Rachel Hack Merlo serves as a liaison between the many organizations and leaders in Kansas City with an interest in the ultra high-speed Google Fiber project and the rest of the Google Fiber team. She also oversees community affairs efforts in the community for Google.
Prior to joining Google, Rachel was the President of the Software and Information Technology Association of Kansas, a technology trade association that recently merged with KCnext. She was also the Executive Director of the American Advertising Federation - Kansas City (formerly the Ad Club) for seven years.
Rachel is a lifelong Kansas Citian. She is a Big Sis in Kansas City's Big Brothers Big Sisters program and serves on the Boards of Directors of the Central Exchange, Kansas City Convention and Visitors Association, Guadalupe Centers, and Advisory Board of the University of Missouri - Kansas City Women's Center. Rachel's accomplishments have earned her the acknowledgment as a "Rising Star" by KC Business Magazine, a recognition of Kansas City leaders under the age of 40.
What makes Kansas City a great place for creativity and innovation?
Kansas City's open atmosphere makes it relatively easy to find people to bounce ideas off of, ask for advice, or work together with to make big things happen. Plus, the cost of living makes it feasible to take risks. With many interesting local projects and talented people being recognized around the world, the stars are aligning for an era of dynamic growth in my hometown.
When and where are you happiest?
Watching a live performance - concert, sporting event, theatre - when I know I am in the presence of someone doing what they love and have worked hard to do. Just thinking about Lonnie McFadden tap dancing across the bar at the Phoenix or my sister or brother crossing a marathon finish line puts a smile on my face.
What is your favorite place in Kansas City?
Around a table or picnic blanket with friends or family sharing a good meal. (Food plays a big role in my interpretation of happiness.) Also, Loose Park on the rare weekend afternoons when I have no commitments on my calendar.
Where's your favorite place outside of Kansas City?
Charleston, South Carolina = Sunny Beaches + Nice People + Pretty Architecture + Great Restaurants + Coconut Cake at Peninsula Grill = My Kind of Town
What's your most treasured personal possession?
My great-grandmother's wedding ring given to me by my Grandma Leon.
Who's your favorite fictional hero?
Princess Buttercup or Beatrix Kiddo: One fights for love, the other for revenge, each badass in her own right.
Who do you most admire in real-life?
Strong people who always see the good in others and in themselves. Fortunately, I know too many to name them individually.