Maximizing Advocacy to Fulfill Your Mission (Karen Lee)  

January 2021

Managing a nonprofit organization requires a variety of skills and experiences to succeed, and a leader can certainly be consumed by simply keeping their organization in motion.  The best nonprofits, however, commit to a vision the exceeds the direct impact of their programs and services but also seeks to positively influence their communities at large. Karen Lee is a great example of a nonprofit leader just like that, as she manages one of the largest social enterprise organizations in the United States, Pioneer Human Services based in Seattle, WA. In episode #83 of the Path Podcast, Karen shares much wisdom from her career journey including how she's integrating advocacy into her leadership agenda, how she's maximizing fundraising and philanthropy, and how she's using her talented board volunteers across the state of Washington.  

"It's all about economic opportunity and the route to a better life through a job that can become a career."


As Chief Executive Officer of Pioneer Human Services, Karen leads one of the nation's largest nonprofit social-enterprise organizations in the United States. Under her leadership, Pioneer successfully operates several revenue-generating businesses that provide living wage jobs to mission-related employees and help fund its mission of empowering people who have been involved in the legal system to build healthy, productive lives. Headquartered in Seattle, Pioneer serves over 10,000 people a year through its diversion, treatment, housing and job training programs. Karen is a graduate of the University of Washington School of Law and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.