This month, we sat down for a Q&A with Merkle RMG’s newest senior leaders: Lori Barone, VP of Human Resources and Alex Holtzman, VP of Client Services.
Below, Lori and Alex brief us on their backgrounds and current roles. We also explore how personal interaction and relationships are critical to each of their jobs — and how that people-centered approach serves as the common thread throughout Merkle RMG.
First, tell us a bit about your role at Merkle RMG.
Alex: As VP of Client Services, I lead two teams: Implementation and Account Management. As soon as Sales signs a new client, there’s a handoff to our Implementation group for an onboarding process that typically takes 6 to 12 weeks. After the account goes live, it goes to Account Management, where we oversee all aspects of the client relationship moving forward.
Lori: I’m VP of Human Resources, and my role is a mix of recruiting, onboarding, benefits management and employee engagement. Overall, I’m focused on developing an internal HR department that is business-driven, promotes a strong organizational culture, and recruits high-quality staff who will allow Merkle RMG to continue delivering the best possible client experience.
How has your background prepared you for success in this role?
Alex: Most recently, I led a global engagement team at a nonprofit. While the industry was different, the job was similar and extremely mission focused, just like my role here. I’m an extrovert, and I love work environments where no two days are the same — so working at Merkle RMG is very rewarding.
Lori: I grew up in HR, working for a number of years in different industries. It’s taught me the importance of building a strong staff, which leads to strong client relationships, which in turn drives growth for the company. That’s why I’m focused on enhancing our people strategy to be a real business driver for Merkle RMG.
Merkle RMG’s culture values strong relationships. How do you stay true to those values in your day-to-day work?
Alex: We want our clients to see us as a partner, because that’s how we see them. By making a point to understand their goals, share best practices and develop solutions, we show them we’re more than just their vendor — we’re a strategic partner they can trust. Our account team is also highly responsive and continuously available to them, which further strengthens the relationship.
Lori: Our people are our greatest asset. And from the start, we want them to know that their work is meaningful. Whether it’s during recruiting, hiring or onboarding, I emphasize the great work we do for our clients, and the variety of causes and organizations we support every day. This makes employees more invested in their work, which is tied to higher performance and retention.
Lori, how does your people strategy support Merkle RMG’s business strategy?
Lori: I always believe that employees want to be communicated with and understand the business impact they have. It’s important that each staff member understands how their individual role contributes to the success of the company and our clients. We aim to be transparent and honest with our clients, and we strive for that same level of transparency with our own people. That behavior becomes “muscle memory” for us at an organizational level, and it naturally comes through in our client-facing activities.
Alex, what are some important things you do to establish and maintain trust with clients?
Alex: The absolute key is transparent, frequent, informative communication — even to the point of overcommunicating. Even if it’s something the client doesn’t want to hear, they’d rather hear it from us proactively than find out on their own. We always do what we say — and demonstrate that through our actions. That’s what builds trust.