2023 National APSE Board Nominee: Karen Burks, LA

Picture of Karen Burns, black woman, brown hair, green suit jacket, and blouse

2023 National APSE Board of Directors At-Large Candidate

MEET THE NOMINEES FOR THE 2023 NATIONAL APSE BOARD OF DIRECTORS: CLICK to read about all nominees before the election ends on March 22.

The area(s) that best represents your current position/experience:

Teacher, University Staff, Employer or Business Owner, and Executive Career and College Strategist

Describe your history/nature of involvement/interest in promoting competitive integrated employment in your state. Additionally, explain why you are passionate about competitive, integrated employment for people with disabilities (no more than 500 words):

In the state of Louisiana, I have worked in the Office of Workforce Development for over five years providing career seekers to high-level employment suitable for saving wages. I’ve also served as the Executive Career & College Strategist with Burks Management Firm. In this work, I have partnered with my alma mater Southeastern Louisiana University as an Upward Bound instructor for high school students facilitating Personal Finance, Life Skills, and Career Readiness pathways. 

What relevance does/should APSE and its chapters/members have in national and state conversations regarding equity, diversity, and inclusion (no more than 350 words)?

I recently completed the National Urban League Emerging Leaders Fellowship Program. In this competitive program, leaders are given the opportunity to empower and develop within their affiliate locally and nationally. Areas that I focused on in this program were workforce development and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). My take on this fellowship program I gained knowledge of direct access to changing the landscape in the workplace and education development space. The relevance that APSE should have on this impact I shared on a state level would be to include the diverse backgrounds of individuals on the local level to understand the overall object to make it easier to implement on a national level. 

What skills, knowledge or lived experience do you have that will contribute to strengthening and growing the financial health of APSE and promoting its mission to advance employment and self-sufficiency for all people with disabilities (no more than 350 words)?

As an entrepreneur, I understand the dynamics to uplift the importance of financial health in the workforce. My mission has been to help my client seek a career with a savings wage, not just a living wage. My career mission has been to advance career seekers with high-level career pathways for all individuals. I have provided high-level career strategies to career seekers and have helped them to create a plan for financial self-sufficiency. I have organized several career and college fairs for career seekers in my community to advance professionally. 


Karen serves as the Career and Workforce Development Trainer with the Urban League of Louisiana since 2018 where she provides career planning, professional development training, and resume writing sessions with her clients. She also serves as the Founder of Burks Management Firm LLC where she assists her clients with tools to successfully meet their financial recovery through financial education training, workforce development training, and small business development facilitation. Karen is energetic, personable, creative, and loyal, and knows the importance of being an effective servant leader, a courageous follower, and providing quality service to those she represents.  Karen maintains membership in several social, civic, and religious organizations in her community. Karen served as the Vice Chair of Greater New Orleans Junior Achievement Young Professionals Board 2018- 2020, SCORE New Orleans Vice Chair 2019-2020, Urban League of Louisiana Young Professionals Treasurer 2020-2021, United Christian Faith Ministries Director of Economic Empowerment, 2020 Delta Leadership Institute Fellow, 2019 She Leads Power Coalition Fellow 2019, The Whole Truth Magazine 40 under 40 recipient 2019, Louisiana Volunteer Service Award recipient 2020, Southeastern Louisiana University Gold Council Alumni Board 2021-2023 and she is currently an AFCPE candidate to obtain her AFC® credentials.   Academically, she has matriculated through her course studies and has an Associate of Applied Science in Business Technology from Baton Rouge Community College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; she has a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration in Management from Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, Louisiana, she has a Master of Arts in Management from the University of Redlands in Redlands, California and she has a certification in Personal Finance with Cowin Financial Literacy Institute at Teachers College Columbia University, in New York, NY.  

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