Karen O’Byrne, chief financial and operating officer of Boca Raton-based Modernizing Medicine, has joined the board of PACE Center for Girls Broward, an alternative to institutionalization or incarceration for girls. Her passion as an advocate for gender diversity and for helping women become influential in their communities is what inspired O’Byrne to help the organization. Before joining the board, O’Byrne was a “PACE Setter” and volunteer at PACE as a tutor/mentor.
Why the community should care: The organization advocates for a system of care that effectively evaluates the mental health needs of girls and supports legislation that increases prevention and intervention services to girls with mental health needs, increases access to appropriate mental health programs and services, and keep girls with mental health needs out of the juvenile justice system when the safety of the community is not compromised.
On the board:
Goal: The skills I hope to bring to the PACE board are no different than those I apply in my role as CFO/COO at Modernizing Medicine: build trust, drive results, influence/inspire others to contribute and participate, challenge the status quo, ask hard questions, and make difficult decisions.
Advice to young professionals: Find opportunities that you not only feel passionate about, but to which you can meaningfully contribute with your skills and interests.
Wisdom: It can be very difficult to say ‘no,’ which can lead to over-promising, and under-achieving. Know your limits so that in every commitment you make, you deliver quality and timely results.
On-the-board etiquette tip: Actively contribute to board discussion and activities. Speak up, respectfully. Do not show up to meetings and distract yourself with texting, emails or anything other than the board discussion.
How my volunteer position benefits me: Between my fellow board members and the PACE girls themselves, I am inspired by their tireless drive and incredible results. I learn different perspectives, and approaches to overcome challenges and resolve problems. Giving back to my community also just makes me happy – which can only be good for my ‘regular job.’