Karen Young (she/her) is President and CEO of United Way of Calgary and Area (UWCA), a visionary leader who knows the power of partnership and collaboration to achieve a common purpose. Karen joined UWCA as Vice President and Chief Operating Officer in 2014, before becoming President and Chief Executive Officer in 2017. Under her leadership, UWCA has raised more than $312 million for the local Calgary community, delivering a profound impact to people in all walks of life.
Prior to joining United Way, Karen worked with The City of Calgary for 26 years as an award-winning leader. As director of Community and Neighbourhood Services, she was instrumental in securing $480M to build four new recreation facilities in Calgary and led the Emergency Social Services efforts during the historic 2013 Alberta Floods. Karen worked closely with United Way over the years on many projects, including the Calgary Poverty Reduction Initiative, Calgary AfterSchool, and the Calgary Local Immigration Partnership.
She has been serving on Calgary community boards since the 1990s, including on the Calgary Homeless Foundation Board of Directors. She is currently a Chapter Executive for the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD) – Calgary. In March 2020, Karen was awarded the inaugural Calgary Influential Women in Business Award in the Social Enterprise category.
She earned a master’s certificate in Municipal Leadership from York University, and holds a Bachelor of General Studies in Leisure, Recreation, and Tourism from the University of Calgary.
A catalyst for social change who has been building momentum in communities since the 1990s, Karen is driven by her belief that all Calgarians have the right to a good quality of life.