Supporting real-world learning at COM

Colleen McCrearyIn April, Colleen Wheeler McCreary (COM’95) gave $1,120,000 to establish the McCreary Family Funds for Career Enrichment at the College of Communication. One million dollars will create an endowment to provide support for career preparedness and enrichment programs, while the balance will provide immediate support for the same purposes.

McCreary, a legendary HR executive in the high-tech community, earned her BS in mass communication and public relations from BU in 1995 and a master’s from Columbia a year later. Although she was then aiming for an academic career, she found a recruiting job with Microsoft intriguing and decided to change direction.

Over the next 20-plus years, she helped grow a number of start-ups into major companies. Perhaps the most notable was Zynga, an online gaming company founded in 2007 for which McCreary recruited more than 3,000 people in four years and helped establish a distinctive corporate culture. She was named one of the Bay Area’s Most Influential Women by the San Francisco Business Times in 2011 and 2012, and Zynga was named among the Top 10 Best Places to Work in the Bay Area four years in a row.

Today, McCreary is the Chief People, Places, & Publicity Officer at Credit Karma—where she leads a team of 120 and is responsible for global people operations, communications, and PR. In 2020, Credit Karma was acquired by Intuit for $8.1 billion. McCreary is also CEO of CCK Partners Advisory and Consulting, which advises entrepreneurs and start-ups.

“Colleen is helping shape the COM experience—both on campus and off—and also helping our students hit the ground running when they graduate.”

McCreary explained that her support for extracurricular, real-world-oriented opportunities for COM students—which began four years ago as a student internship fund— reflected her own internship experiences while at COM. “People give to the things that really impacted them,” she says. “If I hadn’t had those internships, I probably would’ve made a lot more career missteps.”

McCreary joined the COM Dean’s Advisory Board in 2021, adding her unique perspectives to the practitioner group that advises Dean Mariette DiChristina (COM’86).

“Through her service and her generosity,” says DiChristina, “Colleen is helping shape the COM experience—both on campus and off—and also helping our students hit the ground running when they graduate. I’ve heard Colleen refer to herself as a ‘rebel with a cause.’ We’re very glad COM is part of her cause!”