Kara Penn is cofounder and principal consultant at Mission Spark, a management consulting firm dedicated to organizational change and improvement in complex and often resource-constrained settings. In guiding her clients’ thinking, planning, and action, Kara focuses on best practice and implementation, an approach that puts her at the front lines of practical management in varied domains.
Kara has fifteen + years of experience in senior leadership positions with organizations throughout the United States, including as founder, director, chair, and board member. She has led award-winning community collaboratives; designed, managed, and evaluated multiyear social change initiatives; and provided in-depth consulting services to more than sixty NGOs, social enterprises, corporations, and philanthropic foundations. Kara authored Start Up for Success: Planning, Founding and Initiating a New 501(c)3, a comprehensive and practical workbook for nonprofit start-up and early implementation published by the Community Resource Center in 2010.
Kara graduated from Colorado College, where she was a Boettcher Scholar. She completed her MPP as a Harris Fellow at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy and her MBA at the MIT Sloan School of Management. MIT Sloan recognized Kara with the Seley Award, the highest honor given to a graduating student. Kara has also been awarded several national fellowships, including the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, which supports independent, purposeful travel to foster fellows’ effective participation in the world community, the Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs to develop principled public leaders, and the Forté Fellowship to promote women leaders in business.