Karen Flake is president and CEO of Mount St. Mary Academy; founder of Karen Flake & Associates providing market research and consulting; supported the state’s economic development on the Arkansas Development and Finance Authority board; and been honored for volunteerism and community service.
Karen graduated from Mount St. Mary Academy in 1965 and taught English from 1972 to 1977. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and graduated with master’s degree in interpersonal organization and communication from the University of Arkansas.
Though she left her teaching position, she and her husband John continued to support the school through donations and serving on the board of directors for the Mount St. Mary Foundation. In 2001, she was named Outstanding Alumna.
Much of her experience is in the research industry. She was chair and CEO of Flake-Wilkerson Market Insights, which was named in 2001, 2002 and 2003 to the Inc 500 fastest growing privately held companies in America. The company performed custom research for clients such as IBM, Federal Express, Sabre, Genentech, Acxiom, American Century, Sprint and managed large, dedicated call centers for Verizon, AT&T and Qwest. It was sold in 2007 to Market Strategies International, and Flake became vice chair. In 2009, she founded Karen Flake & Associates of Little Rock.
She also steered the direction of the state from her 1996 appointment to the Board of Directors of the Arkansas Development Finance Authority, where she served for six years. She became chair of the board in 2001, and held oversight over all committees. The board was responsible for the state’s economic development through loan requests, bond counsel, trustee, and other legal financial services; bond re-financing, venture capital and oversight of affordable housing and other specialized programs.
Her volunteerism and leadership spans many organizations from the Women’s Foundation of Arkansas and the Arkansas Women’s Leadership Forum to Central Arkansas Radiation Therapy Institute (CARTI), the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Society board, St. Vincent Women’s Advisory Board, the Greater Little Rock Chamber of Commerce, Our House, and the Centers for Youth and Families, where she was named Volunteer of the Year in 1991. She’s been named one of Arkansas Top 100 Women and won the March of Dimes Arkansas Citizen of the Year recognition in 2001.