Using the power of assessments, an executive changed his life and trajectory.
The People: Ryan Miller
When someone gets to an executive level in their career, it can be easy to forget that they started at an entry-level position. However, all executives, CEOs, presidents, and vice presidents had to start somewhere, and that origin can be more important than you think.
Meet Ryan Miller. He is the Vice President of Products at Mercaris, a company that helps organizations in the organic and non-GMO agriculture industry make better business decisions. They do this by collecting up-to-date, accurate information on market conditions for organic and non-GMO commodities. With this information, they provide organizations with market data and analysis on identity-preserved commodities.
Ryan concentrates on helping build the Mercaris Platform which provides data-driven market reports and analysis for the organic and non-GMO agricultural sector. He works with every department in the organization to make sure that the product is being built with the customer in mind.
However, he didn’t always lead teams and work on building data-driven SaaS products. Once upon a time, he was a student at the University of Northern Iowa, sitting in a sales class, wondering what exactly he was going to do with his life.
The Problem: Was It The Right Path?
Like many young students, Ryan was struggling with finding his path forward. “I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to pursue career-wise, and I was trying to make the best decision for my future,” he told us. As a Sales major, Ryan was working hard. He happened to take a DISC assessment on his first day of Sales class. Midway through the semester, he realized he didn’t fit the typical sales mold and he wasn’t sure if he wanted to. So what was his next step?
The Solution: Finding Balance
Ryan went back to the data and re-examined his DISC assessment, looking for insight and answers.
“I realized that I was adapting my Steadiness score down dramatically and compensating by adapting my Influence score up,” Ryan said. “That’s not close to my Natural behavior, and it explained why I was overwhelmed and dissatisfied with that area of my studies.”
Ryan realized Sales wasn’t his enemy, but he did want to pursue it more technically. He double majored in Marketing: Sales and Advertising and Management Information Systems.
“I figured if I had more technical chops, I could sell more technical products and explain with great detail more,” Ryan said. He discovered he enjoyed the technological side of business more than the sales side, so he started getting into web development and programming.
The Results: Undeniable Growth and Real Resilience
This change launched Ryan’s career.
“Taking a DISC assessment gave me a better baseline comprehension of my behavior and professional needs,” Ryan told us. “I now had an articulated understanding of how I was reacting to these different fields of study— DISC gave me a way to move forward.”
After working as an Advanced Programmer Analyst in the Insurance industry, in 2009 Ryan found himself interviewing for a job at TTI Success Insights, the very company whose assessment results guided him forward as a student and young professional. “It felt like a real full circle moment when I got the job,” Ryan said. “I could take the skills I’d learned and directly apply them to develop these incredible tools.”
Ryan worked at TTI SI for twelve years and became the Director of Product Development in 2018. He only left TTI SI in 2021 to pursue the opportunity at Mercaris.
Now, in such an influential leadership role, Ryan is focusing on finding value in every individual. “My experience with assessments has irrevocably changed the way I view others.
Everyone brings something to the table, and no one person can be all things. I trust my abilities, rely on others, and trust their expertise.”
About the Author
Jennifer Birch-Robinson worked as a communications professional in the corporate industry until she experienced burnout herself. She’s now working as a personal and career development blogger to help other people have better experiences in their own professional lives.