Karen Holley Horrell (74C)
Award: 2010 Distinguished Achievement Award
Achievements: Karen Holley Horrell (74C) joined the Great American Insurance Company as an entry-level attorney in 1977 and went on to achieve significant success. She was the first woman to hold the title of general counsel for the now $4 billion insurer group and later became the company’s first female senior vice president. Today, she is a member of the executive leadership team with responsibility for 225 employees and an annual budget of $35 million.
Karen’s work on behalf of her alma mater is equally noteworthy. The first winner of Berry’s Outstanding Young Alumni Award (1987), Karen accepted the mantle of leadership and has served with distinction on the Board of Trustees since 1999. Her willingness to assume this burden of responsibility “represented the beginning of a significant alumni presence on our board,” said Dr. Scott Colley, president at the time she became a trustee. As an alumna, she brought to her duties “the mature perspectives of a company executive coupled with the warm heart of a graduate of the college.”
Those qualities were honored in early 2010 when Karen was elected chair of the Board of Trustees. She is the first woman, and only the second graduate, to hold this distinction.
Throughout her career, Karen has contributed her time and talents to non-profit organizations focused on education, health care and social services. Her involvement includes service as a board member and key officer for the YWCA of Cincinnati, which has honored her as a Career Woman of Achievement; Tri-Health Inc.; The Children’s Home of Cincinnati; Seven Hills School; and the United Way & Community Chest of Greater Cincinnati.
She also served on citywide campaign cabinets for the United Way and Fine Arts Fund and was selected, in 2006, for the “One Hundred Wise Women Program,” sponsored by Deloitte & Touche. She currently chairs the Hamilton County (Ohio) Hospital Commission.
“Karen was a Berry student of great promise, which she has fulfilled beyond expectations,” said retired faculty member Dr. Ouida Word Dickey (50C).
Of all her accomplishments, Karen is most proud of her success in maintaining “a healthy balance of family, community, personal and work life.”
She and husband Jack have been married for more than three decades. Their daughter, Holley, is a graduate of Duke University and a law student at Stanford University.