Welcome Karen R. Brown

Nardin Academy is thrilled to announce Karen R. Brown as our new Director of Diversity, Equity, and Opportunity. Karen started at Nardin on October 17.

Karen is a certified Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) Practitioner who is committed to creating environments of belonging for everyone. Karen’s super power is always choosing kindness, even when others do not. Karen is a passionate and experienced influencer with a unique background in DEIB, Human Resources and Learning, and Development. 

She has received the Leader of the Year award at Delaware North Hamburg Gaming and is a published author on the experiences of women of color in academia. She has held key roles at Buffalo Niagara Partnership, AAA Western and Central NY, and Delaware North Hamburg Gaming.

Karen holds a Master of Science degree from Buffalo State College, bachelor and associate degrees from Medaille College, and D&I certification from the University of South Florida. She is also certified in Learning Consultancy and Change Management from Association for Talent Development.

Karen's role as the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Opportunity is to oversee the integrated, collaborative implementation of models for and educate the Nardin community about the principles of valuing diversity, respecting individual differences, understanding biases, creating common language, while shaping culturally responsive habits of mind for all Nardin Stakeholders. She will work with Nardin team members ensuring Academy-wise engagement to ensure equity in curricula, support admission efforts, continue equity and inclusion training for all faculty, staff, and students, advise on cultural competencies in hiring, as well as advise administration and faculty on policy issues of discrimination, discipline and restorative justice.  

Because Karen was unable to join us for our many back-to-school events, we wanted to make sure our Upper School Students got to know Karen. Shortly after arriving at Nardin, Karen was asked to share her thoughts on the DEI landscape and what made her choose Nardin Academy as a place to continue this important work. 

Why did you choose Nardin Academy? 

> Nardin shows a real commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and the work being done is phenomenal. Kendra Brim, Nardin's former Director of DIO, and Sandra Betters have laid a strong foundation. As a champion for creating environments of belonging, there is no better place to be than Nardin.

Tell us about your previous DEI experience. 

> I always tell people I was born into this work, being a Black woman in America there are things and situations based in inequality that have always existed. To fight for everyone to be seen, belong, and heard is part of my DNA. In a more official capacity I have over 20 years experience doing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging work with organizations such as Buffalo Niagara Partnership, AAA of Western and Central NY, and Delaware North.

Are there any organizations in WNY that you like to collaborate or volunteer with? 

> I am a mentor at EforAll, which is an organization that helps individuals of underrepresented communities start their business.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

> I have been married for over 25 years to a retired Buffalo firefighter and I am a proud mom to a senior at Columbia College Chicago. In my spare time I love to read, crochet (I am not very good), cheer for the Bills, spend time with my family, and I am an enthusiastic theatergoer.

Please feel free to contact her at anytime.