Featured Corporator: Karen Donoghue
Karen Donoghue sees the value in connecting people—with each other and with organizations. That is her focus in her position as assistant director of the Middlesex West Chamber of Commerce (MWCOC). “We create opportunities for businesses and solo practitioners to meet and do business together,” Ms. Donoghue explains.
“Joining a chamber of commerce is often the right thing to do for a business, but we try to take it to another level of communication and relationship-building. This is not unlike the corporators at Emerson, where we create opportunities for them to meet and greet, as well as receive and share information. It’s about developing relationships that will stand, tried and true, over time.”
While serving as chair of Emerson’s Corporator Nominating and Orientation Committees for the past seven years, Ms. Donoghue oversaw the identification and recruitment of several slates of new corporators. At the time she accepted the position, the hospital had defined the goal to more fully engage its corporators.
“Emerson’s expectations of its corporators was becoming a bit more serious,” she explains. “The hope was that corporators would serve as true advocates who spoke up on behalf of Emerson with confidence as they interact with people in their towns. Not everyone is willing or able to serve in this way, and some people need to think twice about it. But area residents need to know they can receive premiere care right here in Concord, and we depend on our corporators to convey that.”
The engagement of corporators expanded beyond informing friends and neighbors about Emerson programs. “In addition to encouraging corporators to be strong advocates, we began asking that they make Emerson a philanthropic priority and also commit to volunteering by serving on a committee or pitching in at an event.”
Now, as the newly elected co-chair of the Corporator Executive Committee, Ms. Donoghue serves with Bill Ryan and has broadened her scope relative to supporting corporators. “We need to build on what we’re doing already by keeping corporators informed and prepared for any changes that may come,” she says. “Emerson’s service area has grown to comprise 30 towns, so the breadth of what we do needs to extend well beyond Concord.”
A joint Emerson-MWCOC networking event scheduled for September 29 will bring Ms. Donoghue’s two worlds together. Jon DuBois, MD, medical director of medical oncology, is scheduled to make a presentation on molecular research on breast cancer. “Emerson is one of MWCOC’s top corporate sponsors,” Ms. Donoghue says.
In both worlds, a knack for connecting people
Growing up in Concord, Ms. Donoghue says Emerson was always part of her family’s life. When her father, Winston Hindle, Jr., retired from Digital Equipment Corporation, where he rose to serve as senior vice president, he joined the Emerson board and continues as a member. “I saw how my father become interested in healthcare,” says Ms. Donoghue. “He felt it was emerging as an important field. That got me interested in becoming a corporator.”
From early on, she had a talent for getting people involved. After graduating from Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York, Ms. Donoghue ran the school’s Boston alumni association chapter. “I had an instinct for bringing people together for their mutual benefit,” she says.
Ms. Donoghue worked in the human resources department of a bank before working at an information technology startup. Then she headed home to raise her three sons—now 27, 25 and 22—while maintaining various volunteer activities.
She joined the MWCOC five years ago. “I started as the organization’s marketing and events coordinator,” Ms. Donoghue explains. In her role as assistant director, she is struck by the similarity to what she does as an Emerson corporator. “At the chamber, people are clearly looking for business connections. At Emerson, people need a referral to a physician or a clinical service. In both worlds, I like the fact that I know a lot of people and can help connect them with each other for mutual benefit.”
After living in Acton for 21 years, Ms. Donoghue again lives in her hometown of Concord. In her time off, she plays tennis and golf during the good weather, and she skis and plays paddle tennis in the winter. “I love to travel,” she says. “I’ve been fortunate to travel a lot in my life and look forward to doing more in the future. But most of all, I really enjoy spending time at my family’s home on Nantucket.”