Executive Director, Metro21
Karen is an internationally recognized leader in building and supporting communities based on emerging technologies. At Metro21, Karen leads the strategy, outreach and programming of the institute, enabling the deployment of CMU technology in collaboration with municipal and equity partners throughout the region. Karen has expertise with commercializing academic research, building industry-based consortiums and strategically leading teams to explore market-based opportunities. Her diverse background spans the consumer, military, healthcare, manufacturing, and automotive sectors. Karen is ranked by EETimes as one of the top 25 “Women in Tech” and is in the SEMI/MSIG "Hall of Fame" for her achievements in the MEMS industry. She is a passionate advocate and spokesperson for technology solutions to real-world problems and has held several board positions locally and nationally and is currently treasurer on the board of the MetroLab Network. In addition to her role at Metro21, Karen is currently interim Executive Director of Traffic21 and the US DOT University Transportation Centers (UTCs), Mobility21 and Safety21 at Carnegie Mellon University
Karen has a BA from the University of Vermont (UVM) and a MS in Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College. Raised in New England, Karen now lives in Pittsburgh, PA.
“Metro21 takes the 21st century technology research and developed at CMU and deploys it with our municipal and equity partners to solve real-world problems.” — Karen Lightman, Executive Director, Metro21