Jo Merriman Heads Concise UK
Jo Merriman now leads Concise UK and is our first female Director of Commercial and Operations, taking over the management of UK business Operations.
She is the new Director of Commercial and Operations, taking over the management of UK business Operations.
An energetic and bold personality, Jo aims to lead Concise to be the best version of itself, through her passion for both business and wanting to engage audiences.
Ambition, drive, and empathy. I also think my approach to relationships allows us to set ourselves apart in the market and create something different.
Ha! I want to say – ‘All my life’ – but the truth is my original game plan and lifelong wish was to be a professional actor. Eventually, I decided to make acting just one part of my life, not my ‘everything.’
Instead, I have been taking on new opportunities, trying to say ‘Yes’ to as many things as possible without fear. I had a similar opportunity to this 10 years ago and I said, no. So, I swore if another chance like that ever presented itself again, I would do it differently. So, I guess my risk taking has improved and I am staying open even if I have moments of feeling like an imposter!
How do you think your leadership will benefit the business?
I not only bring the qualities and values of me as a person to the table, but also there is no denying that the world is and continues to be quite different for women. There are a fair few people that won’t see it like that or rather won’t want to admit that it is different, but it’s the truth and the reality. I have seen and continue to see women being treated in many subtle but different ways to others …and even I have been guilty of not recognising it in the moment.
For me this isn’t necessarily about me being a woman, this is more to do with the fact that I hope I come with encouragement and support for everyone; that you can do and be anything you choose. Be it men, women, young, old – whatever race, sexuality, ethnicities, or abilities – to anyone from any community – a sense of belonging is key. I have been guilty of editing my persona throughout my life, and I never want anyone – in the team or client side to feel they ever need to do the same.
Again, all of us can contribute to the tech industry, meetings industry and beyond. I’m delighted that women are finally getting heard. There is a perception that women can’t do tech, which I find amusing. I have had times where I consciously shift my talk track to what I can bring to the table rather than worrying about what I can’t bring to the table.
What is your vision for Concise in the next few years?
This is a great question. I have often had my best ideas in the shower or when driving and lately the vision is part of these thoughts.
The vision needs to be a shared one and we are only just starting the process. I had my second all staff meeting recently. We have spent some time looking at what we need to do better and how we can become even more invaluable to our clients. Moving forward, we want to ensure the vision is relevant to our client base, to our team and us as a business.
We have fabulous talent at Concise with plenty of experience to draw from and active listening is taking place. My plan is that together we build something exceptional, bright & rewarding that will show our talents in the best light, whilst having some fun along the way too!
For me, and this is a very personal goal of mine, I want to create a work environment where we work hard but we support each other in that work, and we feel valued and rewarded in the same breath. I want us to be successful, and that will mean different things to different people, so we’ll be
reaching out more to our clients, employees, and other stakeholders.
Of course, there are business objectives that are close to my heart, and I will be measured on but if I can understand and get closer to what makes others feel successful, then I believe we can all mutually benefit.
In lots of ways, it’s business as usual. Onsite, when executing client events, or speaking with the team you may not initially see or feel any differences and I think that can be a good thing when change is happening.
Over time I am hoping you notice a more focused, proactive approach to all that we do. We want that positive feeling clients have after an event to only grow stronger from event to event − better for you & your participants.
We are in a partnership with clients. I want everyone who works with us to 100% believe that these are not just words. When you work with us you are working with one of the best businesses in the world. I would love to see our marketing budget reduced over time as increasingly more of our clients are sharing their great experiences through word of mouth.
Favourite piece of artwork?
Tough one. Weeping Woman or Guernica, Picasso.
What would your superpower be?
A faster cook of tasty, healthy food, maybe? (I like to take plenty of time when cooking and I tend to use it as an opportunity to relax too. So, anything that could mean I eat healthy but quickly would be amazing.)
Dream role to act in?
Lady Macbeth. Macbeth, Shakespeare
A book you think everyone should read?
Impossible. I have 3:
The Choice and The Gift – Edith Edgar.
Lessons in Chemistry – Bonnie Garmus.
You can only listen to one song on repeat, what is it?
Right now – MAGNIFICAT: III Quia fecit – Nidarosdomens jentekor Trondheimsolistene.