Michele M. Merrell is a senior level telecommunications and technology executive with 30 years in the corporate world. She is the President of Merrell Consulting Group, a global consulting consortium. She serves as a Board of Director for three corporations in the telecommunications industry. Michele is on the international board of directors for the Global Telecom Women’s Network (GTWN), and is the North America President for GTWN, an organization that actively promotes and mentors women in the global telecommunications and technology industries
How have you deployed your passion and innovation as a leader or entrepreneur? What is your secret sauce or pixie dust?
I began in the mobile telecommunications industry in 1992 as a young person, and found the rapidly evolving industry to be fascinating. now, 25 years later, and still a part of the industry, I can say that it has been a fabulous life experience having worked for several carriers, as well as on the distribution/supply chain area of telecommunications, and also in the technology arena. I have seen the entire mobile ecosystem evolve over this timeframe into the worldwide industry powerhouse that we are here in Barcelona celebrating during Mobile World Congress. I now currently serve on the Board of Directors for several international telecommunications companies.
Give an example of a project or business that you’re really proud of?
For the last two years, I have worked to help bring an end to a monopoly mobile telecommunications market in the Bahamas, with the successful launch of a new telecom carrier, Aliv. For the first time in 25 years, Bahamians now have a choice in their mobile telecommunications provider. From working through the RFP with the government, to shaping the launch strategy, assisting in hiring senior level telecom professionals to run the new start-up company and also developing the brand strategy, the Bahamas’ newest LTE network is now ALIV. This new company brings never before seen value for calling, texting and data usage for consumers. They offer a choice of premium products and services, international roaming delivered through strategic partnerships with 600+ network operators in almost 200 countries.
What tips or lessons would you pass on to the younger women networked into the GTWN?
Networking remains paramount to developing your career path, and it is not something you should engage in only when you are in career transition – it is literally a skill that you should develop and utilize constantly. The GTWN has an absolute wealth of strong mentors that are willing to share their expertise, their network and their learning experiences with mentees coming up through the telecom and technology industries.
Name a challenge for women in the GTWn to achieve in the next 25 years as we step up to the complex world in this current “Mobile Century”
At some point, we need to make the shift from gender-based conversations and own our areas based on our merit, our talent and our contributions to the mobile telecommunications and technology industries. While there is still a glass ceiling in some organizations, I believe that more and more, we are making progress, our value is being recognized, and there is no doubt a direct correlation between organizational effectiveness, profits and the impact that women have on successful organizations. I would like to see more women achieve Board of Director roles in companies, to help shape the culture, the organizational effectiveness and impact on the bottom line.