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Homecoming: Attend a football match, change your career trajectory

  • Posted on January 25, 2021
  • Estimated reading time 3 minutes

“Homecoming” is our series in which we tell the stories of Avanade “boomerangs,” employees who left the company for other opportunities before returning. Careers are long and winding, and personal and professional aspirations vary from person to person. It’s natural for people to want to branch out, but wherever you go and whatever you do, there is always a home for you at Avanade.

When you ask people about what it’s like to work at Avanade, they’ll often talk about the people. That’s doubly true for Nic Merriman, Banking and Capital Markets lead for Europe, based in the U.K. It was a former colleague who originally encouraged him to join Avanade, and years later it was an Avanade friend who convinced him to return.

Throughout his various stops, Nic’s career has been focused on financial services and technology, moving between financial services, software and technology companies. He first joined Avanade in about 2010 to help build an industry focus on, as you would suspect, financial services.

“I joined with a group of senior architects to start engaging with strategic clients to build an industry view of our technologies, to help Avanade learn to speak the language of the client – not just talk about the technology,” he said.

It was a role he thoroughly enjoyed for a number of years. Then came one of those offers it’s hard to turn down: “It was an opportunity to move back to the customer side, to work with an old colleague of mine who had just become the CIO of a financial services organization, on a major digital transformation,” Nic said.

Unfortunately, due to changes in business direction, the job substantially changed after nearly two years of driving change across the business. Consequently, he accepted an offer to work with a management consulting firm and hit the road.

“I did well there, but I was living out of a suitcase,” he said. “When your family is in another country and you are working 60-70 hours a week, over time it becomes untenable from a work/life balance perspective.”

That’s when a conversation at a football game – soccer to those in the U.S. – realigned the path of his career. “I was home one weekend and one of my sons was home from university, so I asked him if he’d like to go watch the Nottingham Forest (yes, the land of Robin Hood) team play Reading,” he said. “We live in the middle of the country, so the match was two and a half hours away. I had kept in touch with a few people at Avanade, and it just happened that an ex-colleague who shared my interest in football texted me to ask if I was going to go, by any chance.

“We met in a pub and had a bit of a chat. A week later I got a call from the U.K. COO. He said, ‘Have you ever considered coming back?’ It happened quite quickly after that. I returned to Avanade in April 2019.”

Today Nic is leading Banking and Capital Markets for Avanade in Europe, a role that builds on his financial services expertise and the experiences he had while away from the company.

“I have become more focused about what I want to do, what is important to me,” he said. “Avanade gives you freedom to do it. You’re not constrained by company politics or ego. I am able to fully use my knowledge and expertise to do what’s right for our clients.”

The company, which in some ways had felt like a smaller company when he left, “just feels like it has really grown up,” Nic said. “I genuinely feel how proud people are to be working for Avanade, and this reinforces my decision to return as being the right one.”

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