Brewster Announces Karen Boykin-Towns as Commencement Speaker
Brewster is honored to announce that Karen Boykin-Towns will be its 2018 commencement speaker on May 26. Boykin-Towns is vice president of corporate affairs for Pfizer Innovative Health, leading the biopharmaceutical company’s public affairs, government relations, policy, and communication efforts worldwide. A life member of the NAACP, she also serves as the vice chair of the national board of directors and chairs its National Health Committee.
Rising to the top of Pfizer’s ranks, Boykin-Towns has built a reputation as a strategic, results driver operating in complex business and government environments. In her 20 years with the company, she has held leadership roles in government relations, public affairs, and global policy and has the distinction of having served as the company’s first chief diversity officer. In that role she was instrumental in implementing a global strategy that resulted in the company being recognized as leveraging diversity and inclusion as a competitive advantage in its operations in over 100 countries.
Previously she served as deputy director of the New York State Senate Democratic Conference and legislative director and then chief of staff for local senator David Paterson, who went on to become governor of New York.
Boykin-Towns leads a very active civic life. In addition to her work with the NAACP, she is a Brewster Academy trustee, co-chairs the Business Council of New York State, and serves on the board of Friends of Thirteen Public Television. She is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. and The Links Inc.
Boykin-Towns holds an MBA from Baruch College/Zicklin School of Business of the City University of New York and a bachelor’s degree from the College of Mount Saint Vincent where she graduated with honors. Over the years Boykin-Towns has been recognized with many awards and accolades and has been featured in publications such as Businessweek, Crain’s, Diversity Inc and the Network Journal among others. In 2016 Savoy Magazine named her one of their “Top Influential Women in Corporate America” and most recently she was featured on the cover of African-American Career World’s Winter/Spring 2018 edition for the story: Top African-American Business Leaders Pave the Way.
Boykin-Towns and husband Darryl C. Towns reside in Brooklyn, New York, and are the parents of Trinity ’19 and Jasmine ’13.