Girard School of Business

Alumni Profile

Karen Cambray ’88

Karen Cambray, chief financial officer at Cartera Commerce in Lexington, was named Boston Business Journal’s 2014 CFO of the Year in the mid-size private company category. She credits her success to her mentors throughout her 27-year career. And when Girard School Dean Mark Cordano asked her to become a judge for the graduate-level Marketing Analysis and Decision-Making class case competition, she quickly agreed.

“I have been trying to give back and mentor up-and-coming professionals. This seemed like a good opportunity to do that,” said Cambray, an accounting major who began her career at Arthur Andersen and has served as CFO for three high-tech companies.

Three teams reached the final round of the case competition, in which they were asked to focus on struggling retailer JCPenney’s troubles, analyzing a case study and proposing new strategies. A $1,500 prize was at stake. Nine teams presented to a faculty panel in the first round. Cambray and two other alumni, also senior-level professionals, judged the final round.

Cambray said, as a judge, she sought three qualities in the presentations: thoughtful analysis, thinking outside the box, and strong communication skills. She wanted to see if each team could “communicate their conclusions and reasons in a clear, concise, articulate way.”

All three teams impressed her. Their presentations demonstrated good thought, critical analysis and were well prepared.

“The program seems to be preparing the students for real-life business situations, so I was impressed with that as well,” she said.