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Meet Karen Greve Young, RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards Social Change — National Impact Finalist

Karen Greve Young is CEO of Futurpreneur, Canada’s only national non-profit that has supported the success of 17,700+ young entrepreneurs since 1996. Building on her global finance and strategy experience, Karen is an accomplished non-profit leader dedicated to fostering inclusive economic and social prosperity through new approaches and partnerships. Her pan-Canadian Futurpreneur team helps diverse, young entrepreneurs launch businesses that contribute to sustainable economic development in their communities. 

Prior to joining Futurpreneur in 2018, Karen was the Vice President, Corporate Development & Partnerships at MaRS Discovery District, leading corporate strategy development, implementation and measurement, managing a global network of innovation partners, and overseeing community engagement. She has previously held finance, management and strategy roles in San Francisco, New York and London, UK, at organizations including Bain & Company, Gap Inc. and the UK’s Institute of Cancer Research. She co-authored a book with her mother, Love You So Much, A Shared Memoir, about their experience through her mother’s ovarian cancer journey. Karen serves as Vice Chair on the Board of Ovarian Cancer Canada. She holds an MBA from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business and a BA in Economics from Harvard University.


The moment I knew I wanted to catalyze social change was… when my mom was diagnosed with what turned out to be terminal ovarian cancer. Suddenly, the corporate, for-profit trajectory of my early career journey felt hollow to me. My mom had been a social impact leader and enabler throughout her career and I was fortunate to make this transition myself, finding leadership roles in organizations that make an important difference in people’s lives.

My mission aims to create a positive impact by… empowering people to achieve their true potential, thereby enabling everyone to fully engage in our economy and communities and ultimately fostering inclusive prosperity and a more vibrant and resilient economy! 

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned as a change leader is… to remember to bring my team along with me! It’s important to have lots of conversations with varied team members and stakeholders to inform our leaders’ thinking, then once we’ve made a decision, it’s all about communication! Consistent and clear communication to keep us aligned, motivated and moving in the same direction.  

My proudest accomplishment is… Futurpreneur’s values-driven culture, our strong, diverse leadership team, and the inclusive impact we are achieving in communities across Canada, one Futurpreneur-founded business at a time.

The biggest risk I took that paid off was… leaving my management consulting role two years after my MBA for volunteer roles in charities that gave me flexibility and time to be with my mother in her final months. I was incredibly fortunate to have the financial flexibility to pause my career, and then transition to a new career working with purpose-driven, not-for-profit organizations with missions that align with my values. 

One of the most important lessons I’ve gained from my experience within the sector is… that representative leadership is essential for inclusive impact. Valuing lived experience alongside professional expertise ensures that diverse perspectives and relevant insights are part of every leadership discussion and decision. In the case of initiatives focused on equity-deserving communities, it’s essential that the initiatives’ leaders are from the communities being served, and also have relevant professional experience to deliver effective programs.

If I had an extra hour in the day, I would use it to… read, meditate, and exercise — all activities that help me recharge my batteries so I can bring my best self to my work and my family.

If you googled me, you still wouldn’t know… that I was a varsity rower in high school and university and ran marathons in my twenties. It’s bizarre to think that rowing and running used to be so central to my identity, and now they’re a distant part of my past. Of course, if Google had existed when I was in high school and university, they would be part of my Google persona; their absence reflects the reality of my coming of age in the pre-Google era!

The future excites me because… it’s full of brilliant leaders who never would have gotten a seat at leadership tables in less inclusive eras. The small business owners, corporate leaders and politicians making decisions in the coming decades will be more representative of the communities they serve than ever before, which is so important to achieve inclusive prosperity across Canada!


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