July 14, 2017 | last updated July 14, 2017 3:13 pm
40 Under Forty 2017

Karen T. Taylor

Photo | J. Fiereck Photography
Photo | J. Fiereck Photography
Photo | J. Fiereck Photography
(From left to right) Jacob A. Hunter, Julia Monique Johnson, Katie Hanley, Paul Diego Holzer and Karen T. Taylor.

Age: 34

Company: The Consortium on High Achievement and Success (CHAS)

Title: Program Director

Town where I live: Hartford

Town where I work: Hartford

College: Trinity College

Fun Fact

I was born in West Virginia, but my parents are Caribbean. I annoyingly refer to myself as a West Indian West Virginian.

Q&A:

What do you do in your current job? I guide the organization's strategic planning, oversee communications, and manage daily operations in collaboration with members of our steering board. I plan representative gatherings, coordinate faculty grant awards, and develop student-centered conferences to promote the high achievement and success of students of color across 35 liberal arts college campuses.

What are your goals in your current job? CHAS' vision is to lead higher education toward inclusive excellence through institutional transformation. I work to strengthen relationships with students, faculty and staff across our member institutions. I'm currently focused on spreading the word about our amazing work, growing our membership, and providing programs for campuses to build community and capacity.

What's your biggest passion? I firmly believe that every life is precious and every future is bright. My biggest passion is pursuing educational equity and inclusion. Access to opportunities and exposure to differences allows people to truly see themselves. Access and exposure helps us understand that we are all connected and that our unique contributions are necessary for our collective success.

What are your future professional aspirations? I aspire to align my professional talents and personal ethics to create a life that I can be proud of and at peace with; I'm seeking a feeling not a title. I am interested in education consulting, corporate philanthropy, and higher education student affairs. I feel most accomplished and content when I am working on issues related to education and social justice. I'm considering law school or a graduate program in public policy.

How are you involved in the community? Being a member of the Hartford Board of Education allows me to stay connected to many school communities. I also advocate for quality integrated education as a member of Sheff Movement Coalition's board. I am also excited to join the great work of Hartford Performs as a new board member.

What do you hope Greater Hartford will be like in 10 years? In 10 years, I hope Greater Hartford will be comprised of diverse, vibrant and economically stable communities. Post nubila phoebus is inscribed on the brass doorknobs in Hartford City Hall. It means "after clouds, the sun." Things seem cloudy now. There is a lot of uncertainty, change and resistance. People throughout the region are rethinking and restructuring. Municipalities are realizing they can't thrive without their neighbors. We are coming up with solutions … together. I am certain we will become a magnet destination for business, culture, arts and education.

List four reasons why you deserve to be a 40 Under Forty: I am chair of the policy committee responsible for reviewing, creating, and revising all policies for Hartford Public Schools. I'm a proud alumna and now serve as the advisor to Trinity College's Black Women's Organization. I am a graduate of Leadership Greater Hartford's 2016 Quest class. I'm a diversity consultant with the National Conference for Community and Justice where I work with students and employees from various sectors to "build communities that are respectful and just for all."

Click here to see all 40 Under Forty winners

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