Location: New York, NY
Industry: Financial services
President and COO
As president and COO of Charter School Business Management and FOREsight Financial Services for Good, Karen Daniels works with charter schools and education-sector nonprofits to help them achieve fiscal viability. Daniels is responsible for the financial management of more than $750 million to help organizations create educational and economic opportunities for New York City’s at-risk students. But Daniels does more for these organizations than just manage public funding: Recognizing that financial mismanagement is the top reason nonprofits and charter schools fail, Daniels creates relationships with the organizations she serves and acts as a trusted consultant and advisor.
Fun Fact: Daniels has mentored dozens of minority women by providing guidance on career planning and entrepreneurship.
When she first took on her leadership role, Daniels initially felt she should adapt her leadership style to match that of the company’s CEO, Raj Thakkar. After conversations with Thakkar, she realized it was best to rely on the traits that made her beneficial to the company in the first place, including her ability to execute with excellence. By remaining true to herself, Daniels was able to better enjoy her role as a leader.
One of Daniels’ key roles at the company has been to act as a mentor for people at all levels, from interns to budding leaders. In addition to offering support to her mentees through informal feedback and lunches, Daniels invests in them by creating real-life relationships. For example, she makes it a point to attend team members’ weddings and baby showers, and donates to employees’ favorite organizations.