Karen is leading the expansion of the firm’s Specialized Fund Management business with a focus on identifying attractive agricultural technology investment opportunities. She has a proven track record of progressing early-stage technologies from university research labs to commercialization as co-founder and CEO of two innovation labs, Southeast TechInventures, Inc. and Ag TechInventures, LLC. Karen’s business experience encompasses both corporate and entrepreneurial worlds with successful leadership experience in executive management, start-ups, and technology commercialization. Karen started her career at Nationwide Insurance Company holding positions of increasing responsibility from programmer to controller to managing a 500-person Property & Casualty service center. Before founding the innovation labs, her first entrepreneurial venture was launching a franchise bioremediation company that she later sold. Her next entrepreneurial venture was co-founding a Silicon Valley based software company.
Karen is the recipient of multiple awards including the Council for Entrepreneurial Development’s Outstanding Service Award, induction into the WRAL TechWire Hall of Fame, and the 2022 Women in Agribusiness (WIA) Demeter Award of Excellence. Along with her professional duties Karen serves as a board member for the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, the North Carolina Arboretum, AgLaunch, and North Carolina State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
University of Dayton (MBA)
Eastern Michigan University (BBA Information Technology)