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.