Karena Strella ’90, incoming Board chair

“Karena has been my partner and confidante on all key trustee decisions, always offering thoughtful, creative advice,” said Board of Trustees chair Barbara M. Baumann ’77 (left), of Karena Strella ’90, who becomes the Board chair on July 1, 2019.

By Sasha Nyary

Karena Strella ’90 has been named the chair of the Board of Trustees at Mount Holyoke College, effective July 1, 2019.

Strella takes on this latest role after nearly a decade of service as a trustee. She currently serves as vice chair and also leads the Enrollment Committee. Named to the Board in 2011, Strella has chaired three other committees over the course of her Board career and participated in several more.

“I can’t recall an incoming Board chair who has had that sweep of previous Board leadership roles,” said Board chair Barbara M. Baumann ’77. “This is a testament both to her versatility and to the enormous confidence that I and her fellow trustees have in Karena’s judgment and collegiality. She is a superb strategic thinker. She has an eye for the next big ideas and aims Board conversations toward what makes Mount Holyoke truly distinctive.”

Calling Strella’s leadership “superbly effective,” President Sonya Stephens said, “Karena’s deep engagement with the College and her passionate support for the work that we do are a testament to her loyalty and commitment to Mount Holyoke. Her curiosity and insights, her thoughtful and thought-provoking questions, and her commitment to excellence and equity all make her an exceptional choice.”

Strella brings 25 years of professional strategy, management and organization skills to her new position at Mount Holyoke. She is a partner at Egon Zehnder International, a global talent advisory firm, where she has held several leadership roles. In her current position, she focuses on long-term CEO succession and executive leadership.

Previously, Strella developed and managed corporate venturing activities for the Permanente Company. As a consultant with BDC Advisors, she created solutions for growth and revenue generation for clients, and at Johnson & Johnson she led marketing and product development for a surgical specialties product line.

“I’m honored to serve the College in this role and work more closely with our community,” Strella said. “Mount Holyoke’s relevance in today’s world is indisputable. The strength of our students, faculty, staff, alumnae and Board is distinctive.”

After attending Muscatine High School in Iowa, Strella graduated from Mount Holyoke in 1990 with a degree in psychology. She also holds an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management. A member of the Marin County chapter of the Alumnae Association, she lives in Sausalito, California, with her husband, a documentary filmmaker, and step-daughter.