August 9, 2022

Achieving Authentic Transformation with Nike's Greg Merrill

On this episode of Navigating Forward, host Lisa Thee sits down with Greg Merrill, Senior Director for Digital Transformation at Nike. Greg shares his background and professional journey as an entrepreneur, co-founding companies like Green Source Energy, Austin Rubber Company, and Austin Footwear Company. Greg and Lisa discuss the importance of authenticity in the workplace, and the role of empathy and compassion in leadership - crucial to building trust among teams while navigating transformation and change.


Intro: (00:02)
At a crossroads of uncertainty and opportunity. how do you navigate forward? This podcast focuses on making smart choices in a rapidly changing world. We investigate the challenges of being at a crossroads and finding the opportunities that arise out of disruption. Listen, in on future forward conversations with the brightest luminaries, movers and shakers, let's navigate forward together and create what's next.

Lisa Thee: (00:24)
Hello everyone. And welcome to the Navigating Forward podcast. My name is Lisa Thee, and I'll be your host today. We love to interview luminaries, movers and shakers about the most interesting trends that are happening in business and society. And today we have the luxury of introducing you to Greg Merrill. Greg is currently the senior director for digital transformation at Nike, with a successful history as an entrepreneur co-founding companies, including Green Source Energy, Austin Rubber Company, and Austin Footwear Company. So thank you so much for joining us today on our podcast, Greg.

Greg Merrill: (00:58)
Oh, yeah. Happy to be here, Lisa. Thank you so much for the invite and you know, we've known each other for a little while. I'm excited to get to talk to you in this format as well.

Lisa Thee: (01:09)
You know, every time we've talked, we've always started from where you are today. I'm looking forward to learning a little bit more about how you became who you are today. So

Greg Merrill: (01:16)

Lisa Thee: (01:17)
So can you tell us a little bit about your background, maybe if there's something from your childhood, you think that shaped the work you're doing today?

Greg Merrill: (01:23)
Hmm. Yeah. So I will maybe not go all the way back to the beginning, but hit you with some of the highlights. So grew up mostly up and down the east coast. my father was in the military and so we moved around quite a bit, was born in the Boston area, which is where, you know my mom's side of the family was from, but then we moved around quite a bit. The family kind of, you know, laid roots within the Washington DC area as well. But, and growing up my formative years, I spent in Southern Spain, which was a, obviously a fantastic opportunity and, you know, grow at the time, moving around every two to three years was so difficult. And I just remember it being so hard, especially on me. You know, I had two, two brothers older and a younger sister.

Greg Merrill: (02:09)
And for whatever reason, as I think back on those times, why was it so easier for them? And, I don't know that it was, or if that was just my perception, but you know what I will tell you now, what I think has carried through in my, you know, in the rest of my life and in my professional career is my ability to drop into new places, unknown places with unknown people, incredible amount of ambiguity and complexity. And from there build something very quickly and where that comes from and where I've taken that to is my ability to connect with people. And I think you'll find the common thread throughout my, my career has been, you know, my ability to quickly jump in with strangers, make friends and, and build some strong trust and respect and rapport that has helped kind of people come together to do hard things. And that's, I think as we talked today, you'll hear, I like doing hard things and only we can only do hard things when we come together as, as human beings first, and unite around a common vision. So anyway, looking back that, growing up and moving around, and being in new situations was really hard, but I think it's paying dividends now in my life and my career and kind of what brings me happiness.

Lisa Thee: (03:32)
So I'm hearing a theme of adaptability, that comes from having a lot of change growing up and your ability to connect with people on an authentic level, because you consistently had to learn how to reconnect, with new groups of people over your childhood. Is that correct?

Greg Merrill: (03:50)
Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. And I think on that adaptability, I think of most things in sort of in spectrums, right? So, you know, black and white or whatever, whatever the spectrum you wanna look at, I don't love good and bad. And like, I, you know, I have three daughters. I don't even use that with them. I think it's so subjective. And rather than making the good choice, let's, let's make the kind choice, right. Let's make the empathetic or the compassionate choice. But anyway, so on those spectrums, when I think about where I fall, you know, and when you talk about adaptability, Lisa, so when you think about kind of building and running companies, two completely different skill sets, and I'm, I'm able to sort of have a foot in both sides of, of the spectrum, if you will. And I'm able to adapt and move up and down that spectrum.

