I Am Merkle is a series of interviews that showcase the individuals who make Merkle a unique and diverse place to work. This month, learn more about our featured employees and leaders of the Military pillar, Madison Sloan, Pam Hamor, and Danielle Block.
1. What drew you to your current career?
Madison: I have been in the agency space since I began my career with a short stint on the brand side. I wore many hats at previous jobs, so when I came to Merkle I was able to focus on digital messaging. I started my Merkle journey on the account team as a Senior Account Coordinator and then moved into the Account Manager role. During this time, I was able to work with our brilliant SFMC experts and realized I loved the technical aspect of the projects we were assigned. I recently made the switch to the technical team to work as a SFMC Architect.
Pam: I was drawn to Merkle because I wanted to learn new things and be surrounded by really smart people! I’ve worked with non-profit organizations for the last 20+ years and I was able to continue that work at Merkle. I’m so proud of the impact our clients make from a health and humanitarian perspective around the globe, and I’m thrilled to be able to support their missions and make an impact.
Danielle: I have been in the agency world since 2006, and when it was time for a change back in 2015 I saw that all of the smartest people I knew in the industry had recently started working at Merkle. For the first five years at Merkle, I worked really closely with great people on the Samsung team and a really strong client partner. Ultimately, I followed in his foot-steps and was promoted to Client Partner. I love our clients and internal teams, and I believe we have world-class solutions. It is because of our culture that I recently found myself in a client growth role working to strategically grow Merkle revenue and drive business impact for our clients.
2. What inspired you to become a part of DEI?
Madison: I have thoroughly enjoyed working at Merkle and have made some of my best friends here. The culture is so unique, and we truly have some of the best and brightest in the digital space. I joined DEI to help grow the culture and extend a warm welcome to those who have been here for years, and new faces alike.
Pam: I believe that DEI brings people together and highlights the differences that individuals bring to the group to make us stronger. I believe that it is very important to respect each other as individuals, and there is so much we can learn from the experiences of others and understanding other cultures.
Danielle: Company culture is very important to me. I love Merkle and I want other people to love it too. Anything that I can do to further advance company culture, including participating in DEI, mentorship programs, promoting recognition through Merkle traditions like the Merkle Awards and through the dentsu Innovation Award judging, is an important use of my time.
3a. What sparked your interest and involvement with the Military Pillar?
Madison: My boyfriend is a green beret in the Army. I got my start at Merkle in the Denver office, but recently he had to relocate to another state. With that relocation, I am in the process of becoming a full-time remote employee to join him. The switch from an in-office employee to full-time remote employee can be daunting. I want to extend a helping hand to anyone going through something similar.
Pam: My family has had a lifelong legacy of service in the military (primarily the Army). I feel that although these brave women and men serve our country, when they are released from the military they become a forgotten part of society. I believe a company as large as Merkle/dentsu can do their part to help military personnel thrive after they have served.
Danielle: My boyfriend is an officer in the Coast Guard. I started working at Merkle when I moved to Denver in 2015 and I loved being in the office, but when it was time for re-location in 2019 to Saint Petersburg, Florida, I was worried that I would not be allowed to transition to a remote employee. I want to remove that fear for others through policy change and advocacy.
b. What are some of the Military Pillar’s goals in 2021?
Madison: Building a supportive community for all those within the Military community and the rest of DEI.
Danielle: Hiring initiatives for veterans, reservists and their spouses, policy change, and building a community are some of our goals.
c. What 2021 Military initiatives and events are you most looking forward to?
Madison: I am most looking forward to building a support system for others at Merkle. I am excited to watch this pillar grow in conjunction with the rest of the DEI initiatives!
Pam: Meeting others at Merkle who have similar circumstances so that we can support each other and partnering with other pillars. The military is reflective of all of our other DEI initiatives.
Danielle: Meeting others at Merkle who have similar circumstances so that we can support each other and partnering with other pillars. The military is reflective of all of our other DEI initiatives.
4. What is a moment in your life that defined or shaped who you are today?
Madison: I grew up with a mom who always accomplished everything she set her mind to, whether it was starting a new business or learning something new. She taught me to be curious and learn as much as I can from those around me. I would not be where I am today without her inquisitive nature.
Pam: At times my father worked multiple jobs to support his family (farmer, railroad, selling firewood). He never complained – he just worked hard and had a smile and a good word for everyone he met. His work ethic and interactions with others are something I’m very proud of and try to emulate on an ongoing basis.
Danielle: I’m a little sister and when I was growing up, I was always competing in sports with my older brother and the boys who were bigger, faster, and stronger than me. That turned me into a fierce and feisty competitor. I still have that drive today.
5. To date, what has been your biggest learning or teaching moment?
Madison: Recently, my biggest learning moment has been the quote ”It’s only like this for now.” Whether it’s work stress, a big move, life changes or something smaller, it is only like this for now. It can be good or bad, but life changes so quickly so you need to soak up the moment you are in.
Pam: While working for a previous employer I learned that “life isn’t always fair”. I’ll save you the details, but the experience taught me that sometimes you need to listen to your gut and move on – it is better to be uncomfortable and growing than to be comfortable and stagnant.
6. What inspires you about your workplace culture?
Madison: I learn something new every day from the people I work with. It is so easy to build lasting friendships with those here at Merkle and the culture really encourages that.
Pam: That everyone is so darn smart! Nine years in and I’m still amazed on a daily basis by the brilliance of individuals on the team!
Danielle: I love working with smart people and having fun with the people I work with.
7. Rapid fire:
a. Favorite food
Madison: Spring Rolls from Young’s Café in Fort Collins, CO
Danielle: New York Pizza, specifically a cheese slice from Joe’s Pizza
b. Favorite musician
Madison: Tyler Childers
Pam: Impossible to pick one!
Danielle: Dave Matthews Band
c. Favorite TV show/movie
Madison: TV Show: Schitt’s Creek, Movie: All the Lord of the Rings movies
Pam: Shawshank Redemption
Danielle: The Challenge
d. Favorite hobby/activity
Madison: Anything outside like hiking, playing with our dog, and going to the beach/lake to read a good book
Danielle: Working out
e. Favorite book
Madison: I have too many! Right now I would say The Guest List by Lucy Foley, The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn, and In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
Pam: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
Danielle: This year so far it is Wolfpack by Abby Wambach
f. Guilty pleasure
Madison: Listening to true crime podcasts
Pam: Watching investigative/true crime shows
g. Best advice or mantra you live by (in your own words)
Madison: "Be somebody who makes everybody feel like a somebody."
Pam: The Golden Rule!