The Passion, Purpose and Personality of Zeeshan Merchant
A recent resident to Canada, our Director – Employer Brand and Culture, Zeeshan Merchant moved from Dubai, and has found the sweet spot in his career working in Employer Branding and Employee Engagement.
Not only does he come with a wealth of knowledge and expertise, he’s also passionate about helping create work environments where people feel fulfilled and valued.
We are thrilled with the work he does for our clients and the brilliant perspective and joy that he brings to his clients and the Blu Ivy team.
So, tell us who you are, and what do you do at Blu Ivy Group?
“I’ve always been a keen observer of people and especially what makes them tick. At Blu Ivy Group, I look to apply the same lens in a workplace context; understanding what makes talent tick and creating workplace experiences where there is strong alignment between a company’s values and talents’ needs and desires.”
Being born and raised in Dubai, I had the opportunity to be part of a melting pot of cultures where I interacted and worked with people from all over the world. This provided me the opportunity to learn just how unique peoples perspectives and preferences are. At the same time, I have come to learn the common grounds which bond us. At Blu Ivy Group, I look to apply the same lens in a workplace context; understanding what makes talent tick and creating workplace experiences that offer a strong alignment between a company’s values and talents’ needs and desires.
What did you do before becoming a Blu Ivy Employer Brand Director?
Prior to Blu Ivy Group, I was working in Dubai at a Marketing Communications Consultancy. I worked in several client-facing communications consulting roles and then transitioned into the HR Director role at that firm. This blend of agency marketing, consulting and then HR leadership experience truly honed my skills in People Engagement and Organizational Psychology.
Tell us a bit more about your career – which university did you go to?
I completed my undergraduate Business degree in Marketing and Advertising at The American University in Dubai, then many years later, I completed my Master’s degree in Organizational Psychology at Birkbeck, University of London. My dissertation was focused on understanding generational differences in workplace motivational needs with an emphasis on Millennials. Being a Millennial myself, and observing first-hand how many talent management programs in place just didn’t resonate anymore, motivated me to research this topic.
How did you end up here in Canada?
Having lived in Dubai my entire life, I felt a change of scenery was due, hence decided to make the move to Canada. There is something about the people and culture that made me want to move here, and I have no regrets with that decision!
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wish I had something fun or cool to say here, like an astronaut or a scientist, but really I just wanted to be a businessman. I even used to play with fake money all the time when I was young! I actually started off university opting for a degree in Accounting and Finance, but two years into the program, I made the drastic change to Marketing and Advertising, and I’m so glad I did.
Tell us in your own words why you do what you do?
“I just think that if people are – on average – spending 90,000 hours at work over their lifetime, they may as well spend it wisely.”
I find incredible meaning and purpose in trying to help create better workplaces and more engaged workforces where people feel fulfilled and feel a sense of belonging.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
“Simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.”
This isn’t advice I personally received, but is a quote by Lao Tzu in the Tao Te Ching.It resonates with me with relation to the increasingly stressful and competitive world we live in. This quote reminds us to stay true to our original and authentic nature, and that we can do our part to make a positive impact on everything, and everyone, around us.
Describe yourself in 5 words?
Curious, Cheerful, Sarcastic, Thoughtful, Spiritual.
What are some wise words you can bestow upon us?
Follow your intuition – when something feels right, trust that sign and act upon it. The worst that can happen if something doesn’t go according to plan, is usually not that bad at all.
Great words of advice. Thank you for sharing your time with us, Zeeshan.