Meg Charles-Horn: Awaken that childlike willingness to explore, ask questions, and do.
Chances are, you’ve heard the phrase ‘think outside the box,’ but have you ever stopped to consider where that box came from, what’s in it, and who created it in the first place? CEO and founder of FRAME Advisory, Meg Charles-Horn, has made it her life’s work to help clients and new businesses break out of boxes and constraints, whether they are self-created or imposed by others, either by accident or design.
With a background in telecommunications and law, Meg spent much of her adult life trying to break out of her own boxes, whether those were familial expectations surrounding her career choice, her race, her role as the eldest daughter of Haitian parents, or her being the first black female attorney to be promoted from associate to full equity partner at her law firm in the mid-1990s. She chose to specialize in telecommunications because it was a new area of law, in which she could be part of establishing the rules of a newly competitive sector. Working as a lawyer, particularly with start-ups in the ever-evolving communications sector, allowed Meg to discover her passion.
“It was an opportunity to really get involved,” Meg told Sonophilia. “I was advising them on the law, regulations, and policy, but also helping them to craft and develop their businesses. That was the part that was exciting to me… working backwards tactically to make their vision a reality… I was able to contribute to creating new enterprises and delivering new services to improve society.”
This is how FRAME Advisory came about. In the midst of a ‘Now what?’ moment, the FRAME System helps new companies and businesses answer three questions: Who do you want to be? Where do you want to go? How will you get there? FRAME is an acronym that answers such questions via focused review, assessment, mapping, and execution and evaluation. After leaving the practice of law and the formal corporate environment, Meg referred to FRAME as “a distillation” of her life’s journey from a career perspective.
“Think of [FRAME Advisory] in terms of taking a picture with a camera,” she said. “The camera provides a frame, but you choose what to focus on within that frame. You can take the same picture, but… if you focus on another section of the frame, the perspective and what is communicated is different. So FRAME is really about… leveraging and synthesizing my legal knowledge and experience, my global management experience, my ability to see the whole picture and focus on the pieces necessary to achieve the goal.
The concept of breaking out of boxes is about being seen as an individual, without the constraints of what should be or what has always been. In essence, this is precisely what attracted Meg to Sonophilia. In a business and entrepreneurial context, Meg explained it’s “about seeing the authentic ‘what is’ and asking ‘what could be better,’ if we unleashed our collective creativity.”
Sonophilia is all about forging alliances with people in the creative realm, whether they’re artists, writers, or industry leaders in the field of technology. In terms of leadership, Meg said Sonophilia is “about understanding the intersectionality… bridging the cultures and understanding that technology affords us a lot of great opportunities… Sonophilia is a great vehicle to be engaged with people who are thinking beyond the now and thinking about how [to] come together and harness the potential of technology without the total destruction of humanity… It is about innovative ways of thinking and the new version of leadership that will come into play.”
Meg’s involvement with other members of the Sonophilian Network has mainly been discussion-oriented, with people seeking her advice on their transitional career phases, giving her an opportunity to offer her expertise with the FRAME System. In fact, she has spent several months working with the founder of Sonophilia Seda Röder, to convert Sonophilia into a formal nonprofit organization and contributing to a problem-solving project called Matters. Global off the ground. They’ve been collaborating on the mission statement, developing a structure for membership, and most importantly, creating an organizational framework for Sonophilians across the globe.
“Depending on the country or the region, there are some specific aspects of issues that are going to have a very local nature to them… How does that contribute to the global whole? We’re in the process of really trying to document that and develop the right approach.”
Creative solutions aren’t one size fits all, nor are they short term processes. They’re ever-growing, ever-evolving, and open mindsets, allowing for different perspectives and ideas to coalesce and make a whole. There’s no precise right answer. For Meg, creative leadership entails setting aside arrogance and having the capability to also follow, to synthesize and discern who the stakeholders are and recognize the larger vision that will take people forward.