Advisory board

Karen Hargarther Thomas, FAIA


Regional Managing Principal

Karen Thomas, Regional Managing Partner at Gensler, is a senior executive at the world’s largest design and architectural firm. Karen sits on the Global Management Committee for the firm with oversight for an international platform of over 48 global offices and 6700 professionals. Karen co-leads the NW Region for the firm with a day to day focus on the San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose and Portland/Seattle/Vancouver, BC markets. Her work is focused on global growth and impact in our cities, client relationship development with major technology, consumer goods, aviation, hospitality, sports, and real estate development companies including many of the Fortune 500. Her career accomplishments in the architecture industry recently earned her induction into the American Institute of Architects’ esteemed College of Fellows, the architectural industry’s highest membership honor.

Ms. Thomas has consistently been involved in board and leadership roles. In 2018, she was appointed Chairman of the Board for the Seattle Sports Commission and a member of the Board of Directors for Visit Seattle Tourism Board; she has served on the Executive Board of Directors for the Bloedel Reserve and Seattle ArtsFund, as well as an Advisor to the Motion Picture and Television Fund Foundation. Ms. Thomas has served as a part-time adjunct faculty member at the University of Washington and a thesis advisor at the University of California at Berkeley. As a Mayoral appointee, she served on the San Francisco Blue Ribbon Commission for Healthcare. This broad mix of involvement helps Karen focus on building and influencing community on many levels – through arts, culture, sports, and education; through the city, state and national civic engagement, and business leadership. 

Karen is a sought after keynote speaker on topics ranging from the role of women in business, leadership, building community through sports, economic impact, and shaping the future of cities. Karen earned her professional architecture degree from the University of Texas at Austin.