Senior Coach, Lean Enterprise Institute
Karen has over 30 years of experience leading, training, and developing the capability of team members and executives in rapid-growth environments. Most recently, she’s coached clients in various industries as they adopt lean thinking and practices. They include Microsoft (data center construction), Legal Seafood (hospitality); TriMark (distribution); Abiomed (medical research and device manufacturing), and the manufacturers Logoplaste and Viwinco.
Karen’s work with LEI client companies includes coaching leaders in building their technical and social lean leadership capabilities and developing their organization’s operating and management systems. She also helps leaders create training materials their organizations can use to establish internal lean development programs.
Additionally, she developed the curriculum for LEI’s Building a Lean Operating and Management System (BLOMS) two-day workshop, creating the train-the-trainer component for businesses to use in their internal development programs. Also, Karen is an instructor for LEI’s Managing to Learn course and Lean Leader program, a custom learning experience.
Previously at LEI, Karen held several management roles, including leading human resources, administration, education, and events.
Before joining LEI, she was a regional director of operations at Starbucks Coffee Company, leading the company’s growth across the New England market. She built a consistent track record of improving operating performance across a large area of retail stores and developing the continuous improvement capabilities of people.
During her time at Starbucks, Karen learned and then led others in adopting the Lean Operating System developed through a company-wide initiative. As a result, she helped inform what would become a national approach to operations and provided feedback necessary for its broad, global implementation. Karen also led a team of coaches responsible for teaching problem-solving and mentoring skills to regional executives, directors, and district managers implementing the lean operating system.
Earlier in her career, Karen held management and executive posts in operations, marketing, and training at large restaurant chains, a retail consulting company, and a technology startup preparing for an initial public offering.
Karen is the author of Steady Work (2019), which tells the story of her work at Starbucks, including how it prepared the Newtown, Connecticut, team to support the community during the worst week imaginable.