Meryle Mahrer Kaplan, PhD

Meryle Mahrer Kaplan, PhD (1947-2021), played a critical role in advancing Catalyst’s mission. She worked at Catalyst from 1999-2016, always making time to share knowledge and expertise. She always put inclusion first. She was known by those who worked for her as an outstanding mentor and sponsor. Over the course of her seventeen years at Catalyst, she was a change-maker—focused on serving clients and increasing inclusion and on developing and advocating for her team. Dr. Kaplan had many titles and a variety of roles at Catalyst that were emblematic of her commitment to Catalyst and our mission.

Among other roles, Dr. Kaplan led Global Member Services, drawing from Catalyst’s full knowledge base to foster Supporter impact through activities including Consulting Services, Vital Signs, and Speakers Bureau. She also led the CEO Summit franchise, where she shaped dialogues that engaged senior executives within and across companies. Dr. Kaplan also had executive leadership responsibility for Catalyst’s talent and culture. She worked closely with HR leadership and contributed insights and practices to ensure Catalyst’s status as a premier workplace.

Many past and future Catalyst Award winners can point directly to the guidance and advice they received from Dr. Kaplan as being instrumental to their efforts to create more inclusive workplaces. Throughout her career at Catalyst, she was a generous and caring colleague, always willing to step in and help or advise and mentor, and often the first to bring a focus on our people to business decisions.

Dr. Kaplan was the author of The Catalyst Guide to Employee Resource Groups and the Making Change: Beyond Flexibility series. She was a frequent speaker and served on a number of Catalyst Supporter stakeholder advisory groups focused on diversity and sustainability and on nonprofit boards.

Dr. Kaplan received her BA in Psychology from Douglass College, her MA in Anthropology from the University of Connecticut, and her PhD in Developmental Psychology from Columbia University, where she taught graduate courses in the psychology of women. She received a Woodrow Wilson Research Grant in Women’s Studies, authored Mothers’ Images of Motherhood (Routledge), and co-edited Representations of Motherhood, an anthology published by Yale University Press.

Meryle Mahrer 's Latest Work

Talent Management Practices

Women and Men in Canadian Capital Markets: An Action Plan for Gender Diversity (Report)

This report finds that women continue to struggle to break through the senior leadership ranks in Canadian Capital Markets.

Employee Resource Groups

The Catalyst Guide to Employee Resource Groups 1: Introduction to ERGs (Tool)

The first tool in the set defines what an ERG is, describes how it can benefit an organization, its members, and employees.

Employee Resource Groups

The Catalyst Guide to Employee Resource Groups 2: Developing ERG Infrastructure: A Step-by-Step Planning Guide (Tool)

This tool details all the background work and steps necessary for starting an effective ERG.

Employee Resource Groups

The Catalyst Guide to Employee Resource Groups 3: ERG Governance – Leadership Roles and Structure (Tool)

The third tool in the set details the leadership needs of an ERG.

Employee Resource Groups

The Catalyst Guide to Employee Resource Groups 4: Building Support and Working With Other Constituencies (Tool)

The fourth tool in the set describes how ERGs can work together with all parts of an organization.

Employee Resource Groups

The Catalyst Guide to Employee Resource Groups 5: Action Planning and Effectiveness Tracking (Tool)

The fifth tool in the set describes the different types of programs and activities that ERGs can undertake.

Employee Resource Groups

The Catalyst Guide to Employee Resource Groups 6: Troubleshooting, Membership Issues, Success Factors, and Future Directions (Tool)

The last tool in the set discusses internal and external challenges that ERGs may face.

Work-Life Effectiveness

Making Change – Beyond Flexibility: Creating Champions for Work-Life Effectiveness (Report)

This tool highlights the critical role leaders play in creating WLE culture and describes how they can become WLE champions.

Work-Life Effectiveness

Making Change – Beyond Flexibility: Work-Life Effectiveness as an Organizational Tool for High Performance (Report)

This first report in a two-part series explains the framework and concepts of work-life effectiveness (WLE).