Greg Merrill: (04:39)
And I think it's, I give a lot of that credit to my early days, as you mentioned, kind of in the, in the entrepreneurial startup space for almost a decade, you know, that's like really remarkably valuable experience that a lot of people don't get the opportunity to have. And so navigating kind of the scrappy startup world, and then now navigating, you know, a large corporate that I work in a 75,000 person company, you know, my day job at Nike leading our digital transformation to wildly different skill sets that come, you know, across that spectrum. So I, I love adaptability and thank you. I'll take it as a compliment.

Lisa Thee: (05:14)
yeah, I think we, we have reverse-commuted, Greg. I did my first 15 years in corporate America and then went into entrepreneurship and you started, with your street MBA, I like to call it, of starting and leading companies and are bringing that innovation mindset into large corporate enterprises. So for somebody that doesn't know much about digital transformation, can you talk a little bit about what that means to you and how you're helping to lead that at Nike today?

Greg Merrill: (05:40)
Yep. It's a common theme here. Transformation is about change and changes about people. So you know, of all the sort of transformational initiatives or strategies or, programs that I've been involved in, the common denominator, the single failure point, which is also the single key to success is people leading with people because it's not a problem of did we deploy the right technology at the right time? Are we over budget under budget? Are we focusing on the right work? It's the how and the, how the work gets done is through people. And it's the hardest thing, especially when you're at a big company where, you know, there's competing motivations and there's, you know, not always a lot of clarity around what are we doing and why are we doing it? How are we doing it? So starting with the people, first mentality is number one, that is the name of the gate.

Greg Merrill: (06:37)
If you are not starting there, you're not gonna transform. You might like hit, hit a, hit a ride on the side of whatever transformation or change is gonna happen to you or your company, but you're not leading it. You're not driving it until you start with people. And so, you know, I wear my heart on my sleeve. I, I think when you, when you look at my background and who I am, I think people that I've worked with and that work for me will tell you Greg's an empathetic leader and that, and I love that because that's, that's who I want to be. And so I do feel that I, you know, my true colors, shine and talking about people, first transformation is just an idea is a thing. It's how do you do it? And it starts at a one-on-one individual basis.

Greg Merrill: (07:21)
Do the people you work with or you work for, or that work for you, do they feel you're authentic? Do they feel you're vulnerable? Do they feel safe around you safe to share about themselves or, or to fail at work? Right. And so empathy brings inclusion along with it. And inclusion is extreme flexibility, right? Coming into your workplaces with your teams and, what whatnot, and your companies bringing your full self. If you have to check any part of you out the door to, to feel like you can come to work and be you and, and achieve everything you've wanted, it's something's wrong. You need to be able to bring your full self, all your roles, all the complexity and the beautiful condition of the human beings that we are transformation is about change. Transforming a company is not the same as running a company. It's not the same as building a company. and it's gotta start with real authentic human beings or your, nothing's gonna happen.

Lisa Thee: (08:22)
Yeah. That very much aligns with our, experience as a data and AI transformation focused consultancy. We really start with the human experience for that. Very reason, the majority of technology transformation projects do not fail because the technology doesn't work. It's have you done the journey mapping? Have you done the empathy mapping? Have you done the stakeholder alignment? Are you communicating in a way that allows everyone to be part of that journey and be included on that journey so that they are fully committed to getting you from where you are today to where you need to be? so with that in mind, do you mind sharing a little bit about how you guys use data and technology to accomplish your goals? As you're looking towards digital transformation,

Greg Merrill: (09:05)
I'm gonna do a quick one on, on, so Nike, right. And that's my day job. I lead our digital transformation and this is very publicly well known. Our overall strategy is moving from a wholesale model, which Nike was built on 50 years ago, to a digital and direct led business. Right. And if you think about businesses that start today that are eCommerce and going direct to consumer, they are gathering data on their customers from day one. And as Nike shifts this massive business from a whole, again, a wholesale model where we didn't necessarily have that direct relationship or connection with our consumers and members, you know, now how do we build the systems and the tools that give us access to that data, but then more so what do you do with that? How do you use that to, serve your consumers in, in better ways?

