Our People

Karen Drake


Ms. Drake is a dynamic, Organizational Development leader, coach, and strategic thinker with demonstrated ability to quickly spot relevant patterns and issues-creating alternative ways to problem solve. Known as an innovative and original thinker she helps leaders explore new possibilities and operate outside of their comfort zone. A skillful communicator and exceptional facilitator, her style has been described as engaging with an uncanny ability to put people at ease, to gauge the emotional tone of a group, and to create momentum in others. Ms. Drake is frequently sought after to conduct gap analyses, assess the climate and organizational readiness for change, and develop strategies for helping a team/unit/group or organization achieve its goals.

Professional Background

Prior to joining RKD Group, Ms. Drake served as the Director of the Human Resources & Organizational Development department and Leadership Academy for Saint Louis University, responsible for management/leadership development, organizational capability building, and employee recognition/retention programs. Prior to SLU, Ms. Drake owned and managed her own organizational effectiveness firm for over 12 years, working on diversity strategy, team effectiveness, strategic planning, performance management, and change management. Her clients have included Fortune 500 companies as well as nonprofit organizations and universities throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe. As a former psychotherapist, Karen’s knowledge of individual and group behavior, help her to assess individual and organizational needs quickly and motivate people to move.

Professional Affiliations

Ms. Drake serves on the board of the YWCA of Metro St. Louis, the Executive Advisory Board of NAAAHR (National Association of African Americans in Human Resources), and lends her expertise to various nonprofitorganizations committed to capacity building.

Notable Achievements

Redesigned the Training & HR Planning function to assess organizational needs, design organizational development strategies, and provide processes to address effective training and talent development at all levels of the university.

Developed a performance management/skill-based pay process, and train-the-trainer, for a manufacturing group that improved the employee appraisal and evaluation process across six U.S. plants.

Developed and implemented a (9-month) Leadership Academy for high potential administrative faculty and staff that led to (participant) promotions and developmental assignments. Directed a multiyear group project to assess the campus climate for diversity and inclusion.

Developed and facilitated a diversity awareness and planning program for a global agricultural business, across multiple functions in North America and Europe, which led to a shared (global) understanding of the organization’s diversity direction and objectives.

Developed and implemented an executive team formation process resulting in a shared understanding of the I.T. organization’s mission/vision/values/roles and responsibilities. The process led to a reorganization that improved alignment and the organization’s ability to achieve its goals.


Ms. Drake earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Indiana State University, and her Masters degree in psychology from Washington University.