Me In Merkle is a series of interviews that showcase the incredible individuals who make Merkle a unique and diverse place to work. This week we chatted to Melissa Robinson, senior decisioning architect, at Merkle.
1. Tell us about yourself. Where did you grow up and where do you live now?
Hi, I’m Melissa! I was born in the northwest of England and spent the first 7 years of my life living in Greater Manchester before myself, my parents and two younger brothers made the move to the West Midlands and a place called Telford in Shropshire for my dad’s job. I have lived here ever since!
2. What drew you to your current career?
My dad had a career in Information Technology and was very interested in computers, so growing up we always had a computer in the house and I became quite tech savvy!
I started my career as an admin assistant at a large IT company in Telford at the age of 19. University was not something that appealed to me, and I just wanted to get stuck into work life after college. I soon wanted to progress into something where I could challenge myself a bit more and signed up for an apprenticeship within the company and was placed in a role as a COBOL programmer (yes that old computing language which first appeared in 1959!!! This was the late 2000s by the way so I’m not that old!) I completed my apprenticeship and the system I was working on was being retired. A manager of mine mentioned that they knew of another team within the company who were using this new high tech programming tool called PEGA and were looking to build up their capability. I met the team and had a demo of PEGA (5.4 I think was the version at the time) and thought it was great, with COBOL you had to write rafts of code whereas here was this new PEGA tool where you didn’t actually have to write much code at all! That was 14 years ago, and I’ve been working with PEGA software ever since!
3. Why Merkle?
I’d heard of the company as I knew a few people here from my days working with them at the company in Telford. After previously working with clients in both the government and insurance sectors, I thought getting some experience in the marketing area would be really interesting and I also wanted to expand my knowledge of PEGA products and learn more about decisioning and how this capability can be leveraged by companies to engage with their customers.
4. Tell us a bit about your experience so far with Merkle.
I’ve been here 9 months now and it’s definitely not been dull! Since starting I have been working with a high-profile banking client to build a new 1:1 Operations Manager application. This has been particularly interesting as it is fairly new software from PEGA systems. This extends the standard Revision Management capabilities of Pega Customer Decision Hub by providing a simple process for the users to make their business changes. During this project I have been able to utilise my experience with the PEGA Platform tool while also picking up knowledge of the Decision Hub and Revision Management. I have also had the opportunity to work closely with the client as well as our PEGA suppliers to help shape the application and deliver a solution which best fits the needs of our client.
5. What would your advice be to somebody considering a career in your team?
Don’t be afraid to try something new! If you already know PEGA then it’s fairly intuitive to pick up decisioning and the team are very helpful, and you will be given as much support as you need. Also, even if you don’t know PEGA that well but you have an interest in the software and learning more then there is plenty of training available, you just need to have the right attitude and determination.
6. What is your greatest accomplishment?
Apart from my children 😊 I think it would have to be that I’m proud of how far I’ve come in my career so far. I learn best through working on the job and during the years alongside my work I have done an apprenticeship, gained a Foundation Degree in Computing and also achieved various PEGA certifications.
7. What inspires you about Merkle’s workplace culture?
I love that it is so inclusive and welcoming. Everyone is friendly and supportive of each other! Also, I like the fact that there is the opportunity to progress whether it be with training or whether you want to move into another role within the company, it’s possible to do that, there are options.
8. What was your dream job growing up?
I actually really wanted to be an author when I was in Primary school. I loved to read and would write lots of my own little stories and then take them to school to read to the class at story time! After that, I wanted to work in Television Production and studied Media Studies at college.
9. How do you like your eggs?
Poached with avocado on toast!
10. What are you currently watching on Netflix/Prime?
Not on Netflix or Prime but I’m currently watching the new Games of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon on Sky!
11. What’s your guilty pleasure?
Ben and Jerry’s ice cream!
12. What is your dream holiday destination?
I am getting married next year so we’re thinking of somewhere like the Maldives, it just looks beautiful! As well as that, I have such fond memories of Disney World in Florida from when I went as a child so I’m determined to take my own children one day soon so they can experience it too but I’m waiting until they are old enough to enjoy all the rides!
13. Best advice or mantra you live by?
I heard a saying once which has stuck with me ever since, it was “The only real failure in life is the failure to try.”