As Executive Director for the UCLA Anderson School of Management Center for Management of Enterprise in Media, Entertainment & Sports, Karen is responsible for the strategic oversight, management, and implementation of fundraising, student events, industry conferences, and research initiatives.
Prior to joining UCLA Anderson School of Management, Karen spent twenty years in senior media and marketing roles working for blue chip companies including Disney-ABC, Time Warner, Viacom, and Johnson & Johnson. Karen’s prior positions include Vice President, Sales and Marketing for Essence Magazine. At Essence, Karen launched a number of the brands top-tier programs—including the annual ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon, which premiered during Oscar Week in Los Angeles in 2008, and a programming partnership with CNN, which included the launch of a weekly news segment “What Matters”. As Associate Publisher Karen led the development of Essence industry leading proprietary research studies including Smart Beauty, Smart Style, and Black Women Revealed. In 2010 she was integral in the planning of ESSENCE’s year-long40th anniversary celebration, which culminated with ESSENCE’s Fierce & Fabulous Awards Luncheon.
Prior to joining ESSENCE, Williams was the Vice President, Integrated Marketing for Disney-ABC Television Group’s ABC Family Cable Network. In that position, she managed ad sales promotional partnerships, trade marketing and sales development for the channel. Prior to that, Williams was Executive Director, Integrated Marketing and Promotions for the ABC Television Network, where she developed and executed ad sales marketing partnerships for ABC Daytime, SoapNet, ABC Unlimited, ABC News and ABC.com. In addition, Williams was previously the Director of Licensing for Hearst Magazines Brand Development, responsible for creating brand extension programs for Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, and Country Living. Williams began her career in brand management, working at both Johnson & Johnson and Sara Lee.
In 2009, Williams was recognized by The Network Journal’s list of the 25 Most Influential Women in Business. She is a member of the Junior League of Los Angeles, and sits on the advisory board of Dress for Success West Coast and The Young Women’s Leadership Schools. Williams graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and received her MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management (’93). She resides in Los Angeles.