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Two CRA Leaders Talk Success, Motivation and Inspiration

Apr 04, 2023

We’re Smart Brand Communications powered by a group of strategists, creatives, dreamers and problem solvers. We provide our clients with work that not only blows them away but keeps them wanting more.  
Two folks who’ve made their careers at CRA – Meredyth Jenkins and Kyra Harris – share their experiences with success, motivation and inspiration.

Kyra is Vice President of Account Services, and she’s been with CRA more than 14 years. She leads the account team with attention to every detail, producing results for clients and the agency. Her ability to build meaningful relationships means she often knows what clients need before they do.

Meredyth has been problem-solving for our clients for the past 17 years. She started as an intern and has worked her way to our Vice President of Strategy. Meredyth is known best for her attentiveness and overall project management skills. Since 2006, Meredyth has worked with an assorted set of clients, but insurance is her specialty. She manages one of CRA’s largest clients while still having the time to mentor the staff.
What project has been the most rewarding for you? 
Kyra: There are projects I’ve truly enjoyed over the years, building skillsets and making friends I’ve kept to this day. In terms of experience, I think the Encova brand launch taught me the most. Everything that goes into a large-scale brand launch – from research, pre-launch planning, media buys and sponsorships to signage, giveaways, messaging and collaterals – can be overwhelming. But we had a great team, learned a lot, and successfully launched. A year earlier than initially planned!  
Meredyth: It’s all about relationships, and I’m lucky to work with amazing clients and a team who make each project fun and successful. Two that stand out, though, are a video for the Virginia War Memorial and videos for the Epilepsy Foundation of America. For the Virginia War Memorial, we were able to work with a Prisoner of War – seven years during the Vietnam War – as well as a disabled vet and his family from Afghanistan to help profile the sacrifices our veterans make and help promote the opening of the Paul and Phyllis Galanti Education Center.  
For the Epilepsy Foundation of America, we traveled coast to coast to meet with families affected by SUDEP (Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy). It was an emotionally heavy week with families opening their homes to us to relive some of the darkest days of their lives, but it was so rewarding to be trusted to bring honor to their loved ones and push for awareness for SUDEP.  

What gets you out of bed in the morning? 
Kyra: Usually, my daughter! Both literally and figuratively. 
Meredyth: Same! My kids – they are my alarm clock. Figuratively, relationships. Whether it’s meeting my friends at the gym, grabbing coffee – for me, iced black tea – with my husband before work or logging into my day serving our clients and helping our teams, it’s the connection we build with each other that makes us better.  
Working at CRA has been challenging and rewarding professionally while still allowing me a good balance at home as a wife and a mom of three. At the end of the day, I feel seen and supported – exactly what you’d want from any place you work.

How do you approach challenges creatively?  
Meredyth: Typically, I gather as much information as possible, ask questions, conduct research and try to put myself in our target audience’s shoes.   
Kyra: I believe the best solutions are found through working together. Brainstorming and discussing challenges in a team environment – in-person, virtual or however you can gather! It allows ideas to grow and develop. It’s one of the reasons I love CRA, as our culture emphasizes teamwork. We all come to the table with different experiences and skill sets to build solutions for any situation. 
What is one book you would recommend to someone? 
Kyra: I’m not sure I can pick just one! Biographies pique my curiosity – learning more about noteworthy individuals and what made them extraordinary. But I also enjoy historical fiction, suspense and everything about Disney.  
Meredyth: Not one but there are two books that my dad and I have shared with each other that I love, and they are just great books and perspectives on life. “Napkin Notes from Dad” by W. Garth Callaghan and “The Boy, The Mole, the Fox, and the Horse” by Charles Mackesy.  

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