Karen J. Watai

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

Karen’s clients include Goldman Sachs, McKinsey & Company, PwC, New York Life Insurance Company, Viacom, BET Networks, Comcast, Blocpower, New York Public Radio, Kapor Capital, Kapor Center for Social Impact, and DREAM (non-profit serving youth in East Harlem). In addition, she has worked with many of the top law firms in the Vault 100 rankings. She has been a coach for the Global Institute for Leadership Development and Harvard Business School Executive Education. Karen served as the Lead Facilitator for the IAB Education Foundation’s iDiverse Task Force in its inaugural year. The Task Force focused on increasing diversity and inclusion in the digital media and advertising industries. One of the programs Karen designed and facilitated was recognized with an International Innovation in Diversity Award.

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 diversity, mentoring, and business orientation programs. Karen left Goldman Sachs to become a partner in the Exeter Group of Funds, a private mezzanine and equity investment firm.

Karen has received the Master Certified Coach designation, the highest credential awarded by the International Coach Federation.

She 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. Karen is a member (inactive) of the State Bar of California.

Karen is certified in the Hogan Assessment Systems, the Leadership Circle Profile, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Hermann Brain Dominance Instrument, Intercultural Development Inventory, Strengthscope and Strengthscope Leader, EQ-i 2.0 and EQ 360, and High Performance Learning Journeys.

Welcome Change LLC is certified as a Minority Business Enterprise.