After an academic and professional career that has taken her halfway around the world, Karen Philp has finally returned home.
Karen moved back to British Columbia in January when she became executive director of the BC Branch of The Kidney Foundation of Canada. Although she was born in New Westminster and raised in Terrace, she has spent the last 20 years working in Ontario.
"It's good to be back in BC," says Karen, explaining that she's particularly pleased to be closer to her 85-year-old father, who lives in Campbell River. "My sister has been taking care of him there, so now I can help out a bit more with that."
Karen first left home to go to university in Alberta, where she earned a Masters degree in political history. She continued her academic career in England at Oxford, where she studied government and received her doctorate degree.
"I've always been really interested in understanding how government and policy makers work and what they need," says Karen. As she explains, she has used that knowledge throughout her career with various public sector organizations, "translating' between the needs of government and those of the community.
Karen says her interest in returning to BC to work with the Kidney Foundation was in part due to the reputation of the BC Renal Agency as a national leader in renal care. She describes her primary goal at the foundation as providing "a strong voice" on behalf of renal patients in the province.
In Ontario, Karen previously held executive positions with such organizations as the Canadian Diabetes Association, the Canadian Association for Wound Care and, most recently, the Canadian Association of Chain Drug Stores, where she was vice president of public affairs. She has also worked in policy development for the governments of BC and Canada, and for the British Labour Party.
Outside of work, Karen's interests include travel – her international career has resulted in her having friends around the world – and live theatre. And whenever she goes to Campbell River on visits with her dad, she loves walking on Miracle Beach.