Robyn Mermelstein On High-Growth Businesses: The Value Of Culture And Building Audience-Driven Connections
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According to todayâ€™s guest, the key to boosting the growth of your business is by building audience-driven connections.Â Robyn MermelsteinÂ is the Vice President of Marketing atÂ PM Pediatrics. In this episode, she discusses her journey in marketing and working with different brands from CGP to healthcare. Tune in as Robyn also shares valuable advice on the importance of culture when navigating unpredictable shifts in the industry, and on the future of telehealth.
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Robyn Mermelstein On High-Growth Businesses: The Value Of Culture And Building Audience-Driven Connections
In this episode, we welcome Robyn Mermelstein, the Vice President of Marketing at PM Pediatrics to the show. Let’s get into it.
Robyn, how are you? Welcome to the show.
Thank you for having me. I’m so well.
We are so excited to have you. I enjoyed chatting that you live now where I grew up. Go Jayhawks. Where are you from originally, Robyn?
I grew up in a town on the South Shore of Long Island called Baldwin. I was there through high school, came back, and lived with my parents for a year out of college until I moved to Long Beach for a few years, lived in the city, met my husband, and then came back to Long Island to live here in Jericho.
I love the South Shore. What was high school Robyn like?
I’m a bit of a book nerd. I still would consider myself a reader. I stretched my wings later in high school when I was 16 and 17, where I would explore the city a bit. My parents know this. This is no secret. I would sneak out at night and go dancing. I go into the city with my friends and come back late at night. I’m glad that I did that while I lived at home with my parents and got out of my system before I went to college because I don’t know what would have happened if I did it when I wasn’t living in their house.
I was not a great athlete. I didn’t like sports much. My dad always tried to coach our teams and I have the story of when I played softball, I was terrible. I was always outfield because none of the other girls could hit the ball that far, so they stuck me there. Do you know those flowers that you pick up and blow? I would pick those up during the softball games and blow on them until one girl, while at the ball, hit me in the stomach and I fell because I wasn’t paying any attention. That was the end of my softball career.
I was not such a great athlete as opposed to now in my life, where if you would have told me back then that I would become a soccer mom on the sidelines of the fields and only cheering my kids on. With one of my daughters, my husband does the actual parent coaching but I do the administrative work. It’s what we spend most of our weekends doing now.
You are a soccer mom and also a flag football mom.
I am a flag football mom, which is probably what I prefer. In April of 2020 when there was nothing to do, the Long Island Flag Football League found a way to reach out to parents of daughters to say, â€œWe have been running this football league where it’s mostly populated by boys but if the girls are interested, we would love to have them.â€ We were itching to do anything to get out of the house and be outside. Both my daughters played and now it has been three seasons of playing flag football.
My husband coaches both of them. He has all his plays written in little index cards that are starting to get tattered but he brings them around. He was teaching 7 and 9-year-olds how to play football but they are good now. My older daughter won the Super Bowl last season, which was exciting. I don’t know if she has a shot now but my little one might. Her crew has gotten better. I prefer watching them play football than I do soccer. They have a great time.
That’s so fun. My wife and I have a three-month-old son, so we’re getting excited. Weâ€™re only a few years away from youth sports. You went to school at Pitt. Did you know in school that you wanted to go into marketing and communications? When did you have that a-ha moment?
I was always attracted to brands and how they played a role in my life growing up. I spent the first half of my career working for brands, color cosmetics, and skincare. I loved reading, and writing. When I graduated college, I was like, â€œI’m going to be a writer. I’m going to interview for jobs at magazines.â€ I’m going to date myself. This is when you would look at an actual newspaper and circle job listings with a marker. I had interviews with magazines. I had an offer from Seventeen Magazine and they were going to pay me about $15,000 a year. My parents were like, â€œYou cannot take that job. There’s no way. Youâ€™ve got to find another way. That’s not enough money.â€
I had enough experience and did some internships in college to understand how public relations worked and their role in educating writers about brands and products. Iâ€™ve got a job working at a PR firm that specializes in taking on clients that were in the beauty space, so anything from personal care, body care, color cosmetics, skincare, fragrance, even oral care. I worked at that PR firm for a few years then left to go to another. I probably worked at three PR firms before I had a desire to go in-house and work for a brand corporately.
