Karen Hough, Founder & CEO ImprovEdge LLC
Karen Hough is the Founder & CEO of ImprovEdge, and has been using improvisation as an engaging learning tool for over 12 years. She is the author of the Amazon #1 category Bestseller, “The Improvisation Edge: Secrets to Building Trust and Radical Collaboration at Work” published by Berrett-Koehler, and the Yes! Deck, a handy deck of cards packed with exercises, tips and ideas. Karen is working on her second book which will be published in spring 2014. ImprovEdge received the silver Stevie International Award for “Most Innovative Company of the Year 2012” for Women in Business. She is the recipient of the Athena PowerLink Award for outstanding women-owned business, and ImprovEdge is a certified WBE (Women’s Business Enterprise). Ms. Hough writes numerous articles for industry media, and has been featured in ASTD’s T&D magazine, Mashable.com and BusinessInsider.com. She is a national conference keynote speaker on topics such as executive presence and presentation skills, negotiation, and leadership.
Ms. Hough is on the Advisory Board of Key Bank’s Key4Women National Initiative, and the Board of WELD (Women for Economic Leadership and Development), as well as a past board member of Yale’s Whim ‘n Rhythm Alumnae Association. She was also honored as a Deloitte & Touche Wise Woman for their inaugural breakfast event in Columbus, Ohio. She represented women entrepreneurs for the State of Ohio for the Saitama, Japan Women’s Contingent, and is a member of AFTRA (American Federation of Television and Radio Actors), NAWBO (National Association of Women Business Owners), NSA (National Speakers Association), eWomenNetwork and ASTD (American Society of Training and Development).
Ms. Hough trained with Chicago’s legendary Second City and had a career in stage, film and TV and was in over 100 live and filmed productions. She worked with the Metraform/Annoyance Theatre, the Organic Theatre and the Purple Crayon of Yale. She was formerly the International Spokesperson for Stratacom, a spokesperson for Tivoli and Infiniti, and her TV and radio credits include CBS, Miller, Earthshare, Eli Lilly and S.C. Johnson. She then worked for many years as a senior sales executive in the network engineering industry in New York and Chicago. She originated and expanded the sales and management efforts of three separate technology start-ups, launched partner programs and assisted in East Coast and National expansions.
Ms. Hough is a graduate of Yale University and La Sorbonne, Paris IV. She is deeply committed to volunteer activities and philanthropy. A portion of ImprovEdge profits go each year to support the Women’s Fund of Central Ohio, Kiva, Computers for Youth and DonorsChoose. Her volunteer activities include teaching improv classes for high school students in rural Kansas and confidence-building workshops for Chicago inner-city schoolchildren. She resides in Columbus with her husband and 3 children.