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Karen Hough        

Founder & CEO of ImprovEdge

Karen Hough is the Founder & CEO of ImprovEdge, www.ImprovEdge.com, and has been using improvisation as a catalyst for business training and consulting since 1998.

ImprovEdge won the silver International Stevie Award for Most Innovative Company of the Year 2012, and Karen was recognized in 2016 as an Inspiring Woman by the WNBA’s Indiana Fever. Her first book, The Improvisation Edge: Secrets to Building Trust and Radical Collaboration at Work published by Berrett-Koehler, was a #1 Amazon Bestselling author in category and 800CEORead Top 25 Business Books. Ms. Hough is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and has been featured in Inc magazine and Investor’s Business Daily. Her second book, Be the Best Bad Presenter Ever: Break the Rules, Make Mistakes and Win Them Over published by BK in 2014 won the Benjamin Franklin Gold Award. Karen’s third book, “Go With it: Embrace the Unexpected to Drive Change,” on using improvisation to drive innovation was published in 2017 by the Association for Talent Development.

Karen is also an engaging and gifted speaker-conducting energizing breakout sessions, memorable workshops, riveting keynotes, and effective strategic planning sessions.

The high-energy presentations that Karen deliver are as interactive as you want them to be. She never delivers a "canned" speech and is happy to introduce improv into the format of any program-with audiences that are small and intimate to groups of hundreds. The results of her powerful, thought-provoking programs are empowered individuals, more effective teams, and stronger organizations.

For a number of years, Karen worked as a senior sales executive in the network engineering industry in New York and Chicago. She originated and expanded the sales and management efforts of three separate technology start-ups, launched partner programs and assisted in East Coast and National expansions. Karen has been a professional improviser and actor for 20 years. Her improvisational training and performance credits include the Second City of Chicago, Metraform/Annoyance Theatre, the Organic Theatre and the Purple Crayon of Yale. Karen is the former International Spokesperson for Stratacom, a spokesperson for Tivoli and Infiniti. Her TV and radio credits include CBS, Miller, Earthshare, Eli Lilly and S.C. Johnson.

An accomplished businesswoman, Karen has received the 2009 Athena Powerlink Award sponsored by NAWBO and National City Bank, and was honored as a Deloitte & Touche Wise Woman, for its inaugural breakfast event. She is a member of AFTRA (American Federation of Television and Radio Actors), NAWBO (National Association of Women Business Owners), NSA (National Speakers Association), ASTD (American Society of Training and Development), eWomenNetwork, MPI (Meeting Planners International) and WELD (Women for Economic and Leadership Development). She is a graduate of Yale University and La Sorbonne, Paris IV.

Speech Topics


From Promising Managers to Tomorrow's Leaders

Building Better Relationships: It's All about Communication & Interaction

Oops to Eureka! Turning Mistakes into Great Discoveries

Leverage Your People Power: Building Team Equity

Managing Tough Conversations

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