Karen Hands

Associate Fellow

Saïd Business School
University of Oxford
Park End Street


Karen is a serial entrepreneur, leadership coach, non-executive director and angel investor who works principally with women to enable them to succeed in business.

In addition to her Associate Fellow role, she is Chair of the Strategic HR Committee at Community Forest Trust and acts as a Board Advisor to small companies and high-growth start-ups. Karen is involved in the Michael Beverley Innovation Fellowship at Leeds University, providing team mentoring for early-career academics. She’s a member of the Women Angels of the North Syndicate of women investing in female founders, taking action as a result of the Rose Review.

Through her own business, Say it Karen Ltd., she provides training and coaching to enable women to find their voice in business. Karen is an inspirational speaker and advocate of change across the environmental, social and governance (ESG) agenda. She is the self-published author of Networking Know-how, a guide to networking success for small businesses.

In her earlier career, Karen worked as a Process Engineer involved in major environmental improvement projects at ICI Chemicals & Polymers before training as a teamwork and leadership coach through the Coverdale Organisation. Her portfolio career has included working for Bootstrap Enterprises, a charity helping unemployed and disadvantaged people into work in East Lancashire, through a period of change and growth. She trained as a high-level facilitator at McCourts Consultancy, where she also steered business development activities with the 15 Associates who delivered leadership coaching and facilitation services to industry. She has served as Chair of Governors at Darwen Vale High School and Vice Chair at Wakefield FE College.

Karen holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) in Chemical Engineering from University College London. She is a Chartered Fellow with the Chartered Management Institute (CMI).


Karen is Head Tutor for the online Saïd Business School Women’s Leadership Development Programme, leading a global team of Tutors and Assessors to deliver virtual learning for female executives around the world.

Social Media

Read more about Karen's career on LinkedIn.