Join us in congratulating Ian DeMeritt on his five-year Fingerpaint anniversary! Ian, head of the medical team in our Saratoga Springs office, joined Fingerpaint as an accomplished virologist with an expertise in infectious disease. Ian’s skill set in scientific and market research, medical writing, medical strategy, and data analysis, along with his PhD in microbiology and immunology, is a positive diagnosis for the agency and our clients.
Read on to learn more about Ian, his time with Fingerpaint, and his advice to someone entering the industry.
What do you remember about your first day at Fingerpaint?
I remember walking in the door and feeling a palpable sense of energy and hearing people laughing. It made me realize that Fingerpainters actually like where they work, enjoy their coworkers, and that it really is a “people first” place to work. There was also a pig running around the office.
Of course, on my second day of work, I was on a plane to the west coast for a new business pitch, so things got real pretty quickly.
What do you like most about the entire agency?
I often describe Fingerpaint as a sandbox: If you don’t like the way something is done and have a better idea, try it out. If it doesn’t work, at least you tried a different way of doing things. We don’t have a large corporate structure that restricts the way we do things—everyone should feel empowered to speak up and influence change. I hope that our “no titles” policy encourages everyone to have a voice and reinforces that great ideas can really come from anyone.
What advice would you give yourself/someone entering the industry?
Be curious. In my experience, the people who are the most successful at Fingerpaint are those who have an innate sense of curiosity, always ask why, and take the initiative to find out the answer for themselves. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever gotten is that it is perfectly OK to say “I don’t know” in response to a question; the trick is to never say “I don’t know” to the same question twice. Always be learning.
Secondly, be your own advocate. No one is going to be looking over your shoulder telling you to take vacation or to be home for dinner with your family. Sure, there are times when it’s unavoidable to work late or on weekends, but it’s important to recognize when you don’t need to be in the office and to make your family more of a priority than your clients. Learning to politely say no sometimes is difficult, but it’s essential in this industry.
What’s your take on Fingerpaint’s commitment to philanthropy?
I love our focus on philanthropy. It’s one of the things that drew me to Fingerpaint in the first place and one of the things that keeps me here. We live in such a great community, and it’s really important to be able to give back to those in need. Not only are Fingerpainters willing to give up their time to pitch in and help others out, but I’m always amazed at how willing we are to contribute donations whenever anyone in the office is fundraising for various causes.
What are you hoping to see happen at Fingerpaint? (Keg in the kitchen, trampoline in the parking lot, 4-day work weeks, etc.—any ideas are welcome.)
I’m still holding out hope for a rooftop patio and a Tesla charger in the parking lot.
What did you do on your sabbatical?
I spent a couple of quiet, electronics-free weeks on Block Island, RI, hiked a few high peaks in the Adirondacks, and renovated a bathroom.
How often do you raid the beer keg/liquor cabinet?
Not very often at all. I’ll occasionally grab a beer late on a Friday afternoon or if I’m working into the evening, but I’m much more likely to hit up the coffee machine than the liquor cabinet.
Who’s your favorite office dog? Why?
Hunter. She’s a combination between a real-life teddy bear and an Ewok.
For your caffeine fix: Saratoga Coffee Traders or Uncommon Grounds?
Coffee Traders. I love their mugs and you can’t beat $1 Death Wish. The only downside is that once you visit, that unique Coffee Traders smell lingers on you for the next few hours.