Green Festival Speakers

Karen Johns



Karen Y. Johns; President, The Johns Group Inc.

Karen Y. Johns is a successful innovator with over 20 years of experience and leadership in the nonprofit, education and corporate arenas. The mission of the Johns Group is to work with corporations, educational institutions and nonprofits to build a diverse educational and workforce pipeline. Its strategy for effectiveness lies in connecting the right people with the right resources...for a change. The group also believes that the solutions to many of the challenges our society faces can be addressed through cross sector collaboration.

Prior to launching the Johns Group in 2007, Ms Johns served as executive director of the Diversity Pipeline Alliance. The Diversity Pipeline Alliance is a national network of sixteen leading organizations who share a goal of preparing people of color for leadership and management in the 21st century workforce. Founding members of the Alliance include Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO), National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA), National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA), INROADS, PhD Project and the Graduate Management Admission Council®. The mission of the organization is to help underrepresented minority students achieve success at every stage of their education, and to prepare them for successful careers in business and management. Under her tenure, the Diversity Pipeline grew into a national network that collectively served over 100,000 individuals annually from high school to MBA students and working professionals. The Alliance also published benchmark research on the status of the educational and workforce pipeline of underrepresented minorities.

A graduate of Tufts University, Ms. Johns has an extensive background in several areas of educational management including undergraduate admissions and fundraising. Ms Johns worked for several years at her alma mater in both the Admissions Office and Development Office. From 19982002, Ms. Johns worked at Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO) a New York City based nonprofit organization. During her tenure, she created the SIRV initiative an acronym for Saving, Investing and Returning Value to Communities of Color. This national program, funded by the Kellogg foundation and the Lilly Endowment, teaches financial literacy, wealth creation and philanthropy to professionals of color.

Ms. Johns is very active in philanthropic activities serving as past chair of the Board of the Volunteer Consulting Group and as a board member of Capital Partners for Education. She is currently on the board of the Sage Colleges in NY. She has also served on several advisory boards including Bennett College, Morgan State University and the Tufts University Alumni Council. She is a frequent speaker on the topic of philanthropy in communities of color and workforce pipeline development. She has been featured at major conferences including the Conference Board, National Black Philanthropy conference, Council on Foundations, Chief Diversity Officer Summit and the DC Green Festival.

Ms Johns is a resident of Virginia but frequently travels to her home in Jamaica, where she recently launched a foundation to benefit young people and create opportunities to reverse the brain drain in developing countries.