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I Am Merkle, Vol. 4

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 employee, Sarah Woo.

1. Tell us about yourself; where did you grow up? Where do you live now? 

I am the eLearning Developer within the Talent Development Team for both DAN and Merkle. My role requires me to be creative and analytical at the same time which is what I love about eLearning. Before coming to Merkle, I worked for a national wine retailer as their corporate training lead.

I am a born and bred Marylander. I grew up in Montgomery County and now live in Howard County. I am a Korean American and am blessed to have grown up in the DMV area which allowed my parents to place me in different activities that exposed me to diverse people and experiences. I am now married, and we have two dogs and a cat. My husband and I love working out, specifically, powerlifting. We built our home gym together, but we both agree that we should use it more. Our goal for this year is to compete (not win) in a powerlifting competition. My other passion is music. I’ve been playing piano since I was two and I love all kinds of music.  I also love learning how to play different styles of music.

Sarah Woo

2. What drew you to your current career? 

Similar to many Learning & Development professionals, I never intended to have a career in training. I started working in customer service and operations for other retailers, and training was a small portion of my job. I earned my degree in Communications with the intention of being in public relations, but I realized how much training impacts an organization. I asked my former manager if I could take on a role in training on our immediate team, and I’ve been in Learning & Development ever since.

3. What is your biggest accomplishment? 

I want to say that there are bigger accomplishments that I haven’t achieved yet.  By far, I would say my biggest accomplishment is my health. Several years ago, I lost over 60lbs which kickstarted my overall goal to become healthy. 2019 was a rollercoaster when it came to my health and wellbeing, as I had a cancer scare as well as two miscarriages. But I am grateful that I made it through those things and learned a lot about myself.

4. To date, what has been your biggest learning or teaching moment?

I am constantly learning from my successes, mistakes, and the people around me, but I think one thing that is important is to remember that when you fail or when others fail you, to use it as an opportunity for grace. I think too many times we are harsh on ourselves as well as others and I need to constantly remind myself to use that as a time to learn.

5. What is a moment in your life that defined or shaped who you are today?

The most pivotal moment thus far has been my grandmother passing away. She was a strong woman and I never considered how my life would be without her. She raised my sister and me and she taught us so many invaluable life lessons. I want to say I got my sense of humor and love of cooking and eating from her.

6. What inspires you about your workplace culture?

I would say my team inspires me; they are all so talented and passionate, and it’s an honor that I get to work alongside them.

7. If you currently weren’t doing what you do today professional, what would you be doing? (dream job)

I would be a travel YouTuber, showing my viewers the best unknown places to find the best foods.

8. What was the first concert you went to?

N’Sync. I thought I was their biggest fan; my first concert showed me otherwise.

9. Rapid fire:

Favorite food

Ramen noodles

Favorite TV show/movie TV Show

Favorite TV Show: The Handmaid’s Tale, Favorite Movie: Up

Favorite hobby/activity

Playing piano

Favorite book

Pride & Prejudice

Guilty pleasure

Watching mukbang on YouTube

Best advice or mantra you live by (in your own words)

“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Check out the other blogs in this series here.