My husband and I love to travel. We’ve been across the U.S., traveled to Europe several times and continue to look for new places to explore. We recently had a little girl who is now 18 months old. We’ve started toting her around with us on our adventures.
(The following profile appeared in Print+Promo’s “Rise Up” cover story in the February 2017 issue.)