This month, the Merkle Americas DEI Team is putting a spotlight on the leads of the Enablement Group, particularly those from the Mental Health & Wellness Affinity Groups for Stress Awareness Month. April is Stress Awareness Month and they will be launching Q2's new Motivation Monday's Series focusing on Emotional Intelligence and are in the midst of planning for May's Mental Health Awareness Month. In this edition, we get to know Jas Singh and Amanda Bleich
JS: I was born in India and came to the USA when I was 16. I now live in New Jersey
AB: I grew up in Manhasset Hills, NY, but spent a lot of time commuting to Manhattan to pursue a professional dance career. I lived in West Hollywood (Los Angeles County), CA from August 2014 until April 2021 when I moved to Sarasota, Florida where I currently reside.
JS: Although I started in software development, opportunities along the way led me to where I am today in marketing technology.
From my years of Zen training, I learned the importance of experience. Now I enjoy bringing both marketing and technology together by helping our clients drive better customer experiences.
AB: Getting into advertising and media was more of a recommendation of a family member who worked in the industry. When I graduated college, I was hoping to use my French degree and worked at a French investment bank in NYC. I was completely out of my element. She made that suggestion, and I made a move in the next few weeks.
JS: My biggest learning was to be able to shift from a limited to a growth mindset: to view my life as a journey where I can acknowledge and embrace my imperfections; take everyday challenges as opportunities, instead of seeing mistakes as “failures” see them as “learnings”, be resilient and finally; always be in Chardi Kala (grateful & optimistic).
AB: For me, the most impactful moment was working the graveyard shift at an Amazon warehouse during the pandemic. I met some of the kindest people ever. Most of them were working 2-3 jobs to support their families and they had to forgo sleep. It was truly eye opening to see what the reality that many people face.
JS: Reading the book “Becoming Your Own Therapist and Make Your Mind an Ocean” by Lama Yeshe helped me to view life as full of opportunities and be more optimistic. Instead of a viewing it as struggle or challenging, it opened me to a view that whatever is happening is not happening to me but for me.
Further to have access to techniques like meditation or mindfulness I can be present and know that I am not by body or thoughts but one who experiences and is aware.
AB: I think that the example above not only opened my eyes but changed my view so much. It really allowed me to understand my own privilege quite well. In addition, I had been working for a company for a few years. Shortly after they declared bankruptcy, I lost my job and did not receive severance. The situation has since left me scarred and forever changed.
JS: When it comes to culture, I feel that having a company culture statement is not enough. We need to reflect on what those words mean, take an oath, and then live the culture with our behaviors and actions.
I feel that as individuals and leaders, each one of us can make a difference by bringing our values and what is important to us.
AB: There is a great deal of support, compassion, and openness here.
JS: I joined the Mental health group in 2019 and helped to relook at our mission statement; we added Wellness as an additional focus area that I am passionate about. As a founding member, I am co-lead of our Wellness group in Enablement BRG.
Also, I lead an ongoing program, “Motivational Mondays,” where Merkle and denstu employees meet every Monday at 8:30 am & 1:00 pm EST.
AB: I am becoming the co-lead of the Wellness BRG. For over a year, I have been involved in leading our Wellness Wednesdays with yoga and stretching.
JS: On April 17th we kicked off our Motivational Monday’s new series “Improve your Emotional Intelligence”
Emotional intelligence (otherwise known as emotional quotient or EQ ) is the ability to understand, use, and manage your own emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges, and defuse conflict.
AB: Yes, a series on EQ – Emotional Intelligence. I am also starting to think about some fun ways to engage in-person in August focusing on the mind-body connection. Stay tuned!
JS: Pause & Breathe: When life throws a curveball or when I notice stress, anxiety, or am feeling overwhelmed, I take a pause and simply breathe. No matter what is happening there is 1, 20, or 30 seconds for this.
I also remind myself that this will pass and in 1 month, 6 months, or a year from now, this will not matter. If I have more time, I practice meditation, mindfulness, or simply take a walk-in nature.
Gratitude: I start and end my day with gratitude and especially in stressful times, remind myself of what I have; that I am alive.
AB: A major focal point of my life is my yoga practice. In addition to teaching at 2 yoga studios (outside of Dentsu/Merkle), I try to commit to 5-6 hot yoga classes a week. Stepping onto my yoga mat in a hot and humid room challenges me mind, body, and soul. I have been dedicating myself to this practice for over 10 years, and it has been such a blessing.
JS: I would be a “Chief Zen Officer” or “Chief Wellness Officer” focusing on wellness which I am passionate about. Help improve well-being, reduce burnout, promote holistic health by helping everyone unlock and live their purpose. And in this way, we can all bring our best to work and be fulfilled.
AB: Advocating for human trafficking survivors – working with both law enforcement and legislators. (Expansion of my volunteer advocacy work).