Founder & Principal
Megan has spent her career dedicated to community growth and development, land and water conservation and restoration, food and farming systems, housing, transportation, and access to nature and outdoor recreation. Pairing her professional experience in community and organizational development with a personal zeal for building trust, openness, and clarity in governance and decision-making, Megan founded Parallel Solutions in 2014.
Before launching Parallel Solutions, Megan worked from 2007-2014 at the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy where she served as Associate Director and Director of Development for one of Michigan's largest land trusts. She managed the organization's staff and operations, guided the strategic protection of significant natural and farm lands and stewardship efforts, led the fundraising team and campaigns, built and nurtured relationships with individual donors and foundations, and collaborated with partners to create and enhance public access to nature and recreation at places like Glacial Hills Pathway and Natural Area, Maple Bay Park and Natural Area, Arcadia Marsh, and Acme Township's Bayside Park.
From 1999-2007, Megan worked at Networks Northwest as a planner, then as Regional Planning Director. While there she developed land use, transportation, housing, and economic development plans, coordinated education for local officials, and supported and facilitated inter-jurisdictional and local decision-making.
Megan served as an advisor on the development of the Michigan Water Trails Manual in 2017 and co-authored the Conservation Millage Toolkit in collaboration with the Huron River Watershed Council in 2018.
In addition to serving clients directly, Megan offers consultation regarding strategy and decision-making, governance, partnerships and collaboration, and meeting design and facilitation to eligible non-profits as a member of the Capacity Advisory Pool hosted by Rotary Charities of Traverse City. She provides additional consultation to community leaders through Rotary's Systems Change coaching team.
She currently volunteers her time as the President of the board of directors of Paddle Antrim, as Treasurer of the board of SEEDS Ecology & Education Centers, and as the Chair of the board of Commonplace, a community innovation hub and co-working space in Traverse City, Michigan. Megan also serves as a member of Common Cents Capital, a private member-managed investor group making micro-loans to "triple bottom line" local businesses. She is a past board member of Michigan’s Complete Streets Advisory Council, of the Michigan Association of Planning, and of the Homestretch Non-profit Housing Corporation.
Megan is a 1999 graduate of Miami University (Ohio) where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Geography and a Bachelor of Philosophy degree from the School of Interdisciplinary Studies/Western College Program, and completed her thesis work focused on local food systems. She earned a Master of Arts in Organizational Management from Spring Arbor University, and pursued additional training in mediation, conflict resolution, mindfulness, and workplace diversity. She was recognized by the Traverse City Business News as a "40 Under 40" leader in 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012, and as one of the region's "50 Leading Women in Business" in 2017. She was awarded the Roger Williams Planner Award for Excellence in the Professional Field of Planning by Grand Traverse County in 2005.
Megan lives in Traverse City, Michigan with her daughters. In her free time, you can find her out on the trails, kayaking, gardening, reading, or writing.
From 2001-2021, Megan’s professional work was accomplished and credited as Megan Olds.
Parallel Solutions often works alongside other professionals or builds teams to meet a client's needs. Depending on the scope of an effort, Parallel Solutions may suggest a collaboration or make a referral to other professionals.