Hey, my name is Emily Merrill. I’m a taco loving people connector. And I’m obsessed with playing the name game, and all things networking. I’m the founder of secondary society, a female focus networking community, as well as a business coach for female business owners passionate about bringing their business to the next level with the help of events, community and connections. I crave deep conversations, and I’m continuously curious to see what makes people tick. And I’m invested in uncovering their stories with some life lessons along the way. This podcast is aimed to inspire and educate as you tackle your busy day to join the conversation and tune in for the second degree podcast. Hello, hello. I’m your host, Emily Merrill. And today I am going to be hosting a solo episode. It has been a very long time since I’ve done a solo episode. So I feel like there’s so much to catch up on. But most importantly, we’ve got some really big news happening, we have a whole new name, and the name while it’s not so different, it evokes a lot more differences than what we had before. So for those that are just tuning in, I’m Emily Merrill. I am the founder of what was once six degrees society, and is now second degree society. So you might be asking yourself, What the heck is going on Emily, we Why Why the sudden name change, but also the subtle name change. And then also, something important to note is that the name of this podcast will be changing. So we are no longer the sixth degree podcast. We are now the second degree podcast, your friendly interrogation podcast, just getting by. Okay, guys. So it has been a journey, I’m going to take you way back to 2014 When I was a 20, something year old working in corporate. And I remember turning to my work wife at the time and looking around my corporate office and being like, I don’t want to be my CMO. I don’t want to be the Director of events. I don’t want to do this forever. It was February it was New York City, it was snowing outside. And overhead light was like most light that we were getting. And it just life felt very bleak at that time. And so at this point in my life, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my future. And figured I bet I could find answers if I actually asked my friends. So in a moment of inspiration and quick conversation, and this is a common theme you’ll hear is that I move very, very, very quick. I decided to bring to send out an invitation to all these humans that I’ve connected and collected over the years my life and ask them if they wanted to come together and learn from one another. And shockingly, over 40 people said yes, and the first event of bringing people together happened. Guys, this was not meant to be a business. This was not meant to be something that changed my life. This was meant to be an opportunity to learn what other people in my sphere do. So like what is the day to day plan or do what is the day to day fashion buyer do like just hearing from different perspectives in different industries. And then fast forward after my very first event. And for those that have never been to an event before. What we do is we can pick who you meet while networking. So pre event, you get everyone’s BIOS pictures, job titles, companies, emails. And based on that information we handpick manually. This is not AI y’all, we handpick who you should be connected with. So you meet people that are intentionally picked for you. And now we also have programming. But at this time, the hypothesis I had was I could help people meet for individuals in the room in a very structured manner in a short amount of time. So that’s what we did. It was supposed to be one and done. I was supposed to leave inspired, understanding what I was going to do with my life. And instead something very different happened. People started asking me when my next event was they started asking me if they could bring friends. They started asking me if they could collaborate with me. And it was not what I had intended for the results to be. And one friend two in attendance actually asked me if we could partner together. So in 2014, we became city society and we joined forces with a Facebook group that was very vibrant at the time and became This monthly programming, where we did curated connections, and then monthly events in person in New York City. So our events included workout events, panels, how to career change hearing from HR executives at multiple different industries. We had peloton events, like anything that you could think of I’ve probably done at some point in my life. So this is 2014 2015, I switched into I switched companies, I was still in the same industry, I left one fashion company for another, and was thinking maybe once I leave this fashion company, I will feel differently, I will feel better, I will feel X, Y and Z. And instead what happened, I continued feeling this longing to take this side, hustle side created and do more with it. But unfortunately, my resources were limited. My time was limited. I was only working after work and before work. So it was hard to put my heart and soul into it. Until at the end of 2015. I had a friend who reached out to me from Chicago, who asked if she could bring what I had been creating the city society and bring it to Chicago. And this idea came to my mind where I could create this experience that I’ve created in New York City and replicate it across cities. And I looked at my bank account, I looked at the life ahead of me, I lived with a roommate in the West Village, New York City, I was super single. I had no dog, I had no baby, I had no boyfriend. And I realized I could take a bet on myself. And so at the end of 2015, right after Thanksgiving, I put in my resignation to the company I was working for with the vow to start this company at the beginning of January 2016. So that’s a little background. In 2016, I changed the name to six jury society. And that name came around because I was co working at a girlfriend’s house. And she was on the phone with someone I had introduced her to. And I was looking for a new name to like legitimize myself I had since moved on from my business partner at the time, and city society never felt like my true ownership, my true name. So I heard her in the other room. And she was saying, oh, gosh, it’s always the seventh the degree of Emily Merrill, because I had made this intro to her. And long story long. I know the story of six degrees. So if you don’t know the story, six degrees, so idea of that we’re all connected through six degrees of separation. So if you were a complete stranger to me, we could find a connection through six people’s to get to you. And then there’s a fun game probably heard before called the six degree of Kevin Bacon, or Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. So every Hollywood actor can be connected back to Kevin Bacon in some capacity. So for example, if you said, an actor, you can say that actor worked with this actor who worked with that actor who or did this actor who’s worked with this person that is married to Kevin Bacon, so it all goes back to him and began. So a little history on that one. So six degrees became his own business in 2016. And we successfully launched 10 markets across the country, we pivoted virtually during the pandemic, we launched the six degree podcast. And it was incredible. It was really, really, really amazing. And then, at the end of 2023, I started reflecting on what 10 years the business meant to me. And I realized, after looking through all the connections that I’ve made, like 1000s, and 1000s, and 1000s of connections, I recognized that it wasn’t six degrees, my hypothesis of six degrees of separation. Were really all second degrees, we I’m just the catalysts to help make that second degree connection happened to become the first degree. And so I started thinking about LinkedIn as well. So like when you go on LinkedIn, I do a lot of LinkedIn stalking, you typically look at your first degree connections, primarily. And then you look at your secondary connections, or I personally have never looked at my sixth degree connections, and would find it a lot harder to ask multiple people to then introduce me to the sixth degree. So in celebration of 10 years of of this incredible journey, I decided to rebrand and to keep the name still similar. I love SDS and I love what we’ve created, but I just I don’t feel as strongly about six anymore, and the idea that we are all strangers. I think really we are just a friend waiting to happen. And at second degree society our goal is to make those friendships and business relationships that much more possible and that much more seamless for individuals. So, moving forward, we are now known as second degree society. We are still SDS. And this podcast will be the second degree with Emily Merrill. So you’re going to continue hearing incredible interviews and stories with individuals. And I’ll be popping on here that much more, telling my stories, sharing some networking, strategies and tips. I’ll be introducing a few new personal offerings this year too. So if you desire to work with me and learn from me, that doors always open but I am just beyond grateful for you for being a part of this journey for for bearing with us from the ups and downs from global pandemics to some, you know, significant life changes like marriage and babies and all moves and I’ve really grown up with this community and what started off again as like selfish desires to learn and figure out what I want to do with my life has really taught me how to live such a vibrant and incredible life and I’ve give that all to you and to to being a part of making this so flippin special. So anyhow, we will see more of you on the second degree but cheers to what is in the future. Thanks again.