Executive Director, Metro21
Karen is an internationally recognized leader in building and supporting communities based on emerging technologies. She is well-regarded in the MEMS (MicroElectroMechanical Systems) industry, having helped start and then lead MEMS & Sensors Industry Group (MSIG), the largest industry consortium solely focused on MEMS and sensors. Under her leadership, MSIG covered every sector of the MEMS value chain and successfully orchestrated numerous annual international conferences, workshops and tradeshows. Karen led the successful acquisition of MSIG by SEMI, the world’s largest semiconductor association. 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 was inducted into the SEMI/MSIG "Hall of Fame" in October 2020. She is a passionate advocate and spokesperson for technology solutions to real-world problems and has held several board positions and is currently treasurer on the board of the MetroLab Network.
Karen has a BA from the University of Vermont (UVM) and a MS in Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College. She and her family reside 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