Serving others has been a part of Karen’s life since childhood. Not only did her parents model this to Karen and her brother while growing up, but they also continue serving vulnerable communities today. Karen first started working with the homeless and near homeless population while going to college at John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Arkansas. After graduating with a degree in Psychology, Karen was hired to run the family shelter at City Union Mission in Kansas City, Missouri. During her service there, Karen helped found the Homeless Services Coalition and started the Hotline for the Homeless. In 1991, Karen founded a transitional living program in Kansas City that serves homeless mothers and children. Under her leadership, Sheffield Place became the first homeless shelter in the nation to provide two of the three top therapeutic interventions for traumatized children. As a result, Sheffield Place was recognized as a best practice by the National Center for Family Homelessness and Karen was appointed to the Advisory Board of the Campaign to End Child Homelessness.
Karen served as the Executive Director of Lindsey House from December 2010 – July 2014. While there, she created the foundations of the program. Karen left LH in July 2014 to assist family in Colorado but returned to Tulsa in September 2015. She served as the Volunteer Coordinator at Hospitality House until the end of 2016 and then took a sabbatical until she took over the leadership of South Tulsa Community House in July 2017. Karen is thrilled to being serving the Riverwood community as the Executive Director of STCH.
Karen lives in Tulsa with her feline sons Donovan, Yoda, and Tucker and is a member of Abiding Harvest United Methodist Church.