When you work in just PR, you only get a slice of what they are doing. My first in-house role was for a brand called Bliss, which at the time was owned by LVMH. They’re an entrepreneurial brand. The Founderâ€™s name is Marcia Kilgore. She has gone on to start and sell 4 or 5 well-known brands, some in beauty, one in footwear. I work for Marcia. There was no defined marketing department. I was just a PR department that did everything.
Bliss was sold to Starwood Hotels and my role morphed into opening up Bliss spas and Wâ€™s across the country. Iâ€™ve got to travel and open up Bliss spas and W hotels in New York, Chicago, Dallas, LA, and San Francisco. It was awesome. My husband got to come and he would be the secret spa guy because before we opened, we needed people to come in that work there with practice on people. He got to be the guy who would come in and get free facials. He would tell them a made-up name. They would see him in the lobby and they would be like, â€œHey,â€ and he would be like, â€œSorry, I’m Robyn’s husband. I was supposed to lie.â€
I was there for a while. I went to work for another skincare brand called Jurlique thereafter. While I was at Bliss, they built out a real marketing department and they gave me the opportunity to go to FIT, which is similar to a Master’s in Business, except that they bring in some other classes like fragrance. The goal is that you enroll in the two-year program while you work for a large cosmetic company. The program always had people from big brands like Lâ€™OrÃ©al, EstÃ©e Lauder, and Revlon.
At the time when I applied, they were looking for people coming from entrepreneurial brands because they were driving a lot of the growth. I went through that program for two years and was able to get some baseline marketing skills that I did not have from just growing up organically through my career. I have continued to explore other professional development throughout. Technically, I have a Master’s of Professional Studies in Marketing and Management from FIT.
If I understand the timeline of your career correctly, it seems like right when you were having kids is when you started to work in brands that were more focused on babies and children. Is that right?
Yes. I don’t know if I did this by my own design. I willed these jobs to come to me because it was what I was interested in at the time. When I had my first daughter and was on maternity leave, I got a phone call from a recruiter randomly three days after I had her and she said, â€œI’m calling to see if you are interested in this job opportunity. It’s to manage a baby food brand called Earth’s Best.â€ It’s owned by a large food company called Hain Celestial, which is on Long Island.
I was on maternity leave but due to come back from work and go back to commuting. I was like, â€œI had a baby three days ago. I can’t believe you called. This is amazing.â€ I remember going to the interview and I met with a woman who ended up becoming the President of North America but then ran the entire marketing department. She was like, â€œAre you sure you want to do this? You have been working at these luxurious, high-end cosmetic brands and it’s this fast-paced lifestyle.â€
I said, â€œI had a baby four days ago. I am wearing the only thing that fits. If you want me to come back for a second interview, I’m going to be wearing the exact same outfit because there’s nothing else that I can fit into. I havenâ€™t washed my hair in three days and I’m living the brand now. I’m the perfect person to do this. This is what I’m interested in. I don’t care about my makeup anymore. This is what I’m personally passionate about.â€
Long story short, I took the job as a Senior Brand Manager at Earth’s Best Organic. In the brand management role there, you have a full P&L responsibility. I was responsible for the whole portfolio which was a thriving baby food business, a formula business, diapers, and wipes business, a kid snacking like kidâ€™s granola bars and things like that, and then a frozen business. We made everything from infant formula to frozen chicken nuggets.
I was there for about seven-ish years. My responsibility grew in Earth’s Best while I was there. In addition, we acquired another baby food brand called Ella’s Kitchen while I work there. I was part of a team of people that would look at and evaluate what I call parenting brands because that’s what they are. They are brands that sell things to parents. They could be personal care items, supplements, diapers, and wipes.
Hain is an acquisitive company. If they were looking at a brand to acquire that would fit in my portfolio, I was part of the process of evaluating that business and seeing if it would make sense for us to acquire. Also, if we would be able to help that brand grow to an area where they would be much more successful than they were at the moment when we were looking at them. Iâ€™ve got excited and learned a lot about how you evaluate businesses like that and look at businesses that could be acquired by us and then potentially sold to another larger organization later.
