The 2019 Top 25 Consultants: Marcie Merriman

Marcie Merriman

EY

Excellence in Leadership

Throughout her career Marcie Merriman says she’s always been sort of an outsider. In the business world she’s a creative. Within the creative-realm, she’s viewed as highly-analytical. Whether in industry, consulting or agencies, she says she’s never quite belonged. “Even personally I’m atypical, I’m a single-mom in a profession where this is far from the norm,” she says. “Rather than viewing this as a challenge, I see it as my superpower. It gives me the ability to see things in a different way—to come at problems from a new direction. The things others overlook, scream out to me as unique or different. However, this would mean little without the trust of those I work with, clients and colleagues, who are willing to reach beyond the typical patterns of success.”

Merriman is Americas Cultural Insights and Consumer Strategy Leader and an Executive Director with EY and works globally to drive business innovation and growth across channels and consumer touchpoints through an intimate understanding of EY’s clients most aspirational customers. Previously, she was President and CEO of PrimalGrowth, a consumer strategy and experience design firm, which was acquired by EY. Merriman has extensive experience working with private equity firms and start-ups focused on growing health and wellness, sport and athletic related businesses and lifestyle brands. 

“I’m most proud of the teams I’ve worked with and the success of the people who have worked for me,” Merriman says. “I can only do so much as one person. When the people who you’ve worked with succeed, there is a multiplier effect. It gives one person the ability to bring more good into the world.”

Merriman has spent her career and life studying culture, society, people and the change that is happening all around. This has given her a unique view on the world and helps her see business opportunities in a different light, she says. 

“This constant challenge and excitement of discovering the unknown and keeping up with the seismic cultural shifts happening around the world drives me forward each day,” Merriman says. “I love learning new things, exploring the unknown and being around people who challenge me. This is what consulting is all about. I’m fortunate to live it every day.”

As far as the “outsider” being recognized as one of the Top 25 Consultants? Merriman says there is a lot of talk about diversity, valuing those that are different and the need for greater creativity in the business world. “For me, this award demonstrates that the leaders of our profession are also going beyond the typical patterns of success by recognizing the value of ‘an outsider,’ ” Merriman says.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? 

Merriman: “In my first job out of college I ran stores for a major toy retailer. I loved the job and thrived on the constantly changing challenges. One day my supervisor unexpectedly visited. We walked the store together and I proudly showed him how well it was running. He said, “That’s great, but how well does the store run when you aren’t here? When the store runs as well when you’re gone—that is when you’re successful.” The light bulb went on. Success wasn’t about me. It was about the team, and empowering them to succeed with or without me.”

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