Karen McMillen leads the VMA education team on assignments throughout the region and is responsible for guiding the development and implementation of strategic communications plans for diverse communities, providing critical outreach that connects residents and the public agencies that serve them.
Karen joined VMA in July 2021 following more than two decades of managing organizations and projects across a range of sectors. Most recently, she served as vice president of operations for a national nonprofit that helps put shoes on the feet of children in need throughout the United States. Through this work, Karen experienced the deep commitment of teachers, administrators and school personnel as they seek to ensure that the children they serve have the necessary resources to learn and thrive.
Prior to that, Karen’s work centered on creating powerful, story-based communication pieces to convey the heart, soul and mission of organizations and projects. She is an award-winning producer, director and writer of multi-component media projects for organizations including The Smithsonian Institution, The National Archives, The Getty Museum and Claremont Graduate University.
Karen also served as general manager and director of marketing for one of the Los Angeles area’s first microbreweries. She led two rounds of rebranding for the organization and launched the brewery’s annual anniversary beer festival, which grew over its eight-year run to become one of the biggest craft beer parties in the area, featuring more than 40 local breweries, drawing 2,000 attendees and raising more than $200,000 for charity.