After about seven-ish years there, I left and went to a company called Babyganics, which makes personal care products, diapers, and wipes for parents to use on their children, everything from laundry detergent, to diapers, wipes, and baby shampoo. I started right as they were sold to SC Johnson. My role there and what continues to be where I’m probably the most successful is to put a little bit of rigor around a brand that was now given a lot of resources to grow.
SC Johnson was excited about the path to growth and to put that rigor into place, budgeting, brand planning, and more of a classically trained marketer would bring but still understanding entrepreneurial brands, the culture, and being a culture carrier and maintaining that throughout the process. I was there at Babyganics for about three years until SC Johnson made the decision to move our office to California.
I was not interested in relocating and moving my family to San Francisco, which is where the brand sits now. It makes a ton of sense that the brand now sits in San Francisco with SC Johnson’s other better-for-you brands like Mrs. Meyerâ€™s and Method household cleaning. To put all of those brands under one umbrella on the West Coast made a ton of sense. It just wasn’t right for me and my family.
I did tell them that I would stay on for a year and did everything from help rehire a team on the West Coast to packing up boxes in New York and closing the office. During that time, I knew my journey with Babyganics would end in June of 2019. In February of 2019, I randomly saw a job posting on Indeed for PM Pediatrics. I knew PM because there’s one not far from my house. My children only get sick after 5:00 PM when my pediatrician is closed and I would take them there for regular things like a cold, strep or things like that.
Put plans together. Executing a B+ is okay; let’s just get something out there, and then let’s make it better. Letâ€™s improve. Let’s learn.
One time, in particular, my youngest daughter who was two at the time, sucked playdough up her nose on a Saturday afternoon. I thought I could get it out but I did not. I ended up shoving it farther up her nose. It was bright yellow and I was nervous. It looked terrible. My other daughter started freaking out and screaming thinking that her sister is sick. I put them both in the car with my husband and we drove to PM. They have a special tool that they use, which looks like a knitting needle with a hook at the end and a light at the bottom. They clearly have done this before. They were prepared.
The playdough remover tool.
My daughter fell asleep while they were taking it out. The most miraculous thing is that we went home and she was fine. This was a Saturday. Monday morning, they called me to see how she was feeling. I know my pediatrician well. She has never called me to say, â€œHow are the girls?â€ I was so impressed by the patient experience that I always trusted PM with my kids. I applied to an ad and they called me. At the time, PM had about 60 brick and mortar offices.
The leadership team was made up of doctors that were now business leaders. Sometimes those doctors still practice medicine, sometimes they don’t. They were filling a couple of corporate roles of people that were not doctors. A CFO was hired around the time I was hired. A CIO was hired around the time I started. They were at a point of growth where we are like, â€œWe need to get some other experts in here.â€ There was never a head of marketing position. There were a couple of communications people but nobody that was putting together brand planning and budget and looking at how brand activations drive.
In this case, PM looks at volume, whereas in CPG, we look at revenue, top-line or units. I joined them in July 2019, at the end of my tenure with Babyganics. I was learning all the things at healthcare, totally different business but same parents. I’m talking to the same people. I’m pulling a lot of the same levers that I would, except the big difference is I can’t sell you a thing. I’m not selling you a bottle of shampoo. I can’t send you an email with a coupon code to buy now. I have to see brand awareness, and then be there for you when you need us. I need to inform you that we exist and why we are great.
When your son is crying at 10:00 PM and you can’t figure out what’s wrong with him, and then you look and he has a fever, you remember that we are around and you call us. If somebody falls on the soccer field and you need an X-ray, at that point, you recall us. Putting together programs that deliver that are definitely different than putting together programs and what converts into consumer-packaged goods. The message, how you deliver that message, and to who, I knew how to do that. I had been talking to parents for over ten years already.
It sounds like the common denominator of all the companies you have worked at is a high growth, would you agree with that?
