Karen Walsh, Chief Executive Officer

Karen Walsh CEO

Karen’s career spans over 30 years in the UK and Australia in Government, corporate sector and non-government agencies, including disability and child protection in the UK, almost 9 years in a leading Tier 1 community housing organisation in NSW and 14 years in the NSW State Government and NT Governments in senior and executive roles in Aboriginal, public and community housing. 

Karen is committed to achieving impact by harnessing the strengths of social purpose and commercial disciplines. She has been instrumental in driving reform and growth initiatives in the Aboriginal and community housing sectors in NSW since 2005/6 and more recently since 2019 in the NT.

Roles include leading policy, programs, strategy and reform; strategic partnerships and planning; strategic commissioning, contracting and regulation; asset and portfolio planning and delivery, urban renewal and place making; business development and improvement; and service and program innovation, design and evaluation. 

As General Manager at SGCH (7 years) Karen led the successful delivery of the organisation’s housing operations, new business initiatives and growth strategy.  Karen has a strong track record of bringing together social purpose with commercial discipline to achieve effective results for the organisation, for clients and for tenants, and has been instrumental in leading major reform and growth initiatives in the community housing sector. 

Prior to moving to the Territory in 2019 Karen was the CEO of Shelter NSW, the housing peak advocacy body. Karen’s NT Government roles include Executive Director, Housing Programs, as well as Acting Deputy CEO Housing, Local Government and Community Development. These roles led housing and homelessness programs delivery and service development, urban housing planning and delivery, as well as community housing and program reforms. Karen was also appointed to the role of Registrar of Community Housing NT in June 2020. 

Karen is passionate about social justice and addressing social and economic disadvantage through innovation, collaboration and partnerships which include all levels of Government, the private and not for profit sectors, and genuine engagement with the community and tenants. 

Karen is from a large family and spent all of her childhood and teenage years living in a large public housing estate in the UK, and is a strong advocate for safe, secure public/community and affordable housing being a critical foundation to enable people to thrive and achieve their aspirations. 

Karen qualified as a social worker in 1991 in the UK, and in Australia gained two Masters Degrees - Social Policy (2001) and an Executive Masters, Public Administration – with Merit (2007) ANZSOG, is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD) and an Honorary Associate of the UTS Institute of Public Policy and Governance. Karen has served as a non-executive Director of many not-for profit Boards, including national peak and industry bodies and community housing providers. 

Karen Walsh CEO