J. Megan SpannerJ. Megan Spanner&&
November 16, 2023

Building Relationships and Embracing Challenges: A Conversation with Megan Spanner

In this insightful interview, we sit down with Megan Spanner, MDK’s Executive Director of Relationship Management and Business Development. She shares her remarkable journey at the firm, starting as a paralegal and progressing to several key leadership roles.  

Unveiling MDK's proactive approach to challenges, innovation, and client satisfaction, Megan provides a glimpse into the vibrant culture and the profound impact of mentorship within the organization. Join us as we dive into Megan's experiences, emphasizing the firm's core values and its unwavering commitment to clients.

MDK: Tell me a little bit about your career and how you ended up working with MDK. You have an interesting story!

Megan: I've worked at MDK for 18 years. I first started in our Cincinnati office when our firm was really small, with only about 15 or so people. I started out doing paralegal work, and then eventually moved up to our Columbus HQ to start our asset recovery department.

From there, in 2011 Ted Manley asked me to start our client relations group. We synergistically combined business development and marketing initiatives with relationship management to grow the business and maintain long-term relationships with our clients.

MDK: So MDK was your first job out of school, right?

Megan: Yes, I worked for my dad as a paralegal throughout high school and college, doing legal assistant work. Once I graduated from college, I got my paralegal certificate and then started working at the firm. So yes, this is my first big girl job, and the only one so far!

MDK: That's an amazing story, for sure. Tell me a little bit about MDK. What should people know if they hire your firm?

Megan: They should know that we are a firm that is always up for a challenge. We react really well to curveballs and often anticipate them ahead of time. We figure out an effective and efficient way to handle whatever our clients present us with.

MDK: What do you think drives that feeling within the firm?

Megan: MDK’s leadership team really cares about what happens here, with our staff, our clients and with the quality of our work. We have a lot of tenured people who've worked here for a long time. Over the years, we've developed a deep connection and commitment to this place, how it's perceived by our clients, and the industries we work in.  

MDK: How does innovation play a part in everything you've just told me, and how does that benefit clients?

Megan: Innovation is our biggest catalyst for progress and growth. Our industries are always changing, with financial regulations and economic pressures. We embrace innovation to be proactive in helping our clients, staying on top of industry changes, and avoiding stagnation. This way, clients don’t have to worry about whether we’ll be prepared for the next big thing because we’re already providing them with effective solutions.

MDK: Can you tell me how flexibility plays into that as well?

Megan: Flexibility is essential because we're in a highly regulated industry with various client and court requirements. We could easily be boxed in by these regulations, but we're always looking for ways to be creative and flexible. We find opportunities to provide excellent solutions to our clients while adhering to legal constraints. Being willing to try something new and thinking outside the box is crucial for innovation and ensuring client satisfaction.

MDK: What makes MDK different from its competitors? Tell me some of those differentiators.

Megan: The biggest differentiator is our dynamic culture. To us, that looks like tenured employees and engaged leaders deeply committed to the firm's progress and growth. Our leadership maintains strong connections internally and externally, involving employees in decision-making. We are also different in that we embrace challenges instead of simply saying “no”. We see challenges as opportunities to provide great solutions, offering better efficiency and more effective representation.

MDK: Let’s pivot and talk tech. Tell us a little bit about the Client CoLab.

Megan: The Client CoLab is something we're always really excited to talk about, especially within the timeshare industry. It offers clients transparency, real-time information about their portfolio, live reporting and so much more. The CoLab helps us exceed expectations and keep cases moving forward.

MDK: Can you tell us a little bit about Casee, the internal counterpart to the CoLab?

Megan: Casee is a proactive answer to the industry's evolving needs. Unlike off-the-shelf case management systems, Casee is tailored to our nuanced financial clients. We can easily incorporate new requirements and reporting without rewriting the entire workflow. It provides internal transparency, offering quality control and visibility into legal matters, even for non-lawyers. Casee played a crucial role during the financial crisis, helping us cut through backlog and challenges to keep clients informed.

MDK: Let’s talk about the overall culture at MDK. You mentioned innovation, flexibility and creativity. What else makes up the culture?

Megan: MDK's culture is one of respect and camaraderie. I see MDK as my family since I've been here. Respect is a significant underlying aspect of our culture. Our executive management team values input from employees, guiding decisions and understanding different parts of the firm. We lean on our experts.

MDK: Let's talk about the mentorship factor at MDK.

Megan: Mentorship is a big part of how I've had growth in my career at MDK. When I first started working at the firm, my first boss was a lawyer who was running our Cincinnati office, and she really helped me to figure out how to take ownership of the work that I was doing and how to figure out the details on my own- but also when to ask questions, which is obviously huge for your first job.  

I actually moved to Columbus because Ted asked me if I wanted to come up and try to start a department, which, how could you pass that opportunity up? I always knew that if something came up that I could ask him for guidance and for help, and that was really huge. Ted has always been so good about having a true open-door policy where I could just go in and say, "This is happening, I'm not sure how to respond." And I’ve learned so much from that.  

I think that's a lot of how I ended up doing the work I do now because I always knew that I could learn from Ted, and he's great at relationship management. But at the same time, he always encouraged me to look for the next thing that I wanted to do. I've always felt that if there's something I can offer to the firm, and I put a plan together and I can prove why it's worthwhile to the firm and how it can help me grow, I get support for that change.  

MDK: Tell us about a favorite client experience.  

Megan: My favorite client experience was a fairly recent one, where we had a client reach out to us. They had formerly worked for one of our timeshare clients, and now they have moved on to another company. They came back to us recently and asked us to help them with their default portfolio. They said they remembered how much they had liked working with us. They were really cheering us on to be the ones that would get the work. It was so nice to hear that they were genuinely excited about MDK, knowing that we could offer them what they really needed. That was so great, and that's exactly the kind of thing that I want to instill when we develop client relationships.

To connect with Megan on LinkedIn, please click here.

This publication is for informational purposes only and does not constitute an opinion of MDK.
Do not rely on this publication without seeking legal counsel.