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From May 1992 until December 2018, Karen Byers was responsible for the finances and operations of the Markle Foundation.
Prior to joining Markle in 1992, Byers' experience encompassed the nonprofit, for profit, and government sectors. As Managing Director of the Theatre Communications Group, she was responsible for finance, fundraising, administration, and computing for this service organization to the nonprofit, professional theatre. She spent four years at KPMG Peat Marwick consulting for a wide variety of academic institutions and nonprofit organizations.
At the University of Pennsylvania, she was the Assistant Director of the Higher Education Resource Services, a Ford Foundation project designed to move women into and up in higher education. Among other responsibilities, for many years, she administered the Summer Institute for Women in Higher Education Administration a month long residential program for academic women. At Bryn Mawr College, she was, for two years the coordinator of a series of international philosophy conferences, supported by the Rockefeller Foundation and the Pennsylvania Humanities Council. She has also worked for the Office of Management and Budget of the Executive Office of the President, for International Business Machines (IBM), and for Chatham College.
She holds a Master of Business Administration in Finance and Accounting from Washington University (St. Louis), a Master of Arts in Philosophy from Bryn Mawr College and a Bachelor of Arts Magna Cum Laude in Philosophy from Wheaton College (MA).