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Executive Director

Karen Anderson is the Executive Director of the ACLU of North Carolina.

Karen began her career as a corporate litigator in Washington, D.C. — first with Nixon, Hargrave, Devans and Doyle (now Nixon Peabody, LLP) and then with Dickstein, Shapiro and Morin (now Dickstein Shapiro LLP). She was an active member of the bar and undertook a variety of pro bono actions, including employment, immigration, and civil rights matters.

Karen moved into nonprofit management as the Associate Director of Prairie State Legal Services, a legal services organization serving low-income and elderly clients throughout northern and central Illinois. She has since worked with and for a number of nonprofit organizations by leading or consulting on inhouse initiatives in strategic development and planning, financial controls, business analysis, information technology integration, staff development and training, and risk management.  Karen has worked on a range of issues from education and the arts to social services and legal services for organizations including the University of Denver, Red River Theatres, Urban Peak (a homeless shelter dedicated to young people) and the New Hampshire Public Defender.

Karen has volunteered as a Trustee or Director of a number of civic and social justice organizations. Most notably, she served on the national ACLU Board’s Finance Committee, and the Biannual Leadership Committee as chair; she is a former president of the ACLU­NH board where she served for ten years. Karen is a sought-after advisor on shaping organizations’ infrastructure to meet institutional mission and goals. She has lectured widely on employment and employment discrimination issues, presenting at the Institute for Advanced Legal Studies and the Daniels College of Business in Denver, Northern Illinois University, University of Wyoming, and the Aspen Institute.

A native of Jamaica, Karen was raised in Rochester, New York. She is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and the University of Chicago Law School, and studied philosophy at Edinburgh.

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