An incubator of women leaders

Perspectives from Board Member Karen Catlin

12/23/2016 11:48 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

As the year comes to a close, I want to extend a hearty ‘Thank You’ to board member Karen Catlin for her numerous contributions to the CLUB and our community over the past few years. Karen's impact on the CLUB during her three year term on the Board, including this past year as our Vice President, is significant and she's helped to shape the careers of countless CLUB members through her leadership.  During her time on the board Karen presented at multiple CLUB events, oversaw initiatives around mentoring, programming and affiliate relationships and helped us to quantify our impact as an organization.  This is going to be Karen’s last year on the Board, and while she’ll still continue to be very involved in this community I want to thank her, on behalf of the whole CLUB, for all of her contributions over the years. 

I sat down with Karen recently to talk about her time on the board and her insights for CLUB Members: 

What accomplishment are you most proud of during your time on the board?

I had a blast serving a 3-year term on the CLUB’s Board of Directors. As I look back, I’m proud of so many things that we accomplished as an organization. Some of my personal accomplishments include identifying how to measure the impact of The CLUB and coining the phrase “The CLUB Effect.” I also came up with the #womenhelpingwomen hashtag, which I use in tweets from @TheCLUBSV whenever I have spare room in the 140 character limit.

I also want to mention The Big Read. Almost two years ago, CLUB member Judith Coley (who is now a member of our board) approached me about starting a book group. She proposed not only discussing books, but also publishing reviews of books by female authors under The CLUB’s moniker to both help the authors and build our brand awareness. And she had an awesome name for it: The Big Read. I loved Judith's idea and sponsored its launch. Little did I know that, about a year later, I would co-author "Present! A Techie’s Guide to Public Speaking” and The Big Read would write a review for its back cover.  #womenhelpingwomen in action!

What is your best advice for new CLUB members?

We’re all about women helping women on their leadership journey. CLUB members want to help you, and we want you to help other CLUB members. So get involved! Here are some ideas:

·  Search the CLUB membership directory to find people you can tap for advice or who can make introductions to people in their network. I recently heard from a CLUB member who did just this. She felt stuck in her current tech job and didn’t see much growth, and wanted an external perspective on her career to date and potential directions she could pursue. She found just the right person to talk to, a former head of HR at a large company, reached out, and had an inspiring phone call later that week. 

·  Fill out your CLUB membership bio so that other members can find you when they need help with their career.

·  Come to each CLUB event with an “ask” - one thing that you need some help on. As you meet people, introduce yourself and make your ask. I’ve done exactly this many times. A few years ago, I had a goal to do more public speaking, and my ask was, “Please let me know if you hear of any opportunities to speak on a panel on women’s leadership or to give a lightning talk.” CLUB members started making introductions, and I received many invitations to speak as a result.

What are you planning to focus on in your newly available time?

On our vacation this past summer, my son and I went for a walk along a beach. It was a beautiful day, and we started off talking about how excited he was for his upcoming freshman year of college and some goals he had for his studies. He then asked me about my goals for the rest of the year. I mentioned that I would be wrapping up my term on the CLUB’s board, and he asked me the same question, “What will you do with the extra time?”

I believe that when you make room in your life for new opportunities, they will come your way. And that’s definitely been happening for me.

On that walk, I told my son that I wanted to serve on more advisory boards, to “pay it forward” and share my expertise, especially with organizations that are focused on women in tech and women in leadership. Literally the next day I got an email from a former colleague asking if I would serve on the advisory board for WEST (Women Entering & Staying in Technology). I’ll also be joining the advisory board for The CLUB, and continuing with my work as an advisory to Brown University’s Computer Science Diversity Initiative.

I should emphasize that I’m not going very far as I leave the board. I’m still going to be an active member of The CLUB, and I look forward to attending events and making connections with other members. In the meantime, you can find me online at

Thank you Karen for your contributions to the CLUB! 

Kristiane Koontz
President & Co-Founder, The CLUB

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