Gem Swartz thrives on solving business problems and spotting business opportunities as a marketer. For Gem, it’s less about creating a pretty picture for the sake of aesthetics and more about delivering results for her clients. As co-founder of Catalyst Marketing Agency, she brings more than 20 years of experience to this full-service marketing agency based in Denver, Colorado, where she loves seeing her clients, and her team, thrive.
Catalyst Marketing Agency, founded in February 2016, might be relatively young, but that’s never stopped them from attracting major tech clients like Adobe, Microsoft, and NetApp. “As you can imagine, these companies have very high standards and an arduous vendor approval process,” Gem says. “So, it’s a real honor to be able to work with these enterprise clients and be a part of an elite group of talented agencies despite our youth. I think it really speaks to our superior service, exceptional work, fresh thinking, and agility to meet changing needs.” As co-founder and CEO of Catalyst, Gem leads the team by modeling the agency’s values of being bold, delighting clients, and advocating for inclusion to deliver on the company’s vision of being the most sought-after marketing agency for growth-oriented companies. Along with her talented team of strategists and creatives, Gem helps clients develop marketing programs and generate leads tailored to their unique needs and goals.
Catalyst combines creative messaging and branding with the mathematical rigor of predicting return on ad-spend, a powerful mix that helps clients successfully experience growth. It’s this double-edged strategy that helps Gem and Catalyst stand apart from other marketing firms. “We’re very nerdy about results,” she says. “We’re constantly asking, did it perform? Did it do what we wanted? How do we continue to optimize and iterate?” Her passionate and competitive nature drives her to constantly push the envelope and look for a better way. “In my mind, nothing is impossible.”
Gem discovered her love of marketing and problem solving after graduating from University of California, Berkeley, and working with developers like Catellus, Taylor Morrison, and Benchmark Communities, helping them reimagine neighborhoods and create new spaces for people to live and work in the San Francisco Bay Area and Austin, Texas. For Gem, seeing communities flourish was deeply gratifying. Gem's zeal for bringing brands to life brought her to a boutique advertising firm, where she was quickly promoted to EVP thanks to her knack for management. She led teams in a fast-paced environment partnering with CPG, retail, and healthcare clients including Duraflame, Siemens, and Hill Physicians, helping them expand their market share in competitive industries, while also overseeing operations, creative, media, and client acquisition and retention.
Gem is also an advocate for small businesses and the unique issues they face. As a graduate of the Goldman Sachs 10K Small Business Program at Babson College, she is part of a strong network of small business owners across the country, with a collective revenue of $12 billion. After witnessing the struggle faced by so many small businesses in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, she served as state captain for Colorado, meeting with government officials to amplify the voice of small businesses. She also recently joined the Leadership Council of the National Association of Small Businesses to continue her advocacy work. And when she’s not tackling business challenges, she’s tackling fitness hurdles with her Peloton, which she loves so much she even brings it on family road trips.
Founder & Partner— Catalyst Marketing Agency