Karen is a seasoned Executive Search professional with specific expertise in the social sector who has worked with over 50 nonprofits, foundations, NGOs, and social enterprises since 2007. She has recruited numerous CEOs, Executive Directors, and programmatic experts for leading organizations, particularly in the Seattle Puget Sound and San Francisco Bay Areas. Clients include the Skoll Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Schultz Family Foundation, Code for America, Sierra Club, Sierra Club Foundation, Seattle Foundation, Splash, PATH, Audubon Washington, Sightline Institute, ORS Impact, Year Up Puget Sound, and many others. She is proud to have established long-term partnerships with many of her clients, serving as the primary resource for search services. She’s worked across a broad range of issues including environmental conservation, climate change mitigation, global pandemics, social entrepreneurship, equitable access to education, nuclear nonproliferation, middle east peace, global health, women’s rights, and social justice.
Before joining Koya Karen worked for Vulcan, a mission-driven organization founded by the late Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft. At Vulcan, Karen helped build the Partnerships and Programs team, hiring philanthropic experts in science and technology as applied to environmental and wildlife conservation, and arts and culture programming for underserved communities. She also as well as hired machine learning and artificial intelligence experts to apply their expertise to projects focused on climate modeling, dolphin signaling, and tracking global illegal fishing.
Karen’s early career was spent recruiting across industry domains (high tech, healthcare, consulting, consumer packaged goods) before switching to mission-driven work. She is deeply committed to helping organizations build diverse teams that embrace multiple perspectives and lived experiences to create inclusive cultures that reflect the communities they serve. 78% of the positions she filled in 2019 were with people of color; in 2020 66% of the positions she filled were with people of color; in 2021 60% of her hires for independent clients were people of color.
Karen has also worked with Careers for Social Impact as a Career Coach for individuals looking to build their career in the social impact sector. She has been a guest lecturer on job search best practices in the social sector at the University of Washington and Seattle University. She has also presented on diversity recruiting best practices for a consortium of Washington-based nonprofits. Over the years Karen has volunteered for mission-driven organizations like Social Ventures Partners, Taproot Foundation, and Pangea, a Seattle based giving circle.
Masters Studies, Career Development Studies
John F. Kennedy University
BA, English Literature
St. Michael’s College