Karen Walker-Beecher is a business-minded strategic people leader who is passionate about creating cultures of innovation, accountability and inclusion, where people can learn, thrive and grow personally and professionally. Karen joined Bowdoin in 2012 as its Chief Operating Officer when it was a small and respected contingent recruiting firm and led its transformation to become the 5th largest retained executive search firm in Massachusetts. Karen helped create a highly engaged team (92/100 engagement score) with a passion for delivering excellence to clients and candidates (NPS = +80). Karen also launched Bowdoin Cares, an employee-run team focused on social responsibility initiatives that give back to our communities. Currently, Karen serves on Bowdoin’s Board of Advisors and its strategy around Bowdoin’s panel series on “How to Build a Culture of Innovation and Accountability in the New Economy” and its HR/People Forum that she conceived and developed.
Prior to Bowdoin, Karen was Vice President, Sales Strategy and Global Operations at Pegasystems Inc, the leader in BPM and CRM software solutions. During her 4 years at Pega, she led its global expansion from 130 to 400+ people in sales, alliances, product and operations as it grew from $160m in revenue to over $500m.
Prior to Pega, Karen was CFO and Head of People Operations for Boston Communications Group, Inc. (bcgi), a real-time transaction processing SaaS technology company. Karen joined when it was VC-backed with $8 million in revenue and 80 employees. She helped drive growth and employee engagement (awarded BBJ’s Best Place to Work), leading bcgi through its IPO and global expansion, growing to over 1,500 employees and over $100m revenue in 6 years.
Karen currently serves as the Co-Chair of the Boston College Technology & Entrepreneurship Council and is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Boston Collegiate Charter School. She has also been involved in several other non-profit initiatives, including co-founding The Ketchum Classic, which raised over $500,000 for ALS-TDI in 3 years.
Karen is an outdoor enthusiast who loves to mountain bike, road bike, run, hike and ski the bumps with her husband and friends. She holds a BA in Accounting from Boston College and attended Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management’s Advanced Executive Program.