40 Under 40 2016: Jessica Merz

Director, global corporate communications, Bacardi-Martini, 39

40 Under 40 2016: Jessica Merz

Jessica Merz is the toast of Bacardi, the spirits company that includes adult beverages of all flavors from its rums to Grey Goose vodka. With a wealth of experience in corporate and internal comms, she oversees global corporate communications for Bacardi.

Merz was recruited to create the company’s first global internal communications position and strategy and is responsible for communicating strategic initiatives and driving adoption of new tools as well as for all executive communications aimed at engaging nearly 6,000 employees.

Before Bacardi, she kept things locked down at ADT, the world’s largest electronic security provider, as the company’s director of employee communications. Merz developed and implemented a strategy for communicating key messages, business objectives, programs, and achievements to more than 26,000 employees across the U.S. and Canada.

Prior to that, she served as shipping company DHL’s senior manager of corporate communications for the U.S. There she developed award-winning internal communications campaigns, tools, and strategies for 40,000 employees and contractors.

Merz’s major internal communications programs at Bacardi include its employee intranet and its first global employee program, which celebrated the company’s 150th anniversary.

A recent corporate environmental sustainability campaign earned Bacardi nearly 30 awards for employee engagement, corporate social responsibility, and global communications.

Throughout her career Merz has assisted on several mergers and acquisitions, including the integration of ADT and Broadview Security, for which she received a teamwork and excellence award. While at DHL she led internal communications for several express and supply chain integrations, including a $1 billion deal to bring the company to the U.S.

At Bacardi, Merz is one of 50 employees selected for a two-year leadership development program at Harvard University, which includes weeklong modules at campuses in Boston, Shanghai, and other cities. 

- Merz spearheaded the Bacardi No Straws Pledge, challenging company offices to do away with straws and stirrers, which often wind up as ocean-borne trash. The campaign eliminates nearly 650,000 straws and stirrers from the environment annually.

- She has swum with hammerhead sharks in the Galapagos Islands, in her homeland of Ecuador.

- Merz was volunteer of the month for developing a social media plan for the Miami-Dade Salvation Army.

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