(916) 481-4488 heidi@kolbecompany.com
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Karen Bane


Karen Bane has 17 years of experience in environmental project management. Having served in environmental litigation, regulatory compliance consulting, and government funding roles, she appreciates the wisdom gained from fostering participation and collaboration with diverse stakeholders. Karen has a passion for strategically targeting applied research to areas of uncertainty for regulators, funders, and resource managers and facilitating the adoption and use of new information to support and advance policy and practice.

Employment History

  • Sole Proprietor – Karen Bane
  • Facilitator – The Kolbe Company
  • Associate – Center for Strategic Facilitation
  • Deputy Program Manager; Project Manager – California Coastal Conservancy
  • Project Manager – Tetra Tech
  • Research Associate – Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund

Competency Areas

Design and Facilitate Process for Group Work
Design and facilitate meetings, workshops, and conferences to help groups access and make sense of information, reach consensus, and plan and implement priority work. Preliminary work may include interviewing stakeholders to help project leads discern the key issues to be addressed.

Strategic Planning
Guide groups through a strategic planning process in a few days yielding a plan co-created by the participants with clear roles and responsibilities ready to commence implementation the very next day. No waiting for months for a document that will sit on a shelf.

Focused Implementation
Equip groups to deliver with collaboratively built action plans, articulating clear commitments, calendared milestones, and designated teams. Maintain momentum and commitment by facilitating team status sessions.

Program Leadership
Coordinate mission focused programs with multiple chartered teams and tiered levels of decision making and accountability. Ensure interdependent work streams remain coordinated and aligned with strategic directions and annual commitments.

Project Management
Manage multi-year projects through feasibility, engineering, permitting, and construction phases. Coordinate project financing, consultant hiring, and implementation. Include stakeholder groups such as science advisors and community members for input and review when appropriate.


  • Master’s Degree, Biophysics – University of California, Berkeley
  • Bachelor’s Degree, Physics – Pennsylvania State University

Professional Associations

  • ToP Network

Professional Certification and Awards

  • Mastering Technology of Participation (ToP)®
  • The European Language Certificate B1 German

Partial Project List

  • Strategic Operating Plan, Sun Light & Power
    The 43-year solar company recently transitioned to 100% employee ownership. Ms. Bane designed and facilitated a multi-day, participatory process to tune-up its core vision, mission, and values and to set an ambitious strategic direction grounded in committed implementation. Results: The executive team, newly formed board, and employee-owners are enthusiastic about the company’s core purpose and values, aligned behind their 10-year Targets for Planet, People, and Profit, and committed to the co-created 3-year strategy with annual implementation plan. The 2020 Operating Plan and budget was fully informed by this work.
  • Directors Retreat, Edgewood Center for Children and Families
    Workshop focus was informed by interviews with the Directors. Designed and facilitated retreat based upon “image shift” theory, helping them to articulate the image of collaboration they wanted to achieve and identify the values and behaviors that would support that new way of working together. Results: The Directors set their vision and commitments for the next year, including specific ways to hold courageous conversations.
  • Fundraising Action Plan, Board Retreat, Career Girls
    The founders and board president were shifting the Board from an advisory to an implementer stance. A 1-year fundraising action plan became the vehicle for moving the board to being a cohesive team doing priority work to propel the program goals. Results: The Founder was thrilled with clearly articulated priorities and every Board-member was committed to lead an initiative aimed at a realistic funding level for agreed upon purposes.
  • Strategic Plan, Process Technology Unit, Confidential Bio-pharmaceutical Company
    Facilitated a 2-day strategic planning retreat for a process technology unit within a global bio-pharmaceutical company. Results: Strategic directions addressed underlying blocks to achieve a practical 5-year vision. Six months later team members were energized by their collective progress implementing milestones.
  • Program Management, Southern California Wetlands Recovery Project
    Managed day to day operations of the partnership of state and federal agencies, scientists, and nonprofits working to protect and restore resilient rivers and wetlands in coastal Southern California from Point Conception to the U.S. – Mexico border. This work included designing with the state and federal agency co-chairs the annual work flow and agendas for monthly Wetland Managers Group meetings and biannual Directors Group meetings. In addition, the Science Advisory Panel’s research agenda was coordinated to inform the policy and funding decisions of member agencies and the design and management practices of project sponsors and wetland professionals.
  • Program and Project Management, California State Coastal Conservancy
    Stewarded state funding to advance resilient conservation in coastal watersheds. Nurtured regional collaborations with grantees, government agencies (local, state and federal), research scientists, consultants, non-profits, and residents. Southern California projects ranged from tidal wetland restoration programs such as Upper Newport Bay and Tijuana River National Estuary to invasive plant removal programs in river watersheds as well as public access to river corridors and the coastline.

Partners List

Federal Government

  • National Marine Fisheries Service
  • National Estuarine Research Reserves
  • Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • NOAA
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • U.S. Forest Service
  • U.S. Geological Survey
  • US Navy – Air Stations

Regional Partnerships

  • Southern California Wetlands Recovery Project
  • Management Authority, Tijuana River NERR
  • California Wetlands Monitoring Workgroup
  • California Sediment Management Working Group

State Government

  • State Coastal Conservancy
  • California Biodiversity Council
  • California Coastal Commission
  • California Department of Agriculture
  • California Department of Parks and Recreation
  • California Department of Fish and Game
  • California Department of Transportation
  • California Environmental Protection Agency
  • California Natural Resources Agency
  • Division of Boating and Waterways
  • Los Angeles and San Gabriel River Conservancy
  • Wildlife Conservation Board
  • San Diego River Conservancy
  • State Lands Commission
  • State Water Resources Control Board
  • Regional Water Quality Control Boards (San Francisco Bay, Central Coast, Los Angeles, Santa Ana, San Diego)

Research Institutes

  • Southern California Coastal Water Research Project
  • San Francisco Estuary Institute

Non-profit Organizations

  • Southwest Wetland Interpretive Association
  • International Community Foundation
  • San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy
  • Penasquitos Lagoon Foundation
  • Orange Coast River Park
  • San Diego River Park Foundation
  • Lakeside River Park Conservancy
  • Newport Bay Conservancy
  • Huntington Beach Wetlands Conservancy
  • Friends of the Los Angeles River

Local Government

  • City of Los Angeles Public Works
  • City of Newport Beach
  • City of San Diego
  • Los Angeles County Public Works
  • San Diego County Parks
  • San Diego Association of Governments
  • Orange County Watersheds, Public Works
  • Orange County Parks

Environmental Consultants

  • Balance Hydrologics
  • CH2M Hill
  • Everest
  • Moffatt & Nichol
  • Phillip Williams & Associates