The One Where We Meet a Human of AMA Alumni: Kristina Meeker

Hey AMA!

Today, I want to introduce you to someone that I met through Texas AMA’s mentorship program, who just five years ago sat where you are today. AMA might have looked different then, but the fun, friendly, and amazing people who make up AMA could not be more similar! I’m beyond excited to share her story and connect the different generations of our growing AMA family. 

Meet Kristina.

When you first meet her, you’ll notice her bubbly, joyful, personality. You already know she loves people, consumers, and dinosaur eggs (more on that later). 

Kristina graduated from the University of Texas in 2015 with a Marketing major and an Advertising minor. Post graduation, she worked at Kimberly-Clark and now is a Category Manager at PepsiCo. 

Why did you choose marketing?

I learned so truly from Kristina that marketers care about people. If there’s one thing I admire most about her, it’s her compassion: 

“I had an amazing professor for MKT 337, Bill Peterson. I fell in love with the way he described what marketing was. It was about truly understanding the consumer and caring about their needs. Back in the day, what people did was come up with a product and try to push it out to consumers. Now, marketing starts with the consumer– first with understanding their needs, then meeting them to make their lives better.” 

What was your experience in AMA like?

“AMA has grown since I was in school. I was Historian my sophomore year, VP of Programming my Junior year, and then President senior year. It’s so crazy how when I became President, there were 5 people, 6 people in the organization. It is so cool to see how y’all have taken it to a completely other level.”

“I loved learning about different aspects of marketing and all the various industries within it. Because of Texas AMA, I decided to go into CPG (consumer-packaged goods). I got exposure to CPG and everything under that umbrella, which allowed me to realize my passions!”

Of course, Kristina had to bring up other humans in AMA:

“It was so fun to interact with people with different goals and interests within the realm of marketing. Whether it was working with people who were more on the advertising and graphic design side or those who were into analytics or ecommerce, the variety of skills and passions taught me so much.”

What does your job look like now?

“Well with COVID — besides COVID… No one really knows what a category manager is, but it is essentially someone who works with the salesperson on a customer team. I am in charge of certain retailers– like H-E-B, for example. I work with a salesperson internally at PepsiCo and the buyer at H-E-B, take a look at the data and figure out both how the category and PepsiCo brands can grow.”

“Every day looks different! The year certainly repeats, since we have category reviews where I do analytics on pricing, shelving, merchandising, and assortment — the four P’s of marketing. I ensure that everything is working out well for PepsiCo, and I plan for the next year.”

What is your favorite brand?

“Quaker Oatmeal. Simply because I have vivid memories of eating oatmeal dino eggs as a child for breakfast before I headed to school.”

I interrupt here, since I have never heard of “oatmeal dino eggs.” Kristina clarified that they are little eggs made of sugar in your oatmeal, and when you pour hot milk or water into it, they dissolve to reveal a little dinosaur.”

“I like the fact that I get to work on a brand that impacts my life and make true, meaningful memories. Just like those little dinosaur eggs.”

Do you have any advice or words to live by?

“One of the big things is: don’t be afraid to take risks. I know everyone says that. Maybe I should rephrase. Don’t be afraid to deviate from your original plan. A lot of us go into school saying, ‘I am going to do this, work at that company,’ etc. Make a plan and implement it, but if things go a different way, let it! It might be a whole lot better than you think. There are so many other things you can do that are beyond your original plan. Be open to it.”

In Kristina’s words, “life is beautiful!” Trust the process and be open to all the opportunities ahead.

BY GRACE LI

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