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Recognizing 100 CEOs & C-level Executives

Gem Swartz


Catalyst Marketing Agency

Location: Denver, CO

Founded: 2016

Industry: Marketing

Gem Swartz didn’t feel any particular concern when launching her marketing agency. The risk came when she made her first hire, she said.

“Believe it or not, starting a business felt like a natural next step and didn’t feel risky at all. It didn’t feel like there was a lot to lose,” Swartz said. “I felt as though the sacrifice was worthwhile and only impacted me and my family if it didn’t go as planned. Making the leap to attract talent, sell them on the vision of what could be, and hire them away from their ‘stable’ job was the risky part. The possible negative impact on their career and on their family weighed heavily on me.”

Swartz is CEO of Catalyst Marketing Agency, which helps brands ‘find their soul and express it in unique ways to engage their audiences and be part of the larger cultural conversation,” the company said. “We believe that with creativity, passion, pure tenacity, and each other, we will make great work and successfully connect brands with their customers. Less than 1% of ad agencies are women-owned, according to Adweek. We are proud to be part of that 1% who are unafraid to challenge convention and chart a new path.”

Catalyst’s goals in the coming year are not focused on a specific revenue number but rather on gaining referrals from existing and former clients.

“It’s easy to do the right thing when things are easy and business is abundant,” Swartz said. “A true measure of our character and business ethics can be seen when times are challenging and the market is unpredictable. Having an awareness of that and a desire to do the right thing shapes our initiatives for 2023. Specifically, in lieu of a singular financial goal centered on revenue, we are keeping the team focused on a goal centered on referrals.”

Swartz recently joined the board of Project Worthmore, a nonprofit helping refugees settle in the Denver area.

“It’s particularly timely and important work with our exit from Afghanistan, the war in Ukraine, and the border crisis,” Swartz said. “My service, helping to expand the organization’s impact and shepherd a multimillion budget, fosters an environment where tomorrow’s leaders can look a lot different from today’s.”

The City of Denver recently granted Catalyst Marketing Agency certifications as a Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise, a Small Business Enterprise, a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise and a Small Business Enterprise Concessionaire.

Presented by:

It’s been an honor to be recognized as a Titan 100. My children, 10 and 8, attended the induction event last year. It was important for me to have them see what’s possible if you work hard, have a positive attitude, and possess the tenacity that anything is possible.


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