Government/Politics: CAREN MERRICK
SECRETARY OF COMMERCE AND TRADE, COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, RICHMOND
As Virginia’s current secretary of commerce and trade, Merrick came to the job with prior experience working with the governor.
When the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020, she became the founding CEO of the Virginia Ready Initiative — a public-private partnership that Gov. Glenn Youngkin co-founded with his wife, Suzanne. VA Ready partners with community colleges and businesses to provide job-training programs, assisting both jobless Virginians and workplaces seeking qualified job candidates.
Merrick also has extensive experience in the private sector, having co-founded webMethods, a software company that was acquired for $546 million by Software AG in 2007. She later joined NextGen Venture Partners, an angel investor in startups. In 2011, Merrick ran for Virginia Senate as a Republican but was defeated by Sen. Barbara Favola, D-Arlington.
Prior to taking her position in state government, Merrick served on Gladstone Capital Corp.’s board and held a seat on the board of directors for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.