Merrillyn is responsible for all aspects of the firm’s mutual fund business from strategic planning, customer retention and shareholder servicing to Ariel’s online presence. As chief marketing officer for the mutual funds, she spearheads the creation and execution of integrated marketing and advertising campaigns designed to generate mutual fund sales and promote Ariel’s patient investment philosophy. Additionally, she is in charge of all media and public relations for the firm. Merrillyn serves on the board of trustees for Ariel Investment Trust and is president of Ariel Distributors, LLC. Prior to joining Ariel in 1999, she served as a senior executive at the Acorn family of funds and Kemper Financial Services. Merrillyn is the former chairman of the Mutual Fund Education Alliance as well as a current board member of the Harris Theater for Music and Dance and the Lupus Foundation of America, Inc. Merrillyn earned a BBA in marketing from Andrews University and an MBA from Loyola University Chicago, where she serves on the council of regents as well as the investment policy committee. She is also on the advisory board for Loyola’s Graduate School of Business.