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Catherine Merritt


Chicago, IL

Member Since May 2022


Venture Capital


Catherine is a serial entrepreneur, an investor, an activist and a champion of women and underrepresented leaders within the venture capital and startup space. As a woman who grew her career in the big marketing agency world, Catherine left that behind to build someone on her own. Working with female-founded startups, Catherine launched a consultancy that created access to investment and brands for emerging startups. Her consultancy quickly grew and Catherine evolved it into what is now Spool, the fastest growing agency, globally. Spool works with CPG brands, organizations, startups and companies to support their growth and promote the value they serve communities across the world. In less than four years, Spool has seen exponential growth and begun parlaying revenue into VCs and companies as part of Spool’s growing venture arm. Currently Catherine is leading an SPV for Supply Change Capital, with the intention of bringing 25 new female and/or underrepresented investors into the VC space. Spool was named one of PRNews Top 100 Agency Elite in 2021 and 2022, and Spool was awarded as a finalist for New PR Agencies of the Year from PRovoke Media. Additionally, Spool was shortlisted for two 2022 Sabre Awards categories - Best Agency Disruptors and Innovator of the Year. Catherine herself won the Silver Award for Outstanding Female Entrepreneur from the Stevie’s Women in Business Awards in 2020 and was an honoree for Top Women in PR by PRNews in 2020. Catherine and her husband Ian live in Evanston, just outside Chicago, with their two boys, Teddy and Archie.

Published content

Think of AI as your over-achieving intern, not a replacement


AI has a far-reaching impact on the industry, and businesses need to start learning and exploring the tools to enhance marketing and improve customer relationships.

Why entrepreneurs need to talk more about the mess of being in The Middle


In the spirit of me being me—as someone who is smack in the middle of "The Middle"—let me tell you what it's like from where I sit.

16 experts share hard lessons that have improved their business

expert panel

Sometimes, the biggest business challenges can yield the most valuable lessons for future success. Running a successful business is not just about profits and revenue. It also involves learning from mistakes and setbacks that might seem devastating at the time. The good news is that some of the most challenging lessons a business can face can ultimately be the ones that bring about the most significant improvements. These lessons can come from a variety of sources, such as unexpected failures, market shifts, or even internal conflicts. Below, 16 Fast Company Executive Board members get candid about some of the most difficult lessons they've learned as leaders and how those lessons have ultimately resulted in positive business outcomes.

16 lessons leaders have learned from a crisis 

expert panel

Your ability to weather a huge storm, in the marketplace, may also increase the growth potential of your business success down the line. Whether you're a CEO corporate executive addressing a corporate PR nightmare or a small business owner strapped for cash, trying to figure out how you're going to make payroll next month, a business crisis is bound to happen at some point so you have to be ready to face the challenge.  In the long run, taking accountability and keeping a cool head is one of the best ways leaders can avoid knee-jerk reactions and learn to troubleshoot the storm more effectively. Below, 16 expert panelists from Fast Company Executive Board will explain what overcoming industry obstacles have taught them in general and how doing so can help other company leaders improve their business patterns overall.

15 ways for bootstrapped startups to reward top performers

expert panel

Even if you're self-funded, there are affordable ways to recognize and reward your team for a job well done. For a bootstrapped startup, giving monetary rewards to show appreciation to stand-out employees might not be possible in the very beginning. But there are other kinds of rewards and ways of recognizing hard work that experts have found make a larger impact than money. From shout-outs in all-hands meetings to creating dedicated "kudos" Slack channels, startup founders have created innovative and effective ways to show their appreciation for their employees' hard work without going over budget. Below, a panel of Fast Company Executive Board members provides their best cost-effective ideas for recognizing employees for their excellent work.

Here's how smaller brands engage in meaningful philanthropy

expert panel

Committing to a good cause doesn't need to break the bank. Although start-up business owners are oftentimes running their operations on a tight ship with a limited budget, that doesn't necessarily prevent them from giving back to the local or global community on a regular basis.  With their heart in the right place, leaders who are passionate about a worthy cause should research specific organizations that align with their company's core values and overall mission. Then, commit to involving their entire team in a company partnership–with at least one of those charities–that will truly make a better difference. Below, Fast Company Executive Board members provide 11 ideas to help early employers get creative about how to incorporate philanthropy with purpose in a cost-effective way.

Company details


Company bio

Spool is the fastest growing PR agency in the world because we deliver exceptional work for our clients and we put our people before profits. Partnership: we work with our clients in a true partnership capacity and constantly bring forward proactive, business-driving ideas and strategies to support our clients' growth and success. How? We embrace a business and entrepreneurial mindset which means we push ideas further, we understand our clients' industries, competitors and deliver opportunities to push them ahead of the pack. We also believe in an empathetic and people-focused workplace, which means we support our employees, we promote full lives outside of work and we believe Spool's success should be everyone else's' success who made it possible. Spool was founded by a cohort of media and agency ex-pats back in 2018 and was launched with the belief in a new agency model for today’s companies and brands. So we set out to build it. Three years later, we've grown, we've launched dozens of brands, we've launched an investment arm and we've given back to our community. And we're just getting started.


Marketing & advertising

Area of focus

Public Relations
Impact Investing

Company size

11 - 50