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2022 IWD: Celebrating Influential Women at Merkle

At Merkle, we pride ourselves on providing equal opportunities to the people we work with, allowing anyone the chance to grow within the company. So naturally, for International Women’s Day, we didn’t need to look far to find inspiring women worth recognizing.

We interviewed four women leaders at Merkle that inspire our organization every day to understand some of the things that they love and advice they would give to others. Read on to see how each of them responded.

The four leaders interviewed are:

Erin Hutchinson, Chief Marketing Officer

Margie Chiu, Client Strategy Lead

Anne-Marie Schaffer, EVP, Retail Vertical Lead

Tracie Kambies, Global Analytics Lead

What advice do you have for young women in this industry?

EH: Work hard. Be open to learn from those around you. Be humble and be a great collaborator. 

MC: Have a “yes” mindset. That doesn’t mean saying yes to everyone, it simply means to start from a place where you are comfortable with the unknown. This is how you will learn and grow. Get past the fear of failure and negative self-talk. Instead, be open to new ideas, experiences, and challenges.

AS: I believe one of the most important roles a young woman can play is to be the CEO of her own career. As CEO, you set the vision for your career ambitions and are the one person who will navigate the decisions you make throughout your career. Start thinking about your career like you would if you were running a business, considering the following questions: How would you build your brand? What differentiates you from your competition? How would you market yourself? What risks would you take to grow and progress? What learning gaps do you have and how would you fill in those gaps, through education, mentorship, or experience? Ultimately, be your own best advocate.

TK: Be brave, be curious, and be authentic. Don’t let any internal voice or external voice of negativity deter you.

What is your favorite book and why?

EH: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I read this book while I was on a survival school trip – 10 days in the wilderness with next to nothing, and we were allowed to bring one book and this one had been recommended. It made me think about my personal journey, how we make decisions throughout our journey, and how an individual journey is part of a bigger plan and story.

MC: The book I always recommend to new consultants is The Trusted Advisor. Often, we assume early in our career that being an expert and having the right answer is enough. This book is a good reminder of the importance of soft skills, including communication, collaboration, empathy, and sincerity. 

AS: Since high school, I have read Catcher in the Rye almost every year. Having grown up with an older brother who had mental illness and difficulty in the “adult world,” I developed a fondness for Holden Caufield and the world he created in his mind. Holden was a very confused young man yet had an innocence about him that made you hope for him to figure things out. It was the same hope I had for my brother as he navigated his own complex adulthood.

TK: As a young girl, it was Little Women and Anne of Green Gables. Louisa May Alcott and Anne were both fearless and curious young women not afraid to forge their paths and go after what they wanted. As a leader, there are so many books, but one book that truly changed my leadership style was reading Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin, a story of how Abraham Lincoln selected and worked with his cabinet. In many cases, they were competition to him on his road to president, but he leveraged each of them to bring a full understanding and set of perspectives that, in turn, made him a more informed leader in tune with the country and what impact he would make.

What are 3 things you can’t get through your day without?

EH: Hugs from my kids, coffee, my phone.

MC: Kindle Paperwhite (I read every night to wind down), Peanut M&Ms (because I’m a hopeless sugar addict), exercise (so hard to stay active when working from home and because Peanut M&Ms).

AS: Lemon water, my standing desk, and my Barry’s Bootcamp app.

TK: Coffee, a workout (of any kind), and time to read (it calms my mind before sleeping).

What is your favorite motivational mantra?

EH: I have 3! 😊

  • Just one small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day.
  • There is no one way to do life.
  • Always be grateful.

MC: I don’t have a mantra, but one of my favorite quotes is “Everything will be okay in the end. If it is not okay, it's not the end.”

AS: I gotta have more cowbell! (For Merkle’s Chief Growth Officer, Owen McCorry, cowbell = pipeline)

TK: Fight the good fight and keep your faith.