Magazine article The Crisis

New Board Vice Chair Ready to Work

Magazine article The Crisis

New Board Vice Chair Ready to Work

Article excerpt

What first won Karen Boykin-Towns a major role with the NAACP, in part, was her expertise as an executive with a global pharmaceuticals firm. What's kept the Harlem-born Brooklynite involved-since being tapped back in 1999 to join the NAACP's National Health Committee-is her belief in the civil rights organization's capacity to make critical, societal change and to adapt itself to changing times.

That requires, said Boykin-Towns, new vice chair of the NAACP's national board, knowing one's strengths and when, where and with whom to coalesce in an America where people of color are projected, collectively, to comprise a majority of the U.S. population by 2046. (Minority children are projected to outnumber White children in 2019.) "It used to be that the NAACP was the leader, doing much of this alone and dictating what was needed and how things would be done," said Boykin-Towns, vice president of corporate affairs at pharma's Pfizer. "We've begun to understand that there are some things we should lead and some things another organization should lead, that this has to be collaborative if we are going to make even greater impacts."

Her own imprint and impact follow a professional trajectory that began in the New York State Legislature. There, the Baruch College/ City University of New York MBA-her undergraduate business degree is from the College of Mount Saint Vincent in the Bronx, N.Y.-had been a policy analyst and chief of staff to a state lawmaker whose father, a labor lawyer, was one of the first Blacks elected to the same legislature. …

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