Greg Merrill: (09:58)
Give them not only, you know, what they're asking for, but what they might not know that they, that they need. So, so that's one angle where data is the, the lifeblood of, of that strategy. It only works when you have actionable data, that's leading to new experiences, and new capabilities that the company's developing and that people I'll go back to it, that people are now using to do different things, to make different, better, faster decisions within their, you know, their day job. So that's one I'm gonna give you. Can I give you a different flavor of that answer? So there's a, there's an organization that I, I kind of want to plug that, I'm involved with, they're a nonprofit out of Stanford kind of spun out Stanford called LBAN the Latino Business Action Network. And I'm, I'm involved with them as, as a mentor.

Greg Merrill: (10:52)
And so we've just started cohort 13, and this is geared towards Hispanic entrepreneurs and company owners, Latino, Latino-founded companies that aren't necessarily kind of scrappy startups. There's sort of, you know, they, they've already proven their business viability to some regards typically anywhere between one and 20 million, annual revenue. So the goal is that how do we develop and position these leaders and these company, you know, executives to grow their businesses to the next scale. So that's in a nutshell, but why do I mention that? Because when you look at, so I'm a very proud Mexican American, my wife is Mexican. My kids are, you know, biracial and, and supporting women and traditionally underrepresented kind of founders that have not had access to the same opportunities that I have. That's where my purpose kicks in. And my purpose and, and my goal in this, on this planet is to leave it better than, than when I found it right.

Greg Merrill: (11:52)
To give more than I took. And so that's why that's what drives my involvement with LBAN. Well, let me touch on the data point. There are over 5 million Hispanic owned businesses in the us alone. So, and then when you start looking at, and that's the other thing that LBAN does remarkably well, they publish deep data and statistics on sort of the state of the Hispanic sort of entrepreneur, if you will. So they look at the economic impact and you know, how many companies and the, the growth and things like that. This is a powerful engine that is gonna help grow the world, not just the us, but the world. And so there's a ton of data out there on LBAN. And that is an area that I like to get involved in to help transform the world for the better and give more opportunity to folks that have not necessarily had that same opportunity.

Lisa Thee: (12:44)
So what are some of the surprises you've found in that data with LBAN just in terms of the impact that that community of entrepreneurs is having on the growth of GDP and other measures in the world?

Greg Merrill: (12:56)
Yeah. I mean, I think two very simple things it's wildly impactful. Like when you just look at the, the dollar values and the numbers and the amount of change that this sort of community is going to drive it's it's earth shattering. What makes it even more surprising? I would say is the lack of support or elevation of this community to say, Hey, look at this data. Like you don't, there's, there's no arguing with this data. This is major impactful data. And so what I would say to that is if you're a big company and you don't have a, a Latinx kind of consumer strategy or Hispanic growth strategy for your company, you don't have a strategy, right? Because not only is, is this community driving massive economic growth. They're also an avid consumer of, of all the things that you know, that the, the economy has to offer. And so I think it's a wildly underserved, and in many cases ignored community, so huge potential to tap into and support this, this, this growth. So, anyway, two, two big things.

Lisa Thee: (14:07)
As you're using data and technology in your day job, to look at having more frictionless customer experiences, as you're shifting from a B2B business, to a business-to-consumer business and on your slash job, or the places where you really go to help accelerate your mission, that fills your soul. It's really around looking at the data to help people understand the missed opportunity of looking at this cohort of entrepreneurs that have spending power that are leading businesses that are looking potentially for capital mentors, advising, and are also great target consumers for companies that are looking to grow their total available markets.

