Nell Merlino is a nationally renowned speaker and activist best known for creating “Take Our Daughters To Work Day.” But that’s not all she has created. Merlino is working on an app that will count the number of women voters that participate in the November 2016 presidential election. This venture is just the beginning of what she hopes to accomplish for women in business all over the globe as she guides them with wisdom toward economic independence. In the end, she wants to see all women in business stand out and connect to the data-driven world by taking control of who they are and how they put themselves out there.
WBOC hosted this iconic speaker at their October 6th evening meeting at the Genesee Grande in Syracuse. Merlino talked about the digital age and how we, as women, can gain further possession of our own personal information. She told attendees she is working with a data relationship company called Personal BlackBox to create a software that is a creative visualization of an individual’s data being reflected back to them to reveal insights that are typically only available to marketers and advertisers. In explaining her charge, Merlino reminded us of the growth of a similar data collection procedure with the birth of the Bitcoin. (What is a Bitcoin?)
Bitcoin, despite its unpredictable volatility, is proving to be a more widely accepted form of electronic currency since it was conceived in 2009. Earning Bitcoins is often achieved by becoming a miner: one who solves computer math problems and is then paid in Bitcoin currency. Each Bitcoin is assigned a code. That code, when connected to other codes, creates a blockchain, or an electronic ledger of information.
With Personal Blackbox, data collection would happen similarly. Merlino says that in the event someone else wants to access “who you are” for marketing or advertising purposes, they would have to pay you, the owner, for that information. No longer will they be able to create their own stories of who they think you are when they scrape data. You will be in control of your own story.
“We have to change the nature of marketing and advertising when we own the information. So decide who you are and how you will market yourself,” Merlino told attendees. “This is how you will stand out.”
Merlino encourages women business owners to do three things as they evolve with her Rules of the Road:
1) Understand Your Purpose. What moves you? What can you do to create your own economic independence?
2) Ditch Fear, Worry and Doubt. Fear will always be with you. Learn how to take it with you and manage it so you can succeed.
3) Remember Focus, Discipline and Visibility. Make a plan and stick to it. When the plan doesn’t work, know it and change it. Make sure people can find you with social media.
Merlino took questions from audience members, but not before she encouraged attendees to charge what they are worth.
“It’s one of the biggest issues with women in business. Charge what you are worth and stick to it,” she said.
Nell Merlino is the Founder and President of Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence, the leading national not-for-profit provider of resources for women to grow their micro businesses into million dollar enterprises. She is author of “Stepping Out of Line: Lessons for Women Who Want it Their Way in Life, in Love, and at Work. Learn more at http://www.nellmerlino.com.