Karen van Bergen, chief executive officer of global public relations agency Porter Novelli, has been named a 2016 “Woman of Influence” by the New York Business Journal. Winners were selected by a panel of business leaders based on success as a business leader, strong community commitment and a track record of paying it forward. The award is part of a national effort by American City Business Journals to celebrate women business leaders and create a culture of mentoring.
“This is a huge honor, and I am humbled to be in the company of so many brilliant, accomplished and inspirational women,” said van Bergen. “Throughout my career I have been lucky to work alongside many smart, talented and committed professionals. They have made coming to work a true pleasure, and I share this recognition with each and every one of them.”
Van Bergen has served as CEO of Porter Novelli since 2013. She is one of only a handful of female CEOs leading top global public relations firms. Under her leadership, Porter Novelli has experienced a significant transformation, marked by growth and award-winning work, and capped by recognition as a 2014 PRWeek Best Place to Work and inclusion on the 2015 PR News Top Places to Work list, a result of van Bergen’s steadfast focus on talent.
“The key to managing and growing large teams successfully is a genuine investment in people,” said van Bergen. “I believe passionately that when team members are constantly challenged to learn more and do their best, given opportunities to develop and empowered to look out for one another, creativity will flourish, clients will thrive and staff will come to work whistling.
Prior to joining Porter Novelli, van Bergen was senior partner and senior vice president at FleishmanHillard and global lead for OneVoice, a consulting team serving Royal Philips Electronics. She also served as regional director for the Netherlands, Central and Eastern Europe. Before FleishmanHillard, van Bergen served two stints with McDonald’s totaling more than 13 years.
Van Bergen serves on the board of the PR Council and is a founding member of Omniwomen, which aims to increase the influence and number of women leaders throughout the Omnicom network. She is a frequent mentor to young professional women and was named to the PRWeek Power List in 2013, 2014 and 2015.