Name: Meri Brace
Designation: Agent 0090
Double Agent Role: Vice President, People Success
Special Skills: Unleashing potential, optimistic realist and joy seeker.
Location: Columbus, OH
Favorite Emoji: 🤗
Test Double is thrilled to add Meri Brace to our leadership team as the new VP of People Success. She joins the company after 17 years in the fast-paced, dynamic and constantly changing intersection of technology, business and people development.
Meri’s focus at Test Double is to help people realize their potential to be the best versions of themselves. She will support our growth by building high performing teams. Meri brings her authentic, empathetic self to work, which we love.
Meri supports multiple arts and breast cancer nonprofits in Columbus, OH, and is active with TechLife Columbus, Rainbow UA, CultureFirst Columbus and Understanding White Privilege, a task force of the BREATHE Coalition. Meri is also a member of the T200-LIFT program—a community committed to a culture of coaching and development, creating visibility for emerging women tech leaders. She looks forward to furthering support of Test Double Great Causes work.
When asked about her recent career move, Meri said:
I am thrilled to join the Test Double team to help further their mission of building great software AND great teams. By fostering a diverse, equitable and inclusive culture of people success where all people have a sense of belonging, together we will make an even greater impact. When equity based decisions are consciously made the input, we all will be able to celebrate the output of equality in the workplace. Test Double’s focus on autonomy, trust and continuous learning opportunities creates an environment ripe with possibilities, and I look forward to thinking differently every day with the amazing people of Test Double!
It’s an exciting time to join Test Double, as we continue to grow across the US and Canada as a 100% remote, employee-owned, software consulting agency. If you’re interested in exploring opportunities at Test Double find out more here.
When I reflect over the past year, there were hard conversations many people had to have during the challenging times in 2020. Continuing to lead with empathy and compassion, while extending grace and always putting people first helps provide a level of trust, comfort and authenticity to support people through trying times. In the midst of the challenges, I am proud of helping others achieve something they didn’t think they were capable of. And, most of all, watching the joy on their face when they realized they did it, knowing all along they had it in them to succeed.
I am excited to return to a smaller (and quickly growing), employee-owned software company where I will have the autonomy, support and entrepreneurial spirit to make an impact on our people, clients and business—all to help shape the future together with our incredible team. We have so much opportunity and potential, and I’m looking forward to the experiences and success that awaits us all!
What’s better than having a job that is 100% dedicated to the success of others? I’m humbled to serve in this role and have the opportunity to support our people’s continued growth, both personally and professionally. When we focus on the success of others, we find success ourselves. It’s incredibly rewarding to know that I’ll be helping others unleash their potential and find joy in what they do, so that our talented consultants may continue improving the way the world writes software. That’s success all the way around!
I believe the people of TD are who make us unique. Our team is made up of voracious learners, empathetic listeners and innovative problem solvers who genuinely care about improving their craft and those around them. The humility of our Double Agents is awe inspiring. They know they’ve been hired for their expertise, and they have a responsibility to help improve the industry. They do this with high EQ, low ego and a passion for developing high quality software and delivering value quickly to our clients.
Ohh, and I can’t miss the opportunity to call out a more recent change that makes TD unique: the co-founders’ decision to switch to an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan). This means, instead of having the co-founders be the only two owners of the company, it is now owned by our employees. Not only is it an upside financially to all of our Double Agents, it also gives our people the opportunity to think like owners, understanding more of what it takes to run a successful consulting business, balancing the needs of our clients, people and TD. It’s a great way to know we are all investing in each other’s growth and are proud to serve as Double Agents.
Given the tragic events over the past year—from the pandemic to social injustice and racial inequality—and how it all has an impact on our coworkers, families, friends and communities, I have been working diligently to broaden my circle of influence. I am intentionally stretching who I surround myself with, educating myself on the history and lived experiences of underrepresented and marginalized groups, and furthering my knowledge of what it means to be “privileged.” I am also getting involved in non profits and Great Causes work, so that I can do my part in turning my empathy into action to make progress. So that one day we may live in a world where there is equality and justice for all.
I’ve been thinking about my new role at TD and how I can help ensure we’re a place where people truly can have a sense of belonging. People can only truly have a sense of belonging when they have psychological safety. Therefore, I’ve been thinking about creating space for the ability to be vulnerable and courageous. Building a courageous culture will drive creativity and innovation, allowing our unique selves to thrive, making us better teammates and problem solvers.
Last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic bringing many things to a halt, I spent nearly every day at home with my wife, Christine, and our 3 year old pup, Max. It truly was a silver lining. Instead of constantly being on the move for work or pleasure travel, networking, happy hours with friends, etc., I had the opportunity to slow down and recenter myself. This created the space in my mind, and schedule, to allow time for reflection. I spent time thinking about what truly matters, reprioritizing and focusing on being the best version of myself. I realized just how fortunate I am to be healthy, have a roof over my head, food security and the love of my family and friends even if we weren’t able to spend time together. I asked myself questions like, “Am I doing everything I can to pay it forward and serve those in need in our community? Am I using my voice to drive change? Am I being authentically me?” I found myself saying “Be better. Do Better.” This is my personal mission—always strive to be better and do better. Learn more, listen more, give more and I know I will be full of gratitude because of it.
I am definitely most excited about getting the COVID-19 vaccine soon so that I will be able to see my family again and visit with friends. I mourn for those who won’t be able to do the same as their loved ones are no longer here.
I have been looking forward to listening to Brene Brown’s new podcasts as I’m a big fan. And I always walk away after reading one of her books immediately being able to assimilate what I’ve learned and put it into action. I recently had the opportunity to attend a virtual event where Brene Brown was interviewed by Slalom Consulting’s CEO. It was the best 60 minutes of learning, reflection and inspiration in my professional experience as it just made sense and furthermore made me realize some of the most important parts of leading others. She said something that really struck me in the interview: “True belonging never requires you to change who you are. It requires you to be yourself.”
This was so powerful. No longer should we be looking for “cultural fits,” we want to find those who are additive to our culture and who contribute in their own authentic way. I think as leaders today, we need to ask ourselves if we’re still looking for fits or if we really are challenging ourselves to hire cultural contributors. No one should have to try to “fit” somewhere, that’s the first sign something may be broken. In this world, we have a lot of things that are broken right now, and if we can do our part each day to be a better human being to other human beings, real progress will start to be made.
I’m looking forward to traveling again! I enjoy the experiences and memories made when traveling and am excited to see more of the world again so that I may broaden my surroundings and my perspective on life.
When I worked at NASA in Cleveland, Ohio, I had the opportunity to see the Zero Gravity Chamber, tour Plum Brook Station, and experience the development and construction of part of the Ares I-X Upper Stage Simulator (USS) Rocket at the John Glenn Research Center.
Plum Brook Station is a remote testing facility that houses the Space Simulation Vacuum Chamber, the Reverberant Acoustic Test Facility and the Mechanical Vibration Facility.
The USS successfully launched in 2009 from Kennedy Space Center. It was an incredible experience to work with individuals who were actually part of designing the USS for the first flight of a new rocket vehicle since the Space Shuttle was developed in the 1970s. Although I was managing web development projects and not personally involved in mission critical work, it was an extraordinary experience working there, one I’ll certainly never forget. I really did work with rocket scientists!
This interview is based on a recorded conversation with Meri Brace and Cathy Colliver. It may or may not self-destruct.