2020 Speaker Profile – Ashley, Karen

Karen A. Ashley

Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, American Electric Power


Karen Ashley is the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer (CDO) for American Electric Power (AEP). She is responsible for leading the enterprises' Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) vision and strategy. She has more than 20 years of experience leading high performing teams in the energy, utility, construction, health, and retail industries. Before taking on her current role, Karen worked as a Human Resources and D&I leader in several organizations, including Georgia Power, Southern Company, Ashland, San Antonio Water System, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, Texas Med Clinic, and QVC.

Karen is a native of San Antonio, Texas. She received a Master of Arts degree from Webster University and a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of North Texas.

Karen received the National Black MBA Association - Columbus Chapter 2020 Diversity & Inclusion Person of the Year Race for Excellence Award. The National Diversity Council named Karen on the Top 50 CDOs for leadership and personal accomplishments.

She is an author, speaker, currently serves on the United Negro College Fund Leadership Council’s Columbus Chapter, and is a member of the Women's Fund of Central Ohio's Diversity & Inclusion Committee.

Karen has served in leadership roles and on the boards of several prominent organizations, including the Atlanta Management Advocacy Group and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Karen enjoys traveling, golf, and exercising.