Karen Gagnon

Place and talent matter to help achieve economic prosperity has been part of Karen’s focus for the past two decades while working for the state she is so passionate about, Michigan. She was fortunate to have the opportunity to utilize her creative talents on a statewide program that focused on placemaking and talent retention/attraction, Cool Cities, and assisted in creation of a statewide placemaking curriculum and campaign that has received national and international recognition. Karen continues her work with place-based economic development, coordinates several public/private partnerships – including a multi-state agency executive collaborative and the Sense of Place Council. Another passion for Karen is working with diversity, equity, and inclusion policy which is critical in helping all Michiganders achieve prosperity. Karen’s passions, skills, and relationships combined are why she was asked to Chair the Building Michigan Communities Conference, serve as MSHDA’s Tribal Liaison, and be part of a team that is spearheading Michigan’s first Statewide Housing Plan