Merrill joined Texas 2036 after working for more than 25 years in strategic communications and public affairs in Texas. Prior to this role, she worked her way from Associate at Public Strategies, Inc. to Managing Director/General Manager at Hill+Knowlton Strategies, a global strategic communications firm, and served as Senior Vice President for the national high-stakes public affairs firm, Mercury. She has consistently built a reputation for effectively leading complex strategic communication initiatives involving multi-billion infrastructure projects, complicated financial stories, contentious litigation and regulatory filings and disruptive technology rollouts. She has actively served on executive management teams, co-chairing corporate-wide practice groups (Change & Internal Communications, Corporate Partnerships and Government Relations), managing large client teams and training employees to become trusted advisors. She has taught strategic communications at the University of Texas at Austin’s Center for Professional Education, co-chaired conferences on global trade, immigration and border security and the proper role of government and collaborated on statewide communications to engage more Texans to vote in primary elections. She has served on various councils, boards and fellowships, including the Texas Lyceum, NationSwell, Austin Film Society, Seedling and the Austin Area Research Organization. A native Texan, she grew up in Houston, graduated from Rice University, and attended the LBJ School of Public Affairs. She has worked in Austin, Dallas and Houston, but currently resides in Austin with her husband.