Chief Marketing and Experience Officer
From marketing to guest services, Meghan Curran leads Shedd’s efforts to promote and deliver outstanding experiences to 2 million annual guests.
B.S., advertising, University of Illinois
“My favorite exhibit is Wild Reef. I love the way the space immerses you and makes you feel like you're under water. It's one of the most peaceful, colorful and beautiful places in the building, with an amazingly diverse and fascinating collection.”
Meghan Curran provides strategic leadership to the organization’s focus on promoting and delivering outstanding guest-centric services and experiences. A member of the executive leadership team, she is responsible for the aquarium’s marketing, online communications, brand management, sales operations, audience research and interpretive efforts.
Curran and her team of 175 staff members are responsible for cultivating the organization’s close to 2 million guests each year, maintaining Shedd's position as one of the most-attended aquariums in the United States and the top-attended cultural organization in Chicago. Under her leadership, the marketing, guest experience and sales teams work together to provide an exceptional and seamless guest experience at all touch points – on site, online and outside of Shedd’s doors.
With a proven track record for assessing and leveraging audience insight to drive brand and experience, Curran has played a prominent role in building and advancing Shedd’s brand and reputation over the last 15 years. She was a driving force in the creation of Shedd’s in-house marketing agency—a unique feature for a cultural institution and one that has developed and cultivated Shedd’s brand since its inception—and is integral to ensuring audience insights are infused throughout aquarium strategic planning efforts to develop and promote guest-centric experiences that align with Shedd’s mission, including Polar Play Zone, the One World aquatic presentation and special exhibts Jellies, Lizards and the Komodo King, Sea Star Quest and Amphibians.
During her tenure, Curran has also worked consistently to grow the aquarium’s understanding of its guests. She provides oversight to the audience research and evaluation team, and played a leadership role in the implementation of an aquarium-wide customer relationship management system to provide deeper insights and tools for support to various areas of the organization from ticketing to learning programs.
A member of the executive committee for the International Council of Museums; Marketing and Public Relations Committee (ICOM MPR), Curran is also a past chair of the Trends Committee and a past member of the Marketing Committee for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). She has presented on a wide-range of topics as a desired speaker for national and international associations and industry groups, including the American Alliance of Museums, Museums and the Web, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Annual Conference and Career Development School, the International Council of Museums Marketing and PR Conference, Northwestern University’s Museum Studies program and Ohio State University’s Fisher School of Business. Most recently, she has earned awards for Shedd in marketing effectiveness from AZA, for best website and best social media campaign from the Illinois Governor’s Conference, and for best practices in social media from the Association of Midwest Museums.
Before joining Shedd in 2001, Curran worked with the Chicago Creative Partnership, where Shedd became one of her clients in addition to other well-established organizations. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in advertising from the University of Illinois. Curran also is a former board member of the Irish American Heritage Center.