Apprenticeship Spotlight: Meet Our 1000th Apprentice!

Megan Phillips - 1000th Apprentice

MEET OUR 1000th APPRENTICE!

She’s Megan Phillips, of Revio

 

FOR THIS MILESTONE, we’re going to dispense with the usual Spotlight format and simply let Megan (and her boss, CEO Brian Bauer) talk about who she is and the path that took her from her home town of White Hall, AR, to her present position as Director of Customer Success & Product for the Little Rock-based banking support company Revio.

Megan Phillips Megan: “I graduated from high school in White Hall in 2012 and then went over to ASU in Jonesboro for two years and actually got my Associates degree in marketing and PR. Ultimately, I didn’t do anything with that. I left school and went home for personal reasons and got into property management, and that was the start of my journey of just working my way up the ladder. I started out scrubbing toilets for a property management company in Little Rock and left there their director of operations three years later. It’s not the traditional way that you get to where I’ve gotten, but it’s certainly been rewarding in a lot of different ways.

“The 8-year-old me wanted to be a librarian. I thought that the card catalog system was really cool. So I was definitely much more of an English-leaning kid, not analytical; I wasn’t into math. As I grew up, computers were more and more in the school. I definitely had those throughout junior high and up through high school, so I certainly understood how to use them.

“But I landed in tech just by happy coincidence. At the property management company, I did a lot of things and worked my way up operationally there, but I didn’t feel a desire to become a property manager myself long term. So I was, oh gosh, 25, and didn’t have much to lose by taking a risk and completely switching up what I was doing. At some point, I met a person who worked at Brian’s former company, Abaca, which was a FinTech for Cannabis Banking, and I had a chat with her and said, ‘Hey, I’d love to send you my resume. I’m interested in what you guys do.’ I got hired and started out in an entry-level position doing some account management type stuff and a little bit of customer service. Certainly having customer service work previously was helpful, but I had never worked in anything close to finance, technology, or banking in that sense. So it was a very interesting endeavor to get into. Eventually we got to a point organizationally where there was room for growth, so I went to Brian and said, ‘Hey, I want to try something new. What can we do?’”

Brian Bauer Brian: “When I first met Megan and we hired her over at Abaca, the thing that was interesting about her, that was evident, is that there’s not a lot of people who will take on things that are risks that they have to personally put their own ownership and stamp on it. Megan always did that. I think it’s an innate characteristic and trait that she has. And in the startup world, we talk about people who can walk through walls. You’re just going to get it done. There’s so much in life, and this is true in technology and in business and in everything else, where it’s just about getting it done and figuring it out. Because guess what? When you’re starting a company, nobody’s ever done this stuff before.

“The fact of the matter is that when you’re in an early-stage venture, there’s a lot of hats you’ve got to wear, and you really need people who are going to just see it through. That’s always been Megan. So that’s why she advanced in her role prior to Abaca. And when she got to Abaca, she went from a customer-service and account-management type role into the product management and excelled at that. There’s a learning curve, but got the learning curve quickly, figuring out how to manage product at the company. So when we started Revio, there was one person that I thought, All right. Well, she’s got to join this team too. Because I know we’re going to figure it out together.

“I knew about the Arkansas Center for Data Sciences, and as we built this company—and we’re still a small team, less than 10 people—it was apparent that there was this great resource in Arkansas that we could help leverage. It turned out there was a vacant space in a Data Analyst apprenticeship cohort, and we saw that as an opportunity for us to equip Megan with a little more depth in the data analysis skillset to help us really start to open up the possibilities as we get further down the road.”

Megan: “This is not my first time taking courses to learn. We’re very big on self-learning. Brian has been a huge promoter of that. I believe in that myself. But I took product management classes in 2022 online, and some UI design stuff as well, just to be able to stand in the shoes that I’m in here at Revio as the Director of Customer Success & Product. So we’re big proponents of learning while also doing. I definitely think that being able to take the courses while growing with the organization is super, super helpful.”

Brian: “How lucky are we in Arkansas to have the data analytics base to even justify the existence of this program because of the legacy of Little Rock with respect to Acxiom and all these other things? There’s a talent density here already, and so being able to tap into that is certainly a benefit for us.”

Megan: “When the email came saying that I was the one-thousandth apprentice, I thought it was funny and cute. I told one of my friends, ‘I finally won something.’”