Yeah. I always say I’m not employee number 5, I’m employee 25. I’m the person you bring in when you are ready to take, whatever it is, to the next level, either you have cash and want to spend it or someone is giving you cash and they want to spend it. There’s a level of rigor that needs to be instilled in the organization to help you deliver those goals.
It sounds like you have a playbook that has proven it works.
You have worked with CPG brands and services brands, then luxury brands targeted towards adults, and brands targeted towards families. That playbook, is it more transferable if the type of product is the same? Meaning it’s always CPG or service, or the type of audience is the same.
Itâ€™s the audience. At least the way that we market now, which for me, has been for the last however many years, I always call it a mix of art and science. For me, science is the digital media that I’m buying. I can clearly see who is engaging and what that is delivering. The art is getting involved in their community. It could be thought leadership, boots on the ground, people call it grassroots, whatever you want to say. That’s the art. You need to find that balance of both for your brand.
For me, the audience is important. People need to see themselves in what you are selling. That could be literally seeing themselves like someone that looks like me, talks like me, someone that’s in my world. It could be someone that sounds like me. It could be someone that may look differently than me but we are on the same journey. I’m pregnant, she’s pregnant, that kind of thing. The content that you create has to make that connection. That is audience-driven, not what you are selling.
The wrench in all of this when joining PM Pediatrics is COVID. PM Pediatrics is geared towards children. How many COVID cases were coming in?
Two things happened that helped us be prepared. PM is an amazing entrepreneurial company where everyone who works here is here for the same reason and that’s to provide better healthcare for kids. Itâ€™s because we are so mission-driven that we were able to do things quickly and efficiently, and stand-up businesses to support people. Everybody believes in the same vision.
In January of 2020, two things were happening. We happened to have built a Telehealth business and we were testing it in Alaska because there is a dearth of pediatric providers there but there’s a good amount of children. We felt like if we made a mistake in Alaska, maybe nobody would see. We were partnered with schools and military bases. We were seeing children on this Telehealth platform that we had happened to build and stand up quickly.
At the same time, one of our founders had a son studying abroad in Italy and he had a 3 to 4-week line of sight into what was going to happen to the healthcare system in the United States. I’m the first one to admit, I was like, â€œIt’s a flu. This is crazy.â€ My HR department was telling me we had to turn it off. Our fear was, and this became a reality, â€œPeople are so scared of this virus. They are not going to seek healthcare. They are going to stay home. Our volume is going to drop. No one is going to walk into urgent care now.â€
If that happens, what’s it going to do to our business financially? How are we going to care for these kids at the same time because we know they are going to need healthcare? HR and our head of IT put together a plan where we were ready to go home if we had to go home, we were ready to roll out his Telehealth platform nationally if we had to roll it out nationally, and we cut budgets ahead of time. Throughout January and February, I was being asked to deliver lean budgets should we be in a position where our volume is going to drop significantly.
Come February, we were rolling out the Telehealth platform nationally. Our IT department helped us build that infrastructure. By mid-March, when my corporate office is closed, everyone remembers the silly TikTok video of my daughter dancing and talking about Coronavirus. When we all went home, we were ready to see kids via Telehealth. My challenge as a marketer was that no one had any idea what that was. â€œHow to do it? What is it? Why do I need it? What am I doing with it?â€ Your child isn’t feeling well. What are you doing? Am I taking that patient?
There’s a whole clinical side to this of how we are protecting our providers, PPE, making sure that they are safe, having tests, things like that. I’m doing my job of telling my boss, â€œThis is what we are going to do. This is how we are going to help families. This is how I’m going to make them aware of this new way of seeking healthcare.â€ They are not comfortable going into our offices. Our offices were open. People could come in and see us but nobody was coming in.
The culture that PM creates requires that of the team, especially of the leaders and everyone that works here, wants to help, and wants to be here.
I remember rescheduling my own daughter’s well visit because I was afraid to take her to the pediatrician. Nobody was going into a place but we were open to the community. We have seen two million children that were treated or presumed COVID-positive. We saw them, examined them, tested them, reported results, and things like that. We built IT systems to track it and report back. Operationally, our teams secured PPE. We put guidelines in for masking. It was all-hands-on-deck. For a year, our days were long, emotional, and intense serving the community.
