Jane Powers ’86 Elected Vice Chair of Colby Board of Trustees

Announcements4 MIN READ
By Kardelen Koldas '15
Contact: George Sopko ([email protected]) 207-859-4346
August 12, 2021

Fenway Health’s Chief of Staff and Executive Vice President of Strategic Initiatives Jane Powers ’86 has been elected vice chair of Colby College Board of Trustees. Serving on the board as a trustee since 2005, Powers assumed her role as of May 31.

Powers, joining the board for a third time, previously served in key board roles including chair of the People and Programs Committee, vice chair of the Admissions and Financial Aid Committee, and a member of an ad hoc committee on racial justice and the executive committee.

“I have been so fortunate to benefit from Jane’s wise counsel and sharp insights, and I am thrilled she is taking on this new role,” said President David A. Greene. “Colby made a real difference in her life, and she has never stopped giving back to the College she loves. She is a natural leader who is forever guided by principles and a clear sense that Colby will shine when we act in concert with our highest values. The board will be stronger for her leadership, and the College will thrive under her guidance.”

“It’s been one of the great privileges of my whole life to serve on the Colby board,” said Powers. Her commitment to her board work speaks to her passion for increasing access to a Colby education, something she knows firsthand is a life-changing experience. “I’m also incredibly honored to have the responsibility of being vice chair.”

Powers joins other board leaders Eric Rosengren ’79, chair of the board, and Sunil Thakor ’99, vice chair. Rosengren, president and chief executive officer of Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, assumed his role as chair in 2016. Thakor became vice chair in 2020 and is currently a senior portfolio manager and research analyst at Sands Capital Management in Arlington, Va.

Powers, the seventh woman to become vice chair, first joined the board as an alumni trustee, serving two three-year terms, followed by eight years as a corporate trustee. Before becoming a trustee, she was a member of the Board of Visitors.

“It’s exciting to be engaged at a very high level about the direction of the College and making sure that Colby can be the best institution it can be,” Powers said. “For not just the people who are there now, but those that will be able to participate in a Colby education in the future.”

On the board, Powers draws on her experiences as a clinical social worker. “I love social work because it really takes the whole individual into account, biological, sociological, and psychological—the biopsychosocial model.” It’s all about systems, she said. “I try to bring that perspective to the board.”

Said Richard Uchida ’79, vice president, general counsel, and secretary of the College, “Many board members consider her a voice of wisdom and pragmatism at the board table. She not only identifies issues of sensitivity and different approaches to consider when the board confronts complex challenges, but also voices them in ways that are genuine, thoughtful, and constructive.”

Powers, who has a clinical background in child, adolescent, and family therapy, joined Fenway Health in 2013. The Boston-based community health center provides quality care to all people, regardless of their ability to pay, and has a particular mission to support LGBTQIA+ individuals, people of color, and other underserved communities. Before her current position, she served as Fenway Health’s director of behavioral health, leading a team of more than 70 therapists, social workers, addictions specialists, and LGBT violence prevention experts.

In 2016 she was part of a national online learning community called Transforming LGBT Health in Primary Care. Later, she became an advisory member to the National LGBTQIA+ Health and Education Center; a member of the National Association of Community Health Centers’ LGBTQ Health Task Force, Clinical Issues Committee, and HIV and Behavioral Health Integration Committee; and a member of the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers’ Clinical Issues Committee.

Before joining Fenway Health, she was director of day programs at St. Ann’s Home, a therapeutic day school for emotionally troubled children and adolescents, for nearly 20 years. She holds an M.S.W. in clinical social work from Simmons College.

A native of Cape Cod, Mass., Powers double majored in psychology and human development at Colby. She was a presidential scholar, Phi Beta Kappa member, and president of the Women’s Group. “I was very involved when I was a student at Colby,” Powers said, noting it was an exciting time to be on Mayflower Hill as the fraternities were abolished. “With that decision being made by the Board of Trustees, there was an opportunity to create a new system of social life and residential life on campus.”

Since graduating, Powers has continued her volunteer involvement with the College, which felt like a natural extension of her work as a student, she said. Powers was an admissions volunteer, served on the Alumni Council, and oversaw visiting committees for the Women’s Studies (now Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies), Latin American Studies, and Education programs, Student Services, and the Sociology Department.