ABOUT KAREN WATAI

Karen J. Watai is the Founder and President of Welcome Change LLC. She works closely with her clients to achieve results in the areas of leadership, career development, diversity, and inclusion. She is also the author of Lead Your Way: Practical Coaching Advice for Creating the Career You Want.

Karen has coached and/or trained individuals from a variety of organizations including Goldman Sachs, New York Life, Kaplan Inc., Comcast, Prudential, HSBC, BET Networks, Tory Burch, DLA Piper, and DREAM (formerly known as Harlem RBI).  Her coaching clients include Executives, Partners, Vice Presidents, and managers of corporations, professional services firms, investment funds, and non-profit organizations.  She has been a coach for the Global Institute for Leadership Development and Harvard Business School Executive Education.

Karen is currently the Lead Facilitator for the IAB Education Foundation’s iDiverse Task Force. The Task Force is focused on increasing diversity and inclusion in the digital media and advertising industries.

Prior to founding Welcome Change LLC, Karen spent almost 20 years in investment banking and private equity.  She was a Vice President at Goldman Sachs where she executed transactions in the Private Finance Department and was a relationship manager in the Capital Markets Department.  She also worked in the Management Development and Training Department where she designed, developed, and delivered major initiatives including mentoring, diversity, compliance, and business programs.  Karen left Goldman Sachs to become a partner in the Exeter Group of Funds, a private mezzanine and equity investment firm. 

Karen holds an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School, and an A.B. from Harvard University. She has received the Master Certified Coach designation, the highest credential awarded by the International Coach Federation. She is certified in the Hogan Assessment Systems, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, and the PDI Profilor. Welcome Change LLC is certified as a Minority Business Enterprise.

Karen lives just outside of New York City, and is often in the city working with clients and seeing Broadway shows.