By the summer of 2020, things calmed down a little bit but then we saw spikes in the fall again, and then we started to find our way. We would admit that the patient experience across the board and healthcare stunk. Everybody was scared, emotional, and unhappy. We started to improve the patient experience. We started to improve processes, the way that we test, and when we open but one thing about working with emergency room doctors, which all of our doctors are, are ER trained and most of them have worked in a pediatric emergency room to put plans together and execute.
A B-plus is okay. Let’s get something out there and make it better. Let’s improve and learn. We still do that now. We have worked with tons of communities to help them test and keep kids safe. We give them guidelines and almost consult with them. We have a ton from schools to camps to organizations that provide other activities like sports or after-school activities for children.
We provide tons of guidance to our community. We have become a real resource and it has truly fast forward in our growth. We wouldnâ€™t be in a place where we are now and the opportunities that are in front of us if we didn’t go through the pandemic. If we didn’t go through those waters, previously, and earn the trust of families because we were there to support them, where now we are looking at over the next couple of years, doubling our brick and mortar locations.
We have built a thriving behavioral health business where we are helping parents and schools deal with the mental wellness challenges that have resulted from the pandemic. By the way, we are there at the beginning but the pandemic highlighted the need for mental wellness for children. We are partnering with schools officially by providing those services both urgent care and behavioral health services in school systems.
That’s great. Does that replace the nurse system that we have all known?
It depends. The way that I think of it is from a parent’s point of view because that’s always the lens that I bring to PM. I’m the mom in the conversation. They are all talking to doctors and I’m, â€œThis is how I interpret what you are saying. My daughter goes to the nurse’s office because her ear is bothering her.â€ The nurse may have the ability, should we have this partnership with them, where she’s like, â€œLet’s call a doctor?â€ At this point, for her or him to be able to call the doctor, I, as a parent, would have given approval for my school system to do that. Let’s say that I have done that.
They place that Telehealth visit. Maybe they have an otoscope in the nurse’s office and take a picture of my child’s ear and the pediatrician then on the Telehealth platform gets sent that image. They can look at it at that moment and say, â€œShe does have an ear infection. I’m going to call in a prescription for amoxicillin. Have her mom come pick her up because it also looks like she has a fever of 101.â€ I get a phone call at work that says, â€œYour daughter has a 101 and she has an ear infection. The prescriptions are already at CVS.â€ Grab it on your way, scoop her up, I bring her home and no longer need to take her to the doctor. I already have the medicine in my home, so I don’t need to run out and go get it and she’s on her way to being better.
Years from now, what percent of taking care of kids do you think will be virtual through Telehealth?
It’s interesting. We talk about that a lot. Telehealth is table stakes now. Every provider needs to offer it. There are things that can be covered via Telehealth and there are things that, whether people feel like they want a doctor to see it or a doctor does need to see it. Some people have different levels of tolerance for how they want their provider to engage with them.
A lot of people are like, â€œI don’t want to leave the house. I can handle this via Telehealth,â€ and some people are like, â€œNo way. My doctor needs to see this, see me or see my child.â€ As someone that has children, and especially as a first-time mother, I couldnâ€™t have tolerated a Telehealth visit for my child. I would want that pediatrician to touch my baby and see my baby. As technology moves forward, and as parents that are younger than me that’s all they know, we will see a lot of things being solved via Telehealth, and that convenience, at the same time as the same high level of care is being heard.
It’s so incredible that you were all able to move so quickly. January and February of 2020, you might have been the only company in America that has the foresight.
Honestly, if we didn’t have the Telehealth platform, and if our founderâ€™s son wasn’t in Italy, he was seeing exactly what was happening to his son. He was in the throes of providing him healthcare, getting him out of there, getting him home, and pushing. I thought they weren’t crazy. I was like, â€œThis is nuts,â€ but believed that we needed to have a plan A, plan B, plan C.
I’m not a doctor but I work with them all day long. Emergency room doctors have lots of plans, and those plans are there for a reason and could be broken or executed only in certain ways. Itâ€™s because they are emergency room doctors, they are trained that way. It’s ingrained in their system and frankly, they are fantastic at dealing with urgent issues, we were able to put together so many layers of plans and be ready to execute them.
