First woman to serve as President of the Club’s Board of Governors
Boston, MA (May 25, 2016) – After 108 years, the Harvard Club of Boston has welcomed its first female President, Karen Van Winkle, a Harvard College alumna and native of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Ms. Van Winkle’s election at the Harvard Club of Boston’s Annual Meeting on May 23, 2016, for a three year term, heralds a new era for the organization as it seeks to grow and diversify its membership and enhance its presence in Greater Boston.
Ms. Van Winkle needs no introduction to the Club or its members. She first joined the Club in 1981,
having served twice on the Board of Governors since 1986 and most recently, as Club Vice President for three years. She was the first female honored as a recipient of the Harvard Club of Boston’s Scholar
Program (1976-1980), which enabled her to attend Harvard College. As a key member of the Harvard
Club of Boston’s leadership team, she helped spearhead the transformation of its Back Bay Clubhouse,
which included a new rear entrance, new private dining room, new elevator, a refurbished athletic center, with five squash courts that cater to players ranging from ages 5 to 85, as well as the addition of ClubPub, a casual dining venue and Veritas, the Club’s cocktail lounge and restaurant.
“My experience at Harvard College was truly life changing. It broadened my perspective of the world
beyond my wildest expectations. My Harvard experiences and relationships have helped to form a
wonderful personal and professional network. It is a thrill to be elected President and I thank outgoing
president Mike Shanahan for his service to the Board and his ongoing support,” said Ms. Van Winkle.
Ms. Van Winkle added, “With the completed renovation of the Back Bay Clubhouse, we are poised to
enter a period of tremendous growth as an important voice in Boston’s social circle. I look forward to
working with the Board of Governors and our dedicated staff to make the Harvard Club of Boston even
more accessible, appealing and relevant in the months ahead.”
Keeping with Harvard Club tradition, outgoing president Michael Shanahan, a Club member for 35 years who previously served as the Club’s Secretary, will step down from the Board of Governors to join the Club’s Nominating Committee and will chair its charitable foundation. Mr. Shanahan said, “Karen’s passion for the Club and involvement as an active leader at the Harvard Club for more than 30 years makes her uniquely qualified to be a steady hand in guiding the Club–two special qualities which will continue to serve us well.”
Ms. Van Winkle is the Vice President of Business Development and Marketing for Creative Office
Pavilion, a Boston-based leading provider of workplace solutions and Herman Miller furniture dealer.
Two years ago, she initiated the development of the firm’s laboratory furniture division, and manages
Creative Office Pavilion’s healthcare and lab sales professionals. Denise Horn, Principal and President of the Creative Office Pavilion cited Ms. Van Winkle’s leadership skills. “The Creative Office Pavilion team could not be happier for Karen in her new role as President of the Harvard Club of Boston. She possesses ambition, drive and tenacity, which have contributed to our company’s success. In turn, the Harvard Club will benefit immensely from Karen’s ability to lead and motivate others to achieve Club goals,” said Ms. Horn.
A resident of Belmont, Massachusetts, Ms. Van Winkle graduated from Harvard College in 1980 with a
Bachelor’s degree in Psychology.
About the Harvard Club of Boston
The Harvard Club of Boston is a private club established in 1908 to encourage the social, intellectual and athletic interests of our members, to promote the welfare of Harvard University, to assist students with financial aid, and to foster the Harvard Spirit in all Harvard men and women. The organization maintains two clubhouses: one in the Back Bay neighborhood in Boston, and one in the Financial District. Members of the Club have access to exclusive events, dining opportunities, and athletic facilities in the two locations. With approximately 5,000 members, the Harvard Club is one of the City’s premier private clubs and has been named a Platinum Club of America.