Name: Emily Merrell
Occupation/Company: Founder- Six Degrees Society
How did you get to where you are today?
I’m a big fan of following your path and journey and watching it unfold. I think it all started when I decided to move to Argentina after college. In Argentina my main objective was to move to a foreign country I had never been to and build a network and a life there. After 9 months living and working in fabulous Buenos Aires I moved to NYC to start my “grown up” life. It was in Argentina that I met at woman that connected me to my first boss who hired me at Ralph Lauren and later on at Tory Burch. It was there i met one of my best friends who has helped build my San Francisco market of Six Degrees Society. Essentially it’s through my network and support system that has led me to where I am today. My career in fashion really helped set the stage for a wider net of creativity and connections that i’ve tapped into over and over again.
What is your elevator pitch on what you do?
We handpick who you meet while networking by creating curated handpicked connections tailored just for you based on bios submitted pre-event. At our events you’ll meet personal, professional and future life self connections.
How do you define success?
When someone says, “I’ve heard of you before.” or “I’m on your mailing list!” Yet I think I’ll feel truly successful when Oprah starts talking about us.
What have been some of the most rewarding things in your career thus far?
Working at Ralph Lauren and Tory Burch were two of the most rewarding and exciting companies to work for from working with amazing employees throughout, to building out some elaborate events with some quite memorable people. One event that will forever stick in my mind was an evening at the Ralph Lauren flagship women’s store on 72nd and Madison in NYC where Ralph Lauren was hosting Gloria Vanderbilt and Wendy Goodman for a book signing. The evening was perfect from the handsome waiters to the impeccably dressed attendees. The best part was celebrating the event being over with my team. Overall I love seeing an event through start to finish from ideating it to being there and seeing people’s reactions to
What have been some of the hiccups (mistakes) along the way and what have you learned from them?
Ohhhh hiccups. I once had booked an event venue and the day of the event I was told it wasn’t on their schedule so they couldn’t host us. I ended up getting on the phone and working out a solution with the girl working that day and ultimately took her out to lunch.
I have 5 learnings:
- Stay cool under pressure
- There is always a plan B available
- Be kind, honest and understanding
- Admit you’re wrong and apologize
- Be clear in all of your communications
What do you still want to achieve personally and/or professionally?
Oh man, where do I start. Now that Six Degrees Society has moved from being my hobby to my business I want to find other hobbies to focus on. I love making jewelry and being crafty and am eager to get back into those routines. Professionally I’d love to build an connection platform and resource hub, start a podcast, write a book, launch a talk show, expand our chapters nationally and internationally and grow our team.
Who has been your greatest inspiration?
My mom. She was a single mompreneuer and she seemed to marry all of her passions within her business. She used to design menu covers for hotels and restaurants and was constantly visiting and traveling to the top hotels and restaurants in the world. She also worked from home so it was hard to juggle being both a mom and a business woman yet I so loved seeing her work and having her at home.
What makes you truly, genuinely happy?
Getting into a robe or cozy pajamas at the end of the day and snuggling with my step-dog.
What advice would you tell your 21-year-old self?
You have no idea where life will take you, enjoy the ride and let it unfold– but also go into sales!
What is the biggest misconception about what you do?
People think I’m a matchmaker– and get confused when I say it’s women only.
Any words of inspiration or your favorite quote?
“Just breathe” from Ever After