Wall Street 50 – 2015

Karen M. Elinski/TIAA-CREF

Karen M. Elinski is the senior vice president, general counsel, and head of Government Relations & Public Policy at TIAA-CREF in New York. In this role, she is responsible for managing the corporate federal, state and international government relations and public policy function.

Born in Buffalo with a B.A. and J.D. both from the State University of New York there, Karen, who is the eldest in a large Irish Catholic family with ties to Limerick and Cork, says, “It’s the great Irish songs, celebrations, and traditions that bring a lighthearted smile to my face when I realize that I am taking myself or circumstances way too seriously!”

Prior to TIAA-CREF, Karen served as vice president of Government Affairs at Prudential Financial and at the global law firm of White & Case. She has also worked as international human rights lawyer on a pro bono basis. On the board of directors of Financial Women’s Association, Karen recently received the Annual Women’s Leadership Award from CUNY and the New York Times and has been a frequent public speaker on topics ranging from financial services regulation to women and leadership.