WESTFIELD, NJ — Mayor Andy Skibitsky introduced resident Meaghan Murphy as the town’s “Chief Spirit Officer” during Tuesday night’s town council meeting. What started off as a meeting at the Farmhouse Store during Downtown Westfield Girls’ Day and Night Out in May turned into a larger conversation, resulting in the title.
The appointment of Murphy aligns closely with the town’s “Westfield First” initiative — a program that encourages residents to spend their dollars in Westfield at shopping, dining and professional service establishments.
“Meaghan is very energetic and she encouraged me to make her the Chief Spirit officer of the Town of Westfield,” said Mayor Skibitsky. “I couldn’t say ‘no’ to her.”
Murphy has lived in Westfield for four years with her husband, Patrick, and three children. She brings a wealth of media experience to the volunteer position with more than 20 years working with prominent publications and media outlets. Currently she is the Executive Editor of Good Housekeeping, a publication with more than 18.4 million subscribers. Murphy is a regular contributor on “The TODAY Show” and “LIVE with Kelly,” where she represents Good Housekeeping magazine.
“As the executive editor of Good Housekeeping, I’ve found that the most effective way to manage a team ... is to come at everything — and I do mean everything —with excitement, enthusiasm and, most importantly, positive energy,” Murphy said. “What if we apply those tactics to town?”
Murphy went on to detail a Girl Power Party that brought Westfield native and “Strong is the New Pretty” author Kate Parker to POE Yoga Studio in Downtown Westfield last week. Local retailers were invited to join the event and included The Town Bookstore, Morano Gelato and Athleta.
“Not only did we create this really inspiring event for our girls, but we also created a really incredible business opportunity,” said Murphy, who hopes to energize the downtown with similar events and initiatives.
To kick off her initiative, Murphy partnered with the Farmhouse Store to create “Bestfield” pillows and dishcloths that are similar to the popular “Westfield” items in the store. Bestfield items are currently available for purchase.
“Let’s just make this the best town we can make it. Let’s call it Bestfield,” said Murphy, before introducing her Bestfield, NJ Facebook page that she created as a destination to celebrate everything that is right in this town. The page was created three days ago and already has 500 followers.
Murphy also made a point to spotlight local beauty expert and Spa owner Lora Condon of Jersey Boutique Spa after a social media post featuring Murphy with one of Condon’s oxygen facial masks garnered over 33,000 views.
Murphy’s next initiative is inspired by neighboring Cranford and their “Crandford Rocks” project. Murphy hand-painted and decorated a series of rocks that featured hometown spirit and motivation. She intends to hide these rocks around town to be discovered by Westfield residents and hopes to encourage local businesses to get involved in the project — even offering Mayor Skibitsky a rock of his own to hide in town.
“If we can spread this positive message and can get excited about our town and bring these kinds of fun, joyful, exciting events, the businesses will follow,” said Murphy. “I am so excited to be your Chief Spirit Officer.”