Karen Nason, CAE

Commitment. Vision. Creativity. These words are indelibly woven in the tapestry of Karen Nason’s career, which spans 22 years working in various capacities for both healthcare and trade associations, most recently as executive director of the Hematology/Oncology Pharmacy Association and the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses.

Karen says that an organization’s success depends greatly on defining and understanding its long-term vision, goals, and mission, and gaining the trust of the board. Once this is achieved, strategic planning can begin. “When a board feels you are working with their best interests and the good of the profession at heart, you’re able to really solidify the partnership,” Karen says. “We are excited as a staff and board to embrace the strategic planning—the vision and the projects involved—in a way that we are all energized by.”

For Karen, tackling the unknown is one of the most exciting aspects of her job—and she loves the challenge of helping organizations to achieve their goals. She enjoys collaborating closely with the board and jumping in with creative ideas to overcome hurdles. Likewise, she uses an open approach with staff tackling day-to-day issues by asking hypothetical “what if” questions to find new solutions.

Her love of creativity is reflected in her personal life as well. When time permits, Karen enjoys clothing design and glass-fusing projects, which involve cutting, shaping, and assembling layers of glass, then heat processing them in a kiln to 1,200–2,000 degrees. This transforms them into a solid piece of glass. Like most artists, her attitude toward her artwork best sums up her approach in life: “Sometimes you don’t really know what you’re going to get in the end—and glass is really like that—but you have to be open-minded,” she says. “Although it may not turn out exactly as expected, the end result may be even better than imagined.”