Greg Merrill: (14:47)
Yep. Spot on.

Lisa Thee: (14:49)
Okay. Very good. So, Greg, what are the emerging trends in your field that you're seeing that you think people need to be paying more attention to?

Greg Merrill: (14:57)
I'm gonna go non-sexy on this one. I'm not gonna talk about AI ML, AR VR. Those are, those are important. Look on,

Lisa Thee: (15:08)
You're not gonna throw in some NFTs or

Greg Merrill: (15:11)
, I will leave that for the experts to talk about, but, but, but here's why I won't talk about that because I think the individuals, the teams, the companies that are successful today and in the future are, are going to get one thing, right? And it's not the use of these emerging trends and technologies. It's, it's again, how the work gets done. It's, it's very simple. It's very process oriented and you look at these big companies and you think, gosh, that, you know, they must be so buttoned up. That's not always the case. And so when you think about, even if you just think it from an annual standpoint, right? Like what are the annual, planning cycles that a company goes through? How do you make them more agile? How do you line people up better around a common purpose and vision?

Greg Merrill: (16:06)
So that, that process becomes like a living organism and the flow of information is more seamless and transparent. People have and are armed with the information they need at the right time to make the right decisions. And everybody is kind of buttoned up and aligned. There, there are just so many, I would call it like weak spots in the system, and I'm not talking about one group or one company just in general, let's bridge the gap, let's fix the gap. And it's either let's fix that, or let's think an entirely different way and build a new system and organize people around that system to be able to respond to things quicker. So that's where I think people should pay attention to is how things are getting done.

Lisa Thee: (16:51)
So it's really about going to leverage more real-time analytics to make decisions for business leaders versus relying on annual processes that leave a lot of time between the signals that the market is changing and the, reactions of the company, to be able to accommodate the consumers that they want to target.

Greg Merrill: (17:13)
I think that's a piece of it. I think that's an important piece of it, but I think it's even broader. How do you develop and arm your employees at every level to know what to do with that information, right? It's one thing to have the data, but then what does the data tell you? And then what do you do with that data? A lot of folks just don't know what to do with that. And then is there clarity around roles and responsibilities, decision making rights? I mean, very simple, fundamental things like - tie your shoes before you go for a run, because you're gonna trip. I mean, it's these simple, simple, fundamental things that I think a lot of folks get, get wrong and could do much bigger, better, faster things. If they just focused a little bit more on the fundamentals today,

Lisa Thee: (17:58)
There's a difference between information and wisdom, right. And helping people at all levels be able to glean the wisdom out of the information that's coming at them and align with each other to move towards that common goal together

Greg Merrill: (18:10)
And application of that wisdom, right? Like then, then what do you do? Because then it comes down to, you know, human behaviors, what are you doing? Am I sending an email to the right person at the right time with the right information? And email is probably not a good example, but it's, it's a, it's a common language we use today on how we, you know, communicate and share information, but not only are you armed with the ability to make the right decisions, do you know what to do then with that, with that ammunition, it seems like such a simple thing, but actually it's quite hard.

Lisa Thee: (18:44)
Well, actually that leads to my follow up question for you then, you know, getting people aligned and moving towards a common goal can be incredibly tricky, especially at large organizations. Can you talk a little bit about what you've learned in that process that you'd like to spare other leaders from wasting time on that just simply doesn't

Greg Merrill: (19:04)
Work? I think sometimes it can be really hard to teach authenticity because of, you know, this beautiful, messy condition of humanity that we all share. We are collections of all of the experiences that, that happened before this moment in time. And a lot of us have experienced and deal with, with trauma or have been in sort of uncomfortable or unfavorable situations that might, that might induce us to sort of skew towards one way or another. For instance, it might, you know, someone might be a little bit more defensive than another and, and that kind of makes it hard maybe to, to come together or people aren't necessarily, secure enough to open up and be vulnerable and poke fun at themselves, or talk about what they're not good at. I think having those uncomfortable conversations are, are really important. Anyway, bring it back to your question.

