Karen Jenson

Karen Jenson is an artist, humanist, non-profit enthusiast, and new board member at Groundswell.  She started her career in 2002, just after achieving her Art History degree at Northwestern University, and the Sept. 11th attacks. As a brand new college graduate she sought to improve her country, wide-eyed and in the face of global uncertainty, as an Americorps VISTA. She worked for over three years as the founding development director for an after-school expressive arts program with a mission to empower youth, in Park City, UT, on a poverty level, US-sponsored, stipend. As a result, the organization quickly grew from its initial seed money of $7,000  to an entire network serving over 300 children each year, and continues today.  She was inspired through her successful service work at this start-up non-profit to better understand finance and the tools needed to advance the organization or any project or company in her future.  Karen subsequently achieved a full scholarship at the University at Buffalo for her MBA in Finance, and graduated in 2010, 100% debt-free. She was able to leverage this degree into a competitive credit training program, and move to New York City, where she entered the banking and finance world for the first time, post credit crisis. Presently Karen is working hard in midtown Manhattan as a commercial banker and lender to family-run businesses.  Working as a banker for the past five years, and observing the extreme need and surprising imbalance first hand, she is passionate about social justice issues surrounding gender equality and the sustainable success of women business owners and economic empowerment for women in general.