Karen Onthank

Executive Director

Karen Onthank brings to ISF decades of international and non-profit experience in the areas of sustainability, environment and human rights. With ISF and other organizations, Karen has participated in advocacy and organizing efforts internationally, including at UN processes and agencies as well as other international fora, as well as nationally and locally. She has worked on international human rights, sustainability, and environment issues and has focused on sustainable production and consumption, gender and social policy, rainforest, minority and indigenous issues. Ms. Onthank has represented ISF at UN meetings and international conferences and has actively participated in networks supporting such conferences. She is the former Northern Co-Chair of the NGO Caucus on Sustainable Communities at the UN Commission on Sustainable Development and former Co-Chair of Environment and Sustainability Working Group of the US Network for Women.

Ms. Onthank is also past Executive Director of the Americas office of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization, an international human rights organization based in the Netherlands. She has also worked for the American Red Cross, Greenpeace International, and the law firm of Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, where her casework included clients such as the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government in Exile, Greenpeace and the Natural Resources Defense Council. In addition to having worked in the public, private and non-profit sectors, Ms. Onthank has community organizing experience as a community developer with VISTA in Denver, Colorado. Ms. Onthank has worked and studied overseas in England, the Netherlands, Italy and Ecuador and has language skills in Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Dutch. Ms. Onthank earned her AB from Smith College and her MBA from the Yale School of Management.