About Karen Powers Wan

I help people and communities build restorative prosperity.  I am an award-winning writer and sustainable program director, and certified meditation instructor from the Open Heart Project. I also serve on the Sustainable Aurora Advisory Board of the second largest city in Illinois, and the board for the National Water Center in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. 

©2019 by Karen Powers Wan.

Portfolio 

Project Management and Implementation

My first project management experiences took place at IBM as a product engineer and international liaison.  That experience and many others helped me to develop a by-product synergy network for the City of Chicago from 2005 to 2008.

The Waste to Profit Network shown below is an example of developing and managing a complex project requiring extensive collaboration, perseverance, patience  and organization, as well the talents of many people working together.

Waste to Profit Network

Helping the CEO of the Chicago Manufacturing Center, Demetria Giannisis, to transform her vision of sustainable manufacturing into reality was one of the great career experiences of my life.  My biggest contribution was creating the Waste to Profit Network for the City of Chicago back in 2005 when I was working for Demetria as the Director of Sustainability.  

 

The Waste to Profit Network was created in collaboration with the United States Business Council for Sustainable Development (USBCD) and the National Industrial Symbiosis Programme in England.

Initially, I thought I would only be creating the funding for the program, but I ended up serving as Program Manager from its launch in 2006 to 2008.  It became an award-winning network, serving over 200 companies, and diverting several hundred thousand tons of waste from landfill in the Chicago area.  

This project was an example of a successful public/private partnerships between business and government.  

The Waste to Profit Network was one of the most challenging projects that I've ever created and it showed me what can be done when you don't say something is impossible.  My former boss, Demetria Giannisis, is now the Managing Director of Northwestern's Institute for Sustainability and Energy (ISEN), and is still creating what other people see as "impossible" projects, that are challenging and tough to do, yet needed.

 

It was a great honor to work on this project with so many regional and global leaders in the field of sustainability.