Additionally, a lot of companies want to move quickly but aren’t able to for so many different reasons. What do you think it is culturally at PM that enables you to be able to execute on plans and be so nimble?
Our organization was set up to communicate well. At the time, we had 60 offices across the country. We would use Microsoft Teams all the time. It was not new to us to hop on, and have a conversation with someone that sits in a different state, so we were able to communicate well quickly. Our culture is of that. We over-deliver as an organization and this is probably one of the first places that I have worked. I worked at a ton of entrepreneurial places but culture is so important. You need to want to be here to do this.
I remember the night that antibody testing was a big deal in April and May of 2020. Everyone thought they had COVID and wanted their blood drawn to see if they did. We were able to provide that service in late April of 2020. We sent emails to our patients to tell them, â€œIf you want to come, this is available.â€ At 11:30 PM the man who is now our chief operating officer called me and he’s, â€œYouâ€™ve got to stop. We broke the internet.â€ I don’t know what happened but so many people are calling. I cannot believe how many parents are making appointments because we are open until midnight. The phones are ringing off the hook like, â€œWhat can you do?â€ Iâ€™m like, â€œThere’s something I could do. You told me to send out an email.â€
We learned from that. For him to feel comfortable calling me at 11:30 PM and for me to answer the phone at 11:30 PM, deal with it and have a plan for the next day of how we are going to handle this operationally, what’s our messaging going to be? How are we going to talk to families? Not everyone is going to pick up. We want it to be there. We are in it with these families. The culture that PM creates requires that of the team, especially of the leaders, and everyone that works here wants to help and wants to be here.
Something that you brought up in the pre-interview call, which I found interesting was if you could teach a college course it would be around don’t bring the problems, bring issues and solutions.
When I worked at Hain, I had a boss named Sheila. If she reads about this, she will know this. One of the first few weeks that I worked with her, she brought our team into a room. She made a beautiful cake. I couldn’t believe this. It looked like the Martha Stewart cake that she baked at home for us. We talked about Sheila’s ways of working and she had a list. It was a Word document that she printed out and had five bullets. I have since stolen Sheila’s way of working but adapted it for myself.
If you have a problem, bring it up but bring solutions.
Sheila’s way of working was, â€œIf you have a problem, bring it to me always but bring me solutions.â€ That’s how anyone working in business and college needs to be prepared to think through those solutions and bring them to whomever it is that you report to. Don’t show up at the office door knocking and saying, â€œI can tell you what’s going on. Can you believe this?â€ You can tell me all of that but then tell me, â€œHow are we going to fix it and what’s your recommendation? If that doesn’t work out, what’s your second recommendation? Let’s navigate this together.â€
Human beings are emotional. Training future marketers to be rational in an emotional situation and to think through the solutions before bringing the problem is incredibly important not only in the work environment but in your personal life. It has been a long time since I was in school but no one is teaching them that because when I work with new people on my team, I dust off Robynâ€™s way of working every time because people bring me problems. What do you think? How do you think we should solve this? Even if the recommendation of how to solve this isn’t perfect, where I can provide guidance is when we can work on that half-baked solution together and then put it into action.
That resonates with me so much. Itâ€™s that ownership that you are speaking to. In your personal life, if something breaks, you are going to try to figure out how to fix it. It’s so important for that to translate if you want to progress in your career and become a manager having that ownership mentality one day. Robyn, what exciting initiatives are coming up next for PM?
There are two things. One of them I’m personally passionate about and we are trying to figure out the right way to do it and the others are right in front of us. A huge opportunity we have is how we can provide more mental health in more settings. One of those is schools. How can we support school social workers and school psychologists with the number of students that are walking through their door with care, either in school or outside of school? How can we solve the testing anxiety of high school juniors? How can we help middle schoolers adjust, be less anxious and make new friends? How can we talk about puberty with parents so that they can help explain it to their kids at home? How do we normalize?