Greg Merrill: (20:00)
I think you can't fake authenticity. It can be learned, but I think you have to start with the self awareness of like, where am I, what am I good at? What am I not good at? Where do I need to grow? Am I actively helping myself grow so that I can show up in every part of my day and be the best version of myself. Now, we might disagree on like what that best version means. But I would say that authenticity is, is, is gotta be up there in everybody's definition of best, and it can't be faked. So there are leaders and teammates and folks running around out there that may not be very authentic, or, you know, in, in, in many cases might be toxic companies owe it to themselves and to their strong employees, to, to all their employees, to have the hard conversations, to work with folks, to help them grow or to remove them, if they're just not a right fit for that company.

Lisa Thee: (20:58)
It's that compassionate leadership that Jeff Wiener from LinkedIn talks about. If people aren't a good fit in the role that they're in, especially in leadership, you can really have some significant downstream impacts to the rest of the organization

Greg Merrill: (21:11)
Hundred percent, a hundred percent. And it's not necessarily that something is wrong or bad with a person. They just might not be the right fit for that team or that company at that time. And you know, who doesn't well, Netflix, you know, I've never worked there. So I, I can't speak from an internal standpoint, but their sort of public page on what their company culture is and they talk about, Hey, you might just not be a good fit for us at that time. And that's okay. You, you know what part ways, and maybe down the road, you are the right fit. So I, I don't remember exactly the terms or the language they use, but it's a great example of saying, you know, it might not always work out for both sides.

Lisa Thee: (21:48)
Yeah. So Greg, you have a really interesting background in entrepreneurship and you taught me a new term that I was not familiar with until I met you. And that was de-vulcanized rubber . So do you mind sharing with us a little bit about some of the technologies that you played with that led in you into entrepreneurship and, sustainability and some of that that you bring into, these larger corporate environments?

Greg Merrill: (22:13)
I'd love to, I'd love to, yeah, so I'm not, my background is not, in chemical engineering, even that technical, I mean, in University of Maryland, I studied business and kinesiology. And then I went on to do an MBA at Johns Hopkins. So, you know, not very science-based, or, or technical roles. But in the startup world, right place, right time I fell in with I think a great group of individuals that were coming together, brainstorming thinking about what do we do here? We think we have something we're not sure what to do. And it was a, it was a portfolio of intellectual property that we were doing some of the foundational research and development on to then create applied chemistries that we could license out to different industries and, and different consumers. And you're right. Rubber de-vulcanization was one that I spent a lot of my time on.

Greg Merrill: (23:07)
And it's essentially a, a fancy way of saying, can you recycle and reprocess rubber so that it can be introduced or put back into new high quality rubber products to then be sold on the market. Rubber is a very interesting thing, and I won't spend a lot of time on it, but it's kind of like baking a cake is a really good analogy. You mix a bunch of stuff together with heat and pressure and you kind of bake, or you, you cure you, vulcanize a rubber product, like a tire for your car or rubber outsole on the bottom of your shoe. And it would spend the holy grail of rubber for a hundred years is how do you, what do you do? Because that doesn't biodegrade. It sits in landfills. It's not good for the environment. How do we recapture that material and introduce it and put into new things?

Greg Merrill: (23:50)
So that's essentially what rubber de-vulcanization is. And that's what I spent a lot of time doing that the tremendous amount of time over in, in Asia, in the manufacturing shop floors and, and working with this material that we were, that we developed and we were manufacturing, but I would say failure, like failure was the name of the game. And I think it's not innovation without failure. Failure is a prerequisite to true invention. And in that environment, you know, with, with a small team, couple co-founders and some employees, you know. It's, you could fail, you could - we, we were failing multiple times a day and we would adjust and reset and try different things. But again, that dynamic is hard to recreate in a very big company, but nonetheless, it's still important. Innovation without failure is, is not likely going to yield you what the true potential of the organization could do. So,

Lisa Thee: (24:53)
So what achievements are you most proud of after, you know, all those years and trying and failing and innovating and working together? What, what are you most proud of that the companies that you've co-founded have been able to bring to the market?

