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Member Profile: Tori Harper-Mercado

03/24/2023 2:21 PM | Anonymous

Tori Harper Mercado started her career in sports and entertainment marketing. She studied areas like market research, rebranding, hospitality and merchandising at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business. “I got great opportunities working for Indy Eleven and the Colts, and my first job out of college was working in social media doing coverage for USF200 within the IndyCar Series.” In this role, Tori got to travel and learn a lot about racing she didn’t know. But when she decided to get married, she wanted to stop the travel and make a career change. One of her business mentors recommended she make a shift into marketing for STEM industries. She spend a short time with an environmental and civil engineering firm. Then, tech found her via her current role in sales with Onebridge. “I love being in front of clients and connecting with individuals.”

Tori adapted to the tech industry by leveraging skills she gained in college. “I learned very early the best way to be effective in any career is to get involved in areas where you are connecting with like-minded individuals. Because my experience and background were not in tech, getting caught up at Onebridge required me to network and meet people who share my values.” This discovery process led Tori to start attending events with Techpoint as well as Women & Hi Tech. “I knew Women & Hi Tech was serving a focused demographic and thought people with similar experiences and challenges would be easier to find in a group like this.”

In 2023, Tori joined the Membership Engagement Committee as the Clickside Chat Coordinator. ClickSide Chats were started during the pandemic as a means for members to build connections and network in a virtual setting. But Tori has big visions for how this program can evolve in the post-pandemic landscape. “Now I would really like to see some chats happen in person. Once the hour is up, people don’t currently get the chance to connect with speakers or each other. Also, I would love if we could host these chats more frequently to address all the topics we have in mind. If we can get into the planning ahead and picking our speakers, that would be amazing.”

Overall, Tori’s perspective on the Indiana tech and STEM community is a positive one. “There are a lot of women in the space that are excited and looking for other women, too. Indiana is a very small community where it’s easy for you to know people at all levels of industry. We are the crossroads of America and I think we are taking advantage of that.” She hopes to see Indiana’s STEM community become more nationally-renowned, especially as both individuals and businesses are willing to take risks. “Today we often forget that the best way to find if something is for us is just to try it. You are going to fail 100% of the time if 100% of the time you don’t try. My tip for anyone trying to make a career transition into STEM fields is to be open-minded and willing to try everything at least once.”

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