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. This month, we’re featuring Disha Shah, Crystal Dunn and Crystal Webb from the LIFT program who are at the end of the 9-month program.
DS: I was born and brought up in Mumbai, India where I did my schooling, undergrad, and graduate studies. I moved to Maryland in 2010 and have been living here ever since, loving everything about it and not planning to move anywhere else.
CD: I am a true Texas native, born and raised in the Dallas area. After college at the University of North Texas, my husband and I moved to Frisco where we live now with our two small Schnoodles.
CW: Hello! I am Crystal Webb, born and raised in New Orleans. I lived there through high school and moved to Atlanta in 2000 to attend college at Clark Atlanta University. I’ve been in Atlanta ever
DS: My academic background is in science, but I’ve been drawn towards doing something that involves creativity, communications, and project management. This desire has led to where I am in my career today. I love finding clarity within the chaos and my current role has given me an opportunity to streamline work and ensure seamless completion of my current projects.
CD: I started my career in newspaper advertising sales and quickly realized I had a passion for Project Management. Over the years I also grew an affinity for defining processes. I love finding structure through chaos which led me into my current role in Project Operations.
CW: I was drawn to my career because of the ability to plan and be strategic. Planning and strategic thinking are two of my favorite job functions. I was glad to find an avenue within media that aligned with my skillset and gave me satisfaction.
DS: Efficiently juggling and managing the two aspects of my life, personal and professional, is what I think my biggest accomplishment is. Being a mother of two very active children requires a lot of energy and effort daily. At the same time, managing a demanding and rewarding career requires a fine balancing act daily too, which I think I’m getting better at it every day.
CD: A few years ago, I was asked to spearhead the rollout of a new project system of record. This allowed me to collaborate across multiple workstreams, helping build my business perspective and facilitating an extensive network.
CW: My biggest accomplishment is being resourceful and resilient enough to support myself and stay in Atlanta after graduating college. During college, I didn’t have a job or internship, so when I graduated, it was difficult to land a professional job, but my perseverance eventually paid off.
DS: When one door closes, another one always opens! My life has turned out quite differently from what I had planned – be it my education, my career, or where I would live geographically. However, every time my plan didn’t work, destiny would open a magic door which turned out to be better than what I had originally thought. So, my biggest takeaway is to be happy and content with the way things turn out.
CD: That you are allowed to panic, but only for a little while. I’ve made both personal and professional mistakes that make your heart drop and send chills down your spine. I've learned over time that it’s ok to allow yourself time to freak out, but then you learn and grow from it.
CW: I had a boss who always used to tell me, “It’s okay, we’re not performing heart surgery,” whenever I got stressed about work. That stuck with me and helped me stay calm during any work challenges.
DS: A life changing moment for me would be the year 2010 when I moved to the United States after living in India for 23 years. It was a significant change for me in terms of environment, culture, location, and even weather conditions. However, it also gave me the opportunity to work with diverse people, travel to exotic places, and be closer to nature.
CD: The day I was told my mom had cancer. I immediately wanted to help, and wanted to support her and my family. I was too young to work, so I signed up for as many things around the house as I could. If I didn’t know how, I asked and I learned. Looking back, it was my way of finding order in the chaos.
CW: After college graduation, I took a job with a door-to-door sales company. I hated the job, rarely met quota, and was fired. The owner of the company told me the job wasn’t for me. He was right and it forced me to find the right fit for me, and I’ve been shaped by that experience ever since.
DS: Merkle has an environment where you are given an opportunity to learn, grow, and excel. You are surround by immense talent of smart and humble people who are not only experts in their respective fields but are also open to knowledge sharing. It’s an environment that provides flexibility and promotes teamwork and enabled me to complete my 12-year tenure.
CD: The eagerness to improve. Through Cultural BRGs, Leadership Training, other available programs, and constant moves in our technology, there is a clear commitment to always be better. There is empathy across teams regarding daily administrative struggles and a clear desire from those wanting to help.
CW: I’m inspired by the respect in the Merkle workplace. I feel like my point of view is always valued. Also, there is a culture that sets you up to succeed through career advocates who are the best cheerleaders, rooting you on throughout your journey at Merkle.
DS: The LIFT program has given me a platform to connect with very smart and talented people who otherwise wouldn’t have been part of my network. It also provided an opportunity to reflect on my strengths, how to overcome my saboteurs, focus on building my individual brand and my personal vision.
CD: The affirmations of my emotions. As strong, intelligent woman, we are often seen by others as the leaders that portray clear confidence. It’s the targeted image, but not always the most accurate representation of what is below the surface. It’s nice to know you are not alone.
CW: I find the dedicated time towards personal development via one-on-one and group coaching to be the most rewarding. In my day-to-day role, it’s difficult to find focus time and resources for this. The LIFT program makes it a priority for not only the cohort, but the leadership team too.
DS: Rihanna’s concert in 2012. It started 3 hrs late, but the music and magic that she created was worth the wait.
CD: A Tejano Music Festival... but the second was a hip hop festival and the third was NSYNC. I'm a music lover.
CW: As a pre-teen, I saw Usher perform at an event in New Orleans called Teen Summit.
DS: My current job is my true ‘calling’ - my dream job. I thoroughly enjoy what I do and truly believe that it is something that I was always meant to do.
CD: I’d own a single building and run a coffee shop by day and a pool hall by night. My two personal passions combined: coffee and billiards.
CW: My dream job would be event planning and design in the entertainment industry. I could see myself designing the set of Watch What Happens Live on Bravo. LOL.
CD: Gorditas de Picadillo
CW: Gumbo (but not anybody’s gumbo)
Favorite TV show/movie
DS: Game of Thrones
CD: Grey’s Anatomy
CW: Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella
CD: Shooting pool, I play weekly in a league.
DS: P.S. I Love You
CD: Hunger Games Series, book 2, Catching Fire
CW: Atomic Habits
DS: Ice cream
CD: Hostess chocolate donuts (yes, the waxy ones)
CW: Wine and chocolate chip cookies
Best advice or mantra you live by
DS: Live life to the fullest!
CD: “Do or do not, there is no try.”
CW: Nothing works unless you do.