Greg Merrill: (25:07)
Well, I was gonna pull a curve ball on you and go, my three daughters , but that was not a product of the company. So, you had to add the, from the companies in there, my daughters are very important to me. I do wanna give a plug suit to my girls because they, they drive most of my daily decision making. And, you know, if you go back to what I told you, my sort of personal vision, or, or ruler for successes, you know, did I give more than I received? And did I have an impact on, on the world that I got leave behind? Well, now I've got a little army of, of powerful women to, to kind of go on and help me, you know, spread that, that love further and farther than I could ever do it on my own. so that's, that's,

Lisa Thee: (25:57)
We're all on multi-generational journeys of change. I completely agree with that perspective. Yeah. And what was your, your proudest contribution in this journey that you're gonna hand off to the girls to take forward?

Greg Merrill: (26:09)
I would tell you that it's, it's living my values out loud. I think over the years, I've developed the courage to say the quiet things out loud to speak up when something's not okay. And I try to live my life by example, I do that in the workplace, and I do that, especially when, when my girls are watching, I want them to see that I want them to do that. And when they're young like this, it can make it incredibly challenging to be a parent. But I keep telling myself, you know, 20 years from now, they're gonna be a super strong, powerful charting, their own course. And using that courage to sort of challenge, you know, challenge the power, if you will, for forever everlasting change. And so I think, yeah, for me, it's the courageous and empathetic leadership that I show up with.

Greg Merrill: (27:02)
You know, I'll just, I'll give you one example of sort of a family value that, that I bring even into the workplace is all feelings and emotions are okay, but not all behaviors are okay. Right. And it's, it's, it's, it works for kids, but you know what, it works for adults in the workplace too, because again, we're humans, we have feelings about things you can't be it's, it's not feasible to go around as an emotionless, you know, robot that that's, that's not what, what it means to be human being. And so, but all emotions are okay, but not all behaviors are okay. You know, so...

Lisa Thee: (27:41)
I'm gonna be borrowing that one from you, Greg. That's a great takeaway from today. Yeah. Can you talk a little bit about, what's your biggest failure so far in your career and how you navigated through that to get to where you are today?

Greg Merrill: (27:52)
I think, I'll talk about, for me and sort of my work style related to that. And I think my ability to delegate I'm still working on it. I'm still getting better at it. I think it has more to do with me trusting myself than, than trusting others. It's I'm on a journey. I've definitely seen improvement over the years and the decades, you know, in working in different capacities. But it's something that I want to get better at because, you know, if I'm out here telling you, Hey, only together, can we come together and make big change? You know, then I better live up to those words and get really good at delegating and letting others sort of run with things as well. So I think that's where maybe a failure, I guess you could look at it that way in terms of, I would like to be that way already. I'm not, that's okay. It's part of my own growth and my own journey. and it's something that I have awareness about that I'd like to become better at.

Lisa Thee: (28:48)
Well, that, that leads me to my next question, which is, the days where you have to bring your best self to work, but you're just not completely feeling motivated. Cause we all have the human experience. What is your, why that, that gets you activated to, to keep learning and growing? And

Greg Merrill: (29:07)
Maybe, maybe I led too early with the, my three daughters answer. because that's actually sort of a more, more appropriate answer there. I think, I think there's countless books and studies out there that we, as humans will work harder and do more for others than we will for, for ourself. I think that's a general statement, but I think it's, it's true in many respects and -

Lisa Thee: (29:34)
I can definitely relate to that. I, I'm, yeah, there are many days then I, I can muster the grit to do what needs to be done for others. Yeah. But maybe not the same if it was just benefiting me. Right.

Greg Merrill: (29:51)
Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. And I think for me, the outside of myself, obviously my family, my daughters, my coworkers, I mean the people that I spend my, my time with every day, you know, I'm showing up just as much for them as I am for myself, if not even more so. And so the days where I don't wanna do it for myself, it's, it's a, it's a intentional reminder that I'm not doing it for myself. I'm doing it for somebody else, a bigger purpose. And I think for me, that that ultimate larger purpose is what was the impact? What was the legacy that I left behind when I'm dead and gone? What permanent lasting change is, is in place now because of me getting up and showing up every, every day.

