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Update | Spring/Summer 2022

Got A Minute? Meet Karen Burch

Photography by Paul L. Newby II

Karen Burch

Karen Burch (MBA ’21)

Vice President, Community Engagement & Marketing
United Way of Dane County
Madison, Wisconsin

What’s it like working for such a large and well-known non-profit?

You feel excited and hopeful—excited because this year we celebrate 100 years and hopeful because everyone involved with United Way is helping toward family wellbeing so that all Dane County residents lead healthy, secure lives. We collaborate with nonprofits, businesses, community leaders, donors, volunteers, and families to solve big-picture problems that no one person or organization can address alone.

What is your leadership philosophy?

Take care of those you lead. This means you care about your team members’ wellbeing as “whole people.” You care about their families, their everyday concerns and successes, and their dreams. My seven years as a United States Marine have defined the leader that I am today and taking care of your own has always been a top priority.

What is your favorite WSB memory?

Immersion week. It is unlike anything else I’ve experienced. It was memorable, shocking, and a little intimidating at times. However, it served as a great foundation for learning and creating friendships. Spending that concentrated time with my fellow executive MBA classmates was meaningful since the pandemic pivoted our in-person experience to a virtual one during our first year.

Oh, and a few more things:

  • A favorite job moment: Seeing hundreds of blue volunteer t-shirts at last year’s United Way Campaign kickoff.
  • Karen previously served as marketing director for the Wisconsin Veterans Museum.
  • Karen and her husband co-own Ironville Clothing Company, an online retailer of bodybuilding and weightlifting apparel.
  • A native Spanish speaker, she learned English at age 9.
  • Her parenting philosophy: “I’m raising them for the world, not for me.”