Startup Stories: Q&A With Thrive Market Senior Social Media Strategist Michael ChanJune 24th, 2020
Welcome to Startup Stories, a series that takes you behind the scenes to share what working at a startup is really like. Our mission at Thrive Market is simple: to make healthy living easy and affordable for everyone. But fulfilling our big dreams takes a team of dedicated, inspiring, funny, and tenacious people who show up every day eager to make a difference.
Today, we’re introducing you to Michael Chan, the Senior Social Media Strategist for the Content Team. Read on to get to know him and learn about his experience.
Let’s start with the basics! Tell us about your current role at Thrive Market.
As the Senior Social Media Strategist, I implement and monitor Thrive Market’s overall social media presence. Our Content and Creative teams work together to create engaging, educational, and healthful social content.
Tell us about how you transitioned into your current role.
Before coming to Thrive Market, I worked at Condé Nast leading social media for their brands Details Magazine (fashion) and Pitchfork (music). But I’ve always had a deep passion for food and wellness. I grew up watching cooking shows (“Nigella Bites”, “The Naked Chef”, “Rachael Ray’s 30-Minute Meals”) and studied culinary arts at The French Culinary Institute in New York. My first real job was doing marketing for a mission-driven restaurant group that focused on healthy, fresh ingredients, catering to all eaters from meat to vegan to gluten-free. So, I easily aligned with Thrive Market’s mission. The day I saw the company was looking for a social lead, I jumped on it!
How do your past experiences help you in your current role?
Having worked in various industries doing social media allowed me to gain experience in the many different functions and facets it plays in digital marketing. As we expand our social landscape, I can rely on this experience to better strategize our social footprint in new territories and audiences.
What do you enjoy most about working on the content team?
The people and creative flow. It’s a collaborative energy and thinking outside the box and pitching wildly creative ideas is encouraged—the sky’s the limit with content ideas. We have friendships—it goes beyond just being colleagues.
How long have you been with the company and how has it changed in that time?
Almost two years. Time flies! The company, along with our social content, has grown so much in so little time. To compare our Instagram grid then and now—it’s a proud moment to see the growth we’ve made and continue to make.
What inspires you to live a healthy lifestyle?
I was diagnosed with stage four cancer in the colon and liver, so that inspires me greatly to lead a healthy and fit lifestyle—both mentally and physically. I’ve always loved dining at restaurants, but I’ve learned to cook more at home and be mindful of ingredients I put in my body. It’s fun, actually—Thrive Market makes it so easy to discover products and learn about health benefits, and members are so active with leaving reviews on how they use the product. I don’t know what’s more satisfying than reading an ingredient list that’s so clean and pure. With member reviews and our blog, there’s never a shortage of healthy recipes and tips to play with.
What are your favorite forms of self-care?
I’m a firm believer in that life is short, so LIVE IT! I also believe positive thinking cures everything. That’s my personal self-care: to live life, be spontaneous, laugh and love, and think positively. Besides that, I’m a tennis lover—I watch and play it. I’m very competitive on the court (hey, I’m a Leo). I also love yoga and meditation. It’s important to slow down at some point during the day and let things settle in, take a deep breath, and just recharge. Burn some palo santo and cleanse the air.
Give us a peek at what you eat during the day—breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a snack!
I’m currently fasting most of my days. But, when I’m not, I like to start the day with either a smoothie (mint cacao) or an everything bagel with cream cheese! I usually just have a snack for lunch (fruit, hummus/pita, nuts, cereal) and save room for an early dinner. I like doing this so I have plenty of time to digest before bedtime. For dinner, I’ve been into grilled everything lately—salmon, shrimp, chicken, veggies, fruit, pizza dough. I try to avoid red meat. I’m bad with drinking water and staying hydrated, but a nice trick I’ve been enjoying is flavoring my water with mint leaves, cucumber slices, or an orange peel. All in all, I try to eat small portions throughout the day, eat slowly, and listen to my body when it’s satiated.
What’s one thing you want others to know about Thrive Market that they might not learn from ordering, reading the blog, or visiting the website?
That we do product giveaways on Instagram (@ThriveMarket) almost once a week! So, follow us and be sure to enter. We often crown multiple winners, so you do have a chance to win.
What’s your favorite Thrive Market product and why?
When I first tried Thrive Market’s tomato basil pasta sauce, I literally paused and thought, “Wow! This is different. GOOD different.” It’s so clean and tasty, unlike any other jarred pasta sauce. Other faves are our dragon fruit chips and activated charcoal dental floss.
June is Pride Month. How do you honor and celebrate the LGBTQ community all year?
I honor the LGBTQ community by being my authentic LGBTQ self! Being open-minded and engaging in dialogue and starting conversations with like- and unlike-minded people. Also I support LGBTQ artists, creators, and voices.
As an identifying LGBTQ community member, what has been a lesson you’ve learned that has moved the needle for your career?
I’ve always been my true colors in a workplace and held confidence in the skills I brought to any job. I think that’s the main lesson for me: staying true and believing in myself. It advanced my career beautifully. Of course, it wasn’t always a home run, but I’d take that letdown as fuel to do better. Plus, I believe things happen for a (good) reason, so I never got too down when the needle didn’t move. It just meant a better opportunity was coming.
What professional and personal advice do you have for the younger LGBTQ community?
The younger LGBTQ community is so active, it’s really inspiring to see—so the question is more like, “What advice can I learn from THEM?”! But, LGBTQ or not, I always give the advice of being positive in every thought and action you make. It’s good for yourself and good for the world. Be true to yourself. Be proud of yourself.