Meet the Collective: Karen Boone joins our Board of Directors
Special Q&A by co-founder and CEO Ali Diab
One of the most important things I’ve learned in my career is how essential it is to surround yourself with quality people — people that share your passion, push your assumptions, and cover your blind spots.
Without question, the team we’ve built at Collective Health is our greatest accomplishment. Today, I’m thrilled to share that we’re deepening our leadership bench — welcoming Karen Boone to our Board of Directors.
Karen is the former President, Chief Financial and Administrative Officer of RH (formerly Restoration Hardware). Her perspective as a finance and HR leader, a mom, and a Collective Health customer during her time at RH make her an invaluable addition to the boardroom.
I sat down with Karen to learn all about her background and why she joined our team.
Where are you from?
I grew up in the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area. After living in San Francisco for many years, Marin County is where I call home today.
Why are you passionate about Collective Health?
Collective Health is disrupting and transforming healthcare in a way that everyday consumers and business leaders can’t ignore. As a mom and a CFO, I’ve seen it firsthand. People deserve a fundamentally better user experience and employers deserve more control over their investment. Collective Health is delivering both.
Why did you join the Board?
First and foremost, I truly believe in the mission of the company. But at the end of the day, companies are run by people. I have been so impressed by you and Rajaie and the people you’ve brought on board — there’s no doubt in my mind that this is the team that is going to change American healthcare.
I also think I bring a valuable perspective. As the former President, CFO, and Chief Administrative Officer of RH (formerly Restoration Hardware), I know what it’s like to be both a client customer and a member of Collective Health. I’m excited to represent that perspective in the boardroom.
What would you say to your peers about Collective Health?
I would challenge them to join the broader healthcare conversation. The fact of the matter is, if CFOs and CHROs alike haven’t been paying attention to the revolution in healthcare, they’re falling behind. In all industries and at companies of all sizes — employee healthcare needs to be central to your workforce strategy, demanding the attention of the C-suite. Frankly, the spend is just too massive to ignore. It’s our job as executives to optimize that spend for the health of our people and our businesses.
What excites you most about where Collective Health is going?
It’s exciting to see Collective Health’s momentum in the market. Members who have been on the platform are asking for Collective Health in recruiting conversations when they’re considering a career change. Is there a more powerful signal than that? Collective Health has become a clear competitive differentiator that’s helping employers attract and retain top talent.
What’s more, we actually have data that shows Collective Health can save employers money — bucking the trend of rising healthcare costs. In all my career I’ve never seen a health plan partner be able to save me real dollars while delivering an exceptional level of service to my employees. What Collective Health is doing is truly revolutionary.
What’s one of the most important lessons you’ve learned in your career?
You are going to have to be tough, but you can still be kind.
What’s your favorite thing to do?
Travel with my family. As much as I love Northern California, I really want to expose my daughters to other countries and other cultures. After traveling though, I always feel so grateful returning home to the Bay.
As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up and how does that inform what you do today?
Well, I really wanted to be a dolphin trainer when I was little. It started with an obsession with the show, Flipper, but evolved into a love for dolphins as an intelligent species. After many years and more research, my love transitioned into a belief that dolphins didn’t belong held up in captivity. And so began an existential crisis about my long held childhood dream! I still do love dolphins and now support several causes on their behalf.
How does that relate to my career as a CFO? No idea. But it’s certainly reinforced my belief to keep digging and keep learning.
Do you have any irrational fears?
I am terrified of spiders.