Lisa Thee: (30:36)
So Greg, you strike me as a lifelong learner. You've, moved across different fields and don't shy away from the hard problems. Where do you go to keep learning and growing and keeping your knowledge fresh?

Greg Merrill: (30:47)
Yeah. I, I read, I read a ton, and I love hanging out and talking with people obviously like, like you and things like this, I always take away. I think just as much as, as I'm able to share with, with my own story, my experiences. So you're right. I'm a very much a, a growth mindset would always talk about myself as a sponge from very early on in my career. I, I do spend a lot of my time within the, the realm of learning better communication styles and one that I, that I love and, and use quite regularly is NVC or nonviolent communication, which was developed by, Marshall Rosenberg. There's a great little kind of three hour YouTube, video that he does explaining what it is, but it's, it's sort of not violent in terms of physical violence, but it comes back to that. How do you be, em, empathetic in, how do you have your own self-awareness of your feelings and needs? How do you communicate those effectively? And I think it's a great communication tool to get down to the very basic levels of us as human beings. I think when we're able to communicate in these ways, it actually opens up the door to, to get more things done.

Lisa Thee: (32:01)
Awesome. I definitely know what I'm gonna be doing later in the week for some personal growth, I'll be checking out nonviolent communication. So Greg, where do you go to recharge your batteries? we're all human. We all get close to the tipping point of burning out from time to time. How do you keep yourself above that line and recharge?

Greg Merrill: (32:19)
I step into my gym that's an easy one for me. I've, you know, been an avid weightlifter for over 20 years. My motto that I, you know, tell myself is lift hard, heavy, and often. And for me, that is, that's what I like to do. I like to lift heavy things and that's my happy place.

Lisa Thee: (32:41)
Awesome. So with that in mind, Greg, for people that are inspired by our conversation today, where can they find you and keep tabs on what you're working on and how can people support, your work?

Greg Merrill: (32:52)
So I'm on LinkedIn. I have a you know, a page on LinkedIn. I think that's a great, great place to find me. And then I, actually, one of my sort of pandemic projects was put up a website. So, you know, I've owned the domain for gosh, probably a decade and just sat on it. Never did anything with it, always thought, "ah, wouldn't it be fun to make a webpage?" So anyway, you can find me, G R E G M E R R I L It's, it's not very fancy. There's not much to it, but I get to share a little bit more there of who I am and, and what I'm doing.

Lisa Thee: (33:28)
Great. Do you keep some of the nonprofits and the areas of focus that you have up to date on that website so people can support those organizations as well?

Greg Merrill: (33:38)
Yes. They're either on the website or the, or, or they're definitely on my LinkedIn. I think probably my LinkedIn is probably more updated. I think it's easier, easier to update.

Lisa Thee: (33:49)
Great. I can relate to that. Yeah. Thank goodness for people that help support websites. So our mind would be woefully out of date. I really wanna thank you for your time today, Greg. I think you've inspired us all to think about how do we bring our authentic selves to work home and everywhere we go, how do we role model the kind of leadership that we would like to see the next generation have access to? And I think you gave us some great resources and examples of how you've gone through that journey yourself as a leader and, and helping yourself to grow. So really wanna thank you for sharing some of your wisdom with us today.

Greg Merrill: (34:24)
Oh, you're welcome. And thanks again for having me and, and thank you for the work that you do, which we haven't even touched on today. But one of the many things that you do obviously is, is hosting this podcast and bringing voices to the light. And so I hope somebody somewhere will take a nugget of wisdom from our time today. Thanks, Lisa.

Lisa Thee: (34:42)
Thank you.

Outro: (34:44)
Hey everyone. Thanks for listening to the Navigating Forward podcast. We'd love to hear from you at a crossroads of uncertainty and opportunity. How do you navigate forward? We'll see you next time.

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