Karen Burns

Chief Leadership Officer
  • Community Leadership
  • HR/Talent
  • Operations
  • Workforce Pathways

As the Chief Leadership Officer, Karen works across teams at Island Institute to maximize the contributions of individuals through personal and organizational professional development. The CLO also oversees the technical and administrative aspects of our human resources operations, and participates in project teams where leadership development is a key element in our community development strategy. Karen also serves as the lead for the Island Institute’s Inclusion & Equity Task Force.

Karen first joined the Island Institute as a Performing Arts Fellow on Vinalhaven from 2003-2005. After completing her fellowship, she was hired by the Vinalhaven School as the high school English teacher, where she taught until 2013. She then rejoined the Island Institute, and served as the Community Development Director and the Vice President of Community prior to her current role.

She received her undergraduate degree in English and Psychology from Amherst College, and earned her master’s degree in Teaching (MAT) from the University of Maine in Orono.

Karen lives on Vinalhaven Island with her husband, Bruce, and her two children, Brandon and Natalie.

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