Introducing Our New CEO

Dear CORA friends, partners, and supporters,

Today the CORA Board of Directors is proud to introduce our new CEO, Dr. Karen Ferguson, to the full CORA family. Over the last five months, the Board of Directors completed a comprehensive search process and we are thrilled to announce that Karen will sit behind the leadership desk beginning in early May. We look forward to the organization’s evolution and growth under her leadership.

Karen is a licensed clinical psychologist and has over 20 years in the non-profit humanitarian and social service leadership fields. She brings a perfect blend of expertise in clinical psychology and non-profit, executive-level experience to CORA, and she has a long history of building and maintaining community-based partnerships.

She has spent her career helping and championing the rights of the immigrant and refugee community. Most recently, she served as Executive Director of the Northern California branch of International Rescue Committee (IRC). There she led offices throughout the Bay Area, overseeing a staff of over 120 (themselves from diverse refugee and immigrant backgrounds), and ensured quality, comprehensive services for newly arriving immigrants. Programming focused on housing, financial support, education, and employment, and were aimed at enabling families to achieve self-sufficiency and thrive in their new American communities.

Further, Karen’s past experience includes both the building of high-level processes and hands-on assistance with vulnerable communities. Prior to her work with IRC, Karen spent 10 years as the Alaska State Refugee Coordinator where she designed and implemented refugee resettlement, immigration, and anti-trafficking programs throughout the state of Alaska. Before that, she served as the Clinical and Department Manager for Outpatient Mental Health Services, where she developed and supervised clinical activities for outpatient mental health services for Alaska Native and American Indian clients.

Karen is a frequent presenter on social justice issues. Her expertise has been highlighted in many media outlets, including Public Radio International, Fortune Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, the Christian Science Monitor, Ms. Magazine, the SF Chronicle, and the American Psychological Association Monitor to name a few.

Karen holds a BS in Psychology from Brown University and an MA and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Case Western Reserve in Cleveland. Besides Alaska and other US locations, she has lived and worked in American Samoa; Halifax, Nova Scotia; Haifa, Israel; and Kampala, Uganda.

CORA’s mission is nothing short of ending domestic violence, and we are proud to offer safety, support, and healing to many individuals each year. Karen’s experience, knowledge, and passion for the cause are not only a perfect fit for CORA’s mission, but promise to bring unique methods and pioneering ideas to the table, driving CORA into an even more innovative space and offering ever stronger and more effective services to those in need.

We thank you for your ongoing support through the important process of identifying CORA’s new leader. This next chapter in CORA’s history will be a vibrant, powerful one. We look forward to partnering with you as we grow and strengthen the vital programs CORA brings to the community.


Kevin Imboden
Chair of CORA Board of Directors