In my house, I do so and that’s why I am personally passionate about it because my daughter needed that help when she was eight years old and sees a psychologist regularly. We call it her feelings doctor. She has a feelings doctor and a doctor who helps with her body. Itâ€™s normalizing that conversation and making sure that children get both sides of care are extraordinarily important.
PM is so set up for success in the way they deliver. Parents trust us for the physical care of their children. My goal is to get them to trust us for the behavioral health of their child and make sure that they feel like we can be experts and a support system for them through their child’s mental health journey as well.
Itâ€™s amazing. Robyn, the last part of the show is called the lightning round. We have 4 questions and 2 minutes to answer all of them. Youâ€™ve got to be quick. First question. Favorite youth sports memory.
The one I told you about softball, getting kicked in the belly and rolling down the hill.
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
What is a brand whose marketing you admire most?
There are two. One is a cosmetics company called Jones Road Beauty, which was created by the founder of Bobbi Brown cosmetics. I love what they stand for in a world where everyone is contouring their face and my daughter watches the Kardashians. Jones Road Beauty believes in a holistic view of health, cosmetics, and beauty.
The other is not necessarily that I admire them but they are in my life so much. My children are drawn to these new brands of clothing. One of them is FREECITY. They buy these expensive sweatpants. They have large logos and wear them on their body and that is so different from what I was attracted to as a child their age. Thereâ€™s something about the culture that brands like FREECITY and Aviator Nation are creating that’s creeping into my childâ€™s life. I admire how they have been able to do that and admire how they have been able to convince me to spend way more money on sweatpants than I ever thought sweatpants could be sold for.
Is that the new solo leggings of Jericho? That’s what I wore when I was in middle school.
Yes, it is.
Finally, what is your go-to cause that you would like to support?
Another thing that I work on that I’m passionate about and had the opportunity to work on it at PM and PM gave me the room to do it, which is one of the reasons why I like working here is the partnerships that we have at summer camps. The cause that I choose to support in partnership with PM is an organization called SCOPE, which raises money to send children to summer camp but typically would not be able to afford to go to summer camp.
Summer camp played an enormous role in my life growing up. It gave me the leadership skills that I have now to run marketing departments at organizations. PM feels passionate about providing the best healthcare they can to children 365 days a year and our ultimate goal with camps is to be able to improve the level of healthcare that is given at camps.
Over the last couple of years, we have done tons of things like helping them test before camp or consulting throughout the summer. We have a vision that Telehealth plays a big role in summer camps and we are able to provide care that way to camps that are in Maine or the country and Massachusetts or Pennsylvania and things like that. I was able to pursue my passion for camping and PM support SCOPE through the work that we have done with them.
Robyn, this was amazing. It was interesting and educational. Thank you so much for coming to the show.
Thank you so much for having me. It was a pleasure.
Thank you for reading this episode with Robyn Mermelstein. As a recap, we discussed how transferable a growth playbook can be across different brands, the culture of high-growth organizations and how PM is continuing to grow and evolve helping kids with both physical and mental health. Thank you for reading. See you next time. Play on everyone.
- PM Pediatrics
- Earth’s Best
- Hain Celestial
- Ella’s Kitchen
- Jones Road Beauty
- Aviator Nation
About Robyn Mermelstein
Robyn spent the first half of her career working in public relations and marketing roles for some of the most well know cosmetics, skincare, and fragrance brands. In 2010 Robyn joined Hain Celestial and ran their Baby Food businesses, Earthâ€™s Best Organic and Ellaâ€™s Kitchen. Robyn was then asked to join the team at Babyganics, a founder-led household and personal care brand for families, and lead the marketing team. A personal experience led her to PM Pediatrics.
Robyn is a Long Island native, a mother of two young girls, and through them, and their weekend adventures made her first visit to the PM Pediatrics in Syosset 6 years ago. The team there swiftly removed some yellow playdoh that was stuck up one of the girlâ€™s noses, and to Robynâ€™s surprise called the day later to make sure she was feeling ok.
As a brand marketer, there is nothing Robyn values more than a great experience, and the PM Pediatrics team delivered just that.
Fast forward to 7 years later, Robyn now leads the marketing team at PM Pediatrics and is responsible for brand awareness and patient volume.