My Job Is To Help You & Your Organization Do Great Things...
& Make Our World a Better Place!
I have always loved to work with adventurous, smart, talented and savvy forward thinkers, game-changers and creative innovators pushing the envelope, constantly learning, striving, exploring and wanting more. Perhaps now you find you need to step into new territory for which you really need a local guide and knowledgable sounding board.
So if your goals are lofty, then let’s get started. Let me open some doors for you or at least, point you in a direction that just may open up new vistas for your mission and work by tapping into whole-brain leadership strategies.
As an experienced international strategist and activist with keen eye on time-sensitive positive change, I help experts and social innovators connect across disciplinary, organizational and international divides to accelerate proactive and sustainable change capable of significant impact.
If you really want to know about me...
A quick glance, in roughly in chronological order:
- Farmers daughter from Australia
- Physics Degree
- History and Philosophy of Science Minor
- Masters of Divinity
- Coast Guard Captain’s License
- Managed an ocean-based youth leadership program (trained, created the captain’s handbooks, etc. etc) including a fleet of 150+ boats, the land and sea staff, community outreach, education. Conducted programs in Alaska, Massachusetts, California, New York, New Jersey, Florida etc. etc.
- If you are really interested to know, ask me what is the smallest big fish I have caught.
- Re-structured and ran a bus charter and tour operation business in Long Island City, NY
- Worked for 18 years with international NGOs at the United Nations
- Doctor of Ministry in International Peace and Justice
- Traveled to over 35 countries, often to Asia and the Middle East
- Founded the NGO Academy
- Invited to speak at the General Assembly and in 2 High Level Segments of ECOSOC (being one of the first 3 representatives of international organizations to do so in 1999.)
- Worked with sitting and former Heads of State, diplomats, parliamentarians on the development of an inter-religious peace council
- Since ’97 taught myself how to make websites, apps and online training programs, videos and in general, reverted to my geeky, science loving self
- Love to SCUBA and sky dive, ride motorcycles, swim, ballroom dance and beat my kids and husband (does that happen?) at MarioKart8
There are underlying threads amidst the diversity...
My educational and “job” pathway belies my capacity for connection, i.e., building bridges between different disciplines, people, and/or organizations. The common thread has been my fascination to work in areas that were at the “edges” of the status quo and where I found my niche was as a boundary rider. Not not in the outback of Australia (though those landscapes still resonate powerfully). Rather it is stitching together the disparate threads between innovation and global policy, original thinkers and decision-makers constrained by their positions, loyalties and responsibilities.
I have my own reasons for being a bit of an outlier, in part from some inner drive to use my life to effect significant change and knew that to accomplish this, there had to be a marriage of sorts, between the unique characteristics of an individual, their experiences and the context within which they found themselves.
In all the teams I have worked with, Boards and organizations, I have always looked at others through these lenses as well. I always looked forward wanting to leverage all the resources available to uniquely contribute to the work at hand. Sometimes, that was a challenge. Yet the biggest challenges also produced some of the most amazing outcomes.
On top of that, I have always “anticipated the ball.” In part it was because of what Peter Fong* once said to me when I was traveling in South East Asia during my summer break between my years at Melbourne University. But he was not just talking to me about the tennis or squash balls as they ricocheted back from the court walls at the Singapore Cricket Club, or the waves that were coming at me as I water skied between the coastlines of Singapore and Malaysia.
So I have always looked just a little farther down the road than most and because of that focus, like a person who is higher up the mountain, can see what is happening below, who is about to cross paths with another on the roadway below even before they see the other coming.
I have also put myself “out there” in many an uncomfortable situation to, sometimes if for no other reason than to see what happens. I am insatiably curious and still wanting to lean forward of the bow-sprit. Though I do like to have my feet firmly planted on the bow and a strong hold to handle the forces of wind, water and wave.
My foresight and anticipation of what’s coming has often put me a little in front of the status quo curve. And for those who know that timing is everything, well, I have at times been uncomfortably ahead of the curve. That doesn’t always make for popularity but it certainly has resulted in plenty of experience and practical wisdom. And that kind of experience can be worth, well, it’s weight in gold.
*Peter had just 10 years before making it to millionaire status in the ’70, escaped from a Chinese prisoner of war camp with one of his best friends, Winky Ho.
Now In The Bay Area
Karen is now bringing her experience and training to the Bay Area but continues to work internationally. She works with social enterprises, and international non-profits and their leadership teams to push the boundaries of their innovation even further so as to impact global policy.
Wherever she has gone, whatever she has endeavored, energizing, discovering, learning, changing, inventing and engaging are always happening. She rarely sits still for long, and it’s the same for those who encounter her. One of her first and possibly most fun career opportunities was leading a fleet of sports-fishing boats on the Atlantic coast, teaching captains and crews about the ocean, how to safely navigate it, wisely preserve it as a significant natural resource, and intuitively engage it as a “classroom and cathedral” of life for an international youth leadership program.
The Solutions Matrix Direct Connect
Powered by The Solutions Matrix™, a simple yet powerful framework for creating optimal solutions to impossible problems—fast, Karen’s engagement with individuals or organizations will have you wondering how you could have ever done without such a simple yet potent system—simple, because like most elegant solutions, addresses the presence of problems in a no-nonsense way.
Now if you are quietly saying to yourself, “yes, but real change is difficult,” I have to tell you this now: That is one of the myths of success and you need to know why (it really doesn’t take long to explain) so you can allow yourself to re-construct your problem so you can make the changes you want!
“Poorly constructed problems are usually built around a rather pessimistic idea that changes is at least difficult.”
Steven De Shazer
This system could only be described as being born of eclectic insights and it is one that even when you “do” it wrong, once you have made the first “shift” then you will notice improvements that will surprise you. Plus, even one person or team utilizing this approach will be the pebble in a pond that can make everything different.