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Eagleton Institute of Politics
Eagleton Institute of Politics

Faculty/Staff


Eagleton Faculty, Staff and Visiting Associates


KAREN J. KESSLER

Karen J. Kessler is a recognized leader in the public relations industry. Kessler is the founder and president of Evergreen Partners, a public relations firm specializing in reputation management, crisis communications and litigation support. She is the region’s most sought-after crisis and reputation management consultant, having counselled corporations, public institutions and high-profile individuals facing allegations of legal, business and personnel misconduct, political corruption, professional integrity issues, social media fallout, large-scale public investigations and other sensitive matters.Kessler is a frequent speaker on corporate and Board best practices, corporate reputation, and women in leadership. Her commentary and interviews have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Star Ledger, CNN, MSNBC and Inside Edition, among others. She served as technical consultant to television shows, “THE GOOD WIFE” and “NASHVILLE”, and as an on-air reputation consultant to the “NBC TODAY SHOW”.

Kessler chairs the Institute for Ethical Leadership at Rutgers University Business School, is a member of the NJ Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct, a Visiting Fellow at the Rutgers Eagleton Institute of Politics, and a Director of Cinram Group. Kessler was the inaugural chairman of the Board of Trustees of AllSpire Health Partners, the nation’s largest health consortium, and served as Chair of the Board of Atlantic Health System from 2008 to 2015. She serves on the Board of Directors of Northfield Bancorp, Inc, and chairs its Compliance/IT subcommittee. She is recipient of numerous awards and recognitions including the first class of “Women Leaders” by PR NEWS, the Thurgood Marshall “Award of Excellence”, an annual NJBIZ Power 100 recipient, a 2018 ROI Power List Influencer. She has been recognized as an NJ BIZ “50 Most Powerful Non-Profit Board Members” and “50 Most Powerful Women”; a Jewish Women International, “10 Women to Watch in the USA”; an NJ Monthly Magazine “Leading Women Entrepreneurs”; a Public Relations Society of America’s Gold Key Awardee; a YWCA Achievers’ Awardee, and a recipient of the Crisis Management Award from PR NEWS. A graduate of Vassar College with a degree in economics, Kessler was inducted into Omicron Delta Epsilon, the international economics honor society. She has studied at London School of Economics and Princeton University.  

Kessler served for seven years as the Vice President of Corporate Communications for the American Stock Exchange, and in 1989 as Director of Transition for NJ Governor-Elect Jim Florio. In 1992, she was selected to participate in the British-American Program, jointly operated by the University of London and Georgetown University School of International Relations. She served for six years as commissioner of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, the first woman appointed to the governing body of MetLife Stadium; Izod Arena; Meadowlands and Monmouth racetracks, and the Atlantic City Convention Center. She has served on the Boards of Directors of CoVista, a NASDAQ-listed Telecommunications Company; Blue Cross/Blue Shield of NJ; the PNC Arts Center, and the Drumthwacket Foundation (Governor’s mansion). She is a Scholarship Fund Trustee at Princeton and Monmouth Universities.