President, The Durkin Agency LLC
Local Board Member, New York City
Karen Durkin is a senior executive with 20+ years experience leading business strategy, integrated marketing communications and sponsorship and fundraising for several prominent consumer and non-profit organizations. She founded The Durkin Agency LLC in 2013. Her New York-based firm is a leading marketing firm specializing in strategic planning, brand positioning, sponsorship sales, fundraising and corporate communications, including: thought leadership, messaging, content development, editorial services, public relations, media relations, social media and media training.
Prior to the The Durkin Agency, Karen was Chief Executive Officer of the Women’s Sports Foundation founded by Billie Jean King and also served in executive leadership positions with the National Hockey League (EVP Communications and Brand Strategy) and the Ladies Professional Golf Association (EVP/Chief Marketing Officer).
While at the LPGA (1995-2006) she held various roles of increasing responsibility in the areas of sponsorships, business development, global retail licensing, and marketing and communications. Following the LPGA's 50th Anniversary and working directly with the LPGA Commissioner, executive management team and Board of Directors, Karen led one of the LPGA's most comprehensive strategic re-visioning efforts, resulting in double-digit fan and sponsorship growth and the highly successful "These Girls Rock" campaign to rejuvenate the LPGA brand and unify the organization.
Following the LPGA she joined the National Hockey League as Executive Vice President of Communications and Brand Strategy and played a key role in the league's rebuilding efforts following the 2004-05 lock-out. Working directly with the NHL Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner, Karen’s key NHL responsibilities included: strategic messaging; integration of all key NHL communications functions; event PR (inaugural Winter Classic, Stanley Cup television tune-in, etc.); league-wide awareness and issues; and player branding initiatives.
Karen began her career at New York-based Cohn & Wolfe Public Relations, a
Burson-Marsteller and Young & Rubicam company. Throughout her career she has received several awards and honors: one of Shape Magazine’s Women Who Shape the World (2009); one of Sports Illustrated’s most influential women in golf (2005) and Golfweek Magazine’s “Forty Under 40” as among those likely to shape the game and the business (2002).
Karen serves as a board member of the Positive Coaching Alliance’s New York chapter. She also has served as a board member of the Susan G. Breast Cancer Foundation’s Central Florida Race for the Cure and the Executive Women’s Golf Association. Currently, she serves on the event committee for the Wilderstein Historical Site in Rhinebeck, New York.
A Rhodes Scholar candidate, Karen is a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Rochester where she studied music at the Eastman School of Music and minored in English. She has a master’s of science from Northwestern University‘s Medill School of Journalism. While at Medill, she worked for the school’s Washington D.C.-based Medill News Service, reporting for The Hilton Head Island Sun covering South Carolina’s elected officials (Strom Thurmond, Fritz Hollings, etc.) and other Capitol Hill news.
She resides in New York’s beautiful Hudson Valley.