Karen Kochevar serves as an Independent Board Director for private equity-backed companies located on three continents. She is a retired Partner and Chief Financial Officer of Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG), the NYC hospitality company that created such beloved restaurant brands as Shake Shack, Union Square Cafe and Gramercy Tavern. Over her near-decade tenure with USHG, Karen led the company’s strategic business development efforts during a period of rapid growth which transformed the company from a local, independent restaurant operator into an international hospitality conglomerate, and which culminated in the IPO of Shake Shack in 2015.
Prior to her career in hospitality, Karen spent a decade on Wall Street working in private equity and investment banking for such leading firms as Warburg Pincus and Lehman Brothers. Originally from Minneapolis, Karen earned an MBA with distinction in finance from The Wharton School of The University of Pennsylvania and an A.B. in International Relations from Stanford University.
Karen cares deeply about her social impact. She most recently served as Chair of Greyston Foundation, a storied social enterprise. During her chairmanship, the organization was named to Fast Company’s list of The World’s Most Innovative Companies, and Greyston’s nascent Center for Open Hiring was recognized among Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas.
Karen is privileged to serve on YSC’s Board of Directors. She has long supported YSC following her own breast cancer journey more than 17 years ago and previously served on YSC’s Board from 2013-2017.