Karen is an outstanding professional sports executive who has helped to grow and develop the sport of women’s basketball. She graduated from Woodway High School (now Edmonds-Woodway) in 1986. There she was a standout athlete and one of her sports was basketball. She left high school with a state championship as a part of the girls’ basketball team. She then attended Green River Community College before transferring to Seattle University then the University of Washington where she earned a B.A. in Communications in 1991. She played basketball at all three of the colleges.
Karen has been involved with professional women’s sports for more than 15 years. She started her career in 1996 as director of operations for the American Basketball League’s Seattle Reign, where she later served as general manager. In 1999, the Seattle SuperSonics recruited her to lead the organization’s effort to secure a WNBA expansion franchise. Upon the relocation of the Supersonics in 2008, the Seattle Storm became an independent organization and shortly thereafter, Karen was named the Storm’s CEO. Under her leadership and guidance, the Storm progressed from an expansion team to an independent entity that is recognized as one of the league’s premier independently owned franchises. The Storm won the WNBA championship in 2004 and 2010.
Some of her most prestigious awards and honors are:
• 2005, Puget Sound Business Journal – one of their Women of Influence.
• 2010, Americans for UNFPA – Health and Dignity Award.
• Recently, Girl Scouts of America’s – Women of Distinction award to Karen and the Storm owners.
• 2010, Seattle Sports Commission – Seattle’s 2010 Sports Executive of the Year.
She currently serves on the boards of the Seattle Sports Commission, Boys and Girls Clubs of King County, and Special Olympics of Washington.