Public Affairs Engagement
Public Affairs Engagement
LBJ School of Public Affairs, UT Austin – Coursework completed for MPA
Rice University – B.A. in Political Science and Policy Studies
Merrill joined Texas 2036 in June 2019 to manage all aspects of the organization’s communications after working for more than 25 years in strategic communications and public affairs in Texas.
During her time with Texas 2036, Merrill has played a key role in building the new organization’s brand and reputation and expanding its reach and impact. She has brought together a team to grow its relationships with reporters and publications, build out the social media followers to over 60,000, and develop a wide array of online and print publications, including a series of annual and policy reports, issue papers, development materials and newsletters, helping to solidify Texas 2036’s reputation as a thought leader in data and policy. Her management has supported the organization’s presence in relevant discussions statewide.
Prior Work Experience
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. There, she 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 also 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 fellowship programs and training employees to become trusted advisors.
Further, 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. These roles have allowed her to explore diverse interests and contribute to her community in meaningful ways.
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 and two boxers.