Founder and CEO
Ken Schwenke is a seasoned board member and corporate executive, having served in leadership roles ranging from command of Marine units to serving as president of a billion dollar public company.
Over the last decade, Ken has broadened his leadership to encompass board service in varied situations, ranging from trusteeship of for-profit and not-for profit entities, with service on over 40 for-profit boards, both public and private, in the US, Canada and six countries in Europe.
Throughout his board experience, he has had multiple committee chair roles, has served on all normal standing board committees, and holds board certification from both the National Association of Corporate Directors © (NACD) and the Directors Institute ™ , which he now leads. Ken also has served as a Trustee of the Marine Corps Association Foundation, the Church of the Redeemer, and currently serves as a Trustee of The Haverford School.
Ken’s business roles over his 30 year career have focused on helping others reach their full potential through effective leadership.
Initially building on his Marine leadership experiences, Ken led Human Resources functional teams for top-tier companies including Pepsi, Honeywell, and Aramark, where he was SVP of Human Resources. From Aramark, Ken entered the entrepreneurial world, and took his first company from start up to a successful exit in four years, becoming the 3rd fastest growing business in the greater Philadelphia area (Philly 100© Winner), and the first ever to win a top three growth record in their first year of eligibility. After the sale of Ken’s business to Sodexo, a $15B global managed services company, Ken formed his current firm, Gravitas, a boutique board search and executive search firm with offices in Philadelphia and Chicago.
With Ken’s leadership of Gravitas, the firm has built a reputation for results with best in class metrics on fill rates, cycle times to fill, and retention rates for candidates Gravitas brings on board for its clients.
Ken also has served for the past six years on the business school faculty of Villanova University, both teaching in the Entrepreneurship program and conducting research on board governance across U.S. companies. Most recently, and with the sponsorship of leading law, executive compensation, D&O Insurance, and accounting partners, Ken has led the formation of the Directors Institute, the first and only non-profit membership organization focused on helping build, educate, and mentor the next generation of board leadership for American private, public, and charitable boards.
Ken is a 1976 graduate of Syracuse University and SUNY ESF and holds a BS degree from each. Ken also is a 1986 graduate of Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.
In his free time, Ken enjoying flying his plane between his Bryn Mawr and Atlantic Beach, NC, residences, play golf (badly), skiing, travelling, and spending time with his three sons and his wife, Amanda.