“I work across the firm to ensure we are living up to both our mission of advancing issues that change people’s lives, and our reputation of offering the best customer service to our clients. I thrive on learning from each staff member—from their professional experiences to their unique world view—and leveraging these things so that Vanguard can continue to be the unique, people-first company it has been for three decades.”

Memorable professional moments: 

  • As one of the founding members of the health advocacy organization The Leapfrog Group, I was on the ground floor when we pushed the idea of holding providers accountable for the quality of care they deliver. Eight years later, that concept was deeply integrated into the U.S. health care system through the ACA, leading to improvements in health care quality that I think we have all experienced first-hand.
  • I was incredibly honored when one of my former employees asked if she could profile me for a paper she wrote about the most influential leader she had worked for. It’s gratifying to know that management/leadership acumen, not just competency in a subject matter, continues to be valued in the workplace.

People often find it interesting that …
I took advantage of time off between my educational and career pursuits to travel the world. Before I started at Vanguard in 2017, I hiked in Antarctica and Patagonia. Being in such different cultures was a great way to launch my new role in PR, where we know understanding audience perspectives is essential to being effective communicators.

What does people-first mean to me?
In my operations role, so much of my work is about our “people” and how we organize and perform to serve others: our partners, our clients and those on the other end of our initiatives. In another organization, priorities among these groups might compete, but not at Vanguard. We assume the best intentions, have respect for everyone involved and have each other’s backs to reach solutions. When we live our values to their fullest extent, everyone wins.


  • B.S., Physical Therapy, Temple University
  • Graduate Diploma in Manipulative Physiotherapy, Curtin University of Technology, Australia
  • M.A., Philosophy, Georgetown University
  • Certificate in Nonprofit Management, The George Washington University

Connect with Karen