The best gift of being in business is the opportunity to get to know people from many walks of life. People come and go within our business lives, but some become lifelong heroes and friends. Karen Atkinson is one of those humble servants who continues to positively impact the lives of teens, families, business leaders, communities, and friends.

We first met Karen at TwinWest Chamber of Commerce in the 1990s, where she was the constant guide, organizer, and advocate for members. Many sought her out and knew she was one of those go-to people with the relaxed get-it-done style. She inspired business owners and entrepreneurs to stretch their vision, give back to the community, and have fun growing their organizations.

For 24 years, Karen has been the Executive Director at Children First in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, where she strives to engage adults to actively participate in the growth of all youth. Her leadership with Children First has dramatically impacted the lives of youth, families and the community. The Children First initiative has become a model for other communities.

Politically astute, Karen respects the views and values of everyone. Karen’s collaborative and disciplined style moves people and groups to accomplish their goals while building individual self-esteem and communities. Thank you, Karen, for your work, friendship, and for being a valued role model. Your humble leadership has changed lives.