20 Under 40: Meredith Roberts

Staff photo by Troy Stolt / Meredith Roberts is seen with her daughter Lucy.
Staff photo by Troy Stolt / Meredith Roberts is seen with her daughter Lucy.

Meredith Roberts, 34

Director of hospitality and marketing, Tennessee Aquarium; Wish granter, Make-A-Wish East Tennessee; Member, Greater Chattanooga Hospitality Association; Lover of all things aquatic; Mom to Lucy

Mantra: #justkeepswimming

Quarantine projects: I started with a list of things from house related stuff to family activities and adventures. I tend to overcommit to things, so my list was long. And I would say that I started out pretty well. But when the tornado came through (we had minimal damage, thankfully), that went out the window. Some days were productive. My daughter did activities, I cooked dinner and we knocked out yard work. Other days involved her watching both "Frozen" and "Frozen 2" and me ending the day with two glasses of wine. And that was OK! There would be other opportunities to meet that 6 a.m. workout goal, but that was not the day for it. Let's be honest, I have yet to find the right day to meet a 6 a.m. workout goal.

How did the pandemic upend your routine? For the most part, I feel like I thrive in chaos. For me there is fun in attempting to control it, and when it kicks my butt, learn from it and try all over again. My job before the pandemic was always changing and my daily schedule was constantly interrupted. So the pandemic fit right into that.

What's your goal professionally? I used to have clear goals and they involved moving up, attaining higher positions, etc. And while it would be great if those things happened, my professional goals have changed. My goals are to work within an amazing team where I am challenged daily and where there are moments of fun and adventure tucked in. The team I work closely with now is outstanding. We work hard, we are challenged (especially now), but we still find ways to have fun, like petting an octopus!

One thing you wish you'd known at the start of your career? Talk less and listen more. ... I learn so much about myself and others when I actually shut up and listen. But even as I type this, I am thinking of recent instances where I should have talked less and listened more. Still learning!

What motivates you? People. My daughter motivates me to be more silly. My dad motivates me to be positive no matter what life throws at me. 'Wish kids' motivate me to be strong and not give up. Ellen motivates me to be more kind. My mom motivates me to dance. Hearing others' stories motivates me to improve my own self.