Through her years of experience as a bread baker and educator in New York’s culinary landscape, Karen brings a passion for education and advocacy for women. At Hot Bread Kitchen, Karen creates economic opportunity through careers in food for women and immigrants who come through Hot Bread Kitchen’s culinary training program. As Head of Workforce from 2014—2020, Karen was a leader in developing recruiting, training, and employment practices that work for both clients and partners, developing tools for impact evaluation, and is a thought leader in workforce best practices. Having worked for 20+ years in a field dominated by men, Karen is particularly interested in breaking down the systemic and structural barriers to leadership roles for women in the culinary industry and is now VP of Industry Partnerships & Initiatives.
Karen launched her career at New York institution Amy’s Bread, one of very few women in production, and worked her way up from packer to supervisor while teaching part-time at the Artisan Baking Center. The International Culinary Center (formerly The French Culinary Institute) provided her the opportunity to focus her passion for teaching; she spent five years as the lead instructor and coordinator of their bread department, improving the curriculum and creating new classes for both professional and amateur students. Karen also worked for four years at Le Pain Quotidien, where she managed its Bleecker Street demonstration and teaching bakery, and then transitioned to product development, quality control and training on a national level.
Karen is a Fellow in the Workforce Systems Leadership Program at Coro New York Leadership Center and an active member of the Bread Bakers Guild of America. She lives in Brooklyn with her family.