Karen has been in media for 22 years and is currently Chairwoman of MediaCom, the largest media agency in the UK with billings over £1 billion. Prior to this Karen was CEO for 5 years.
Karen has been instrumental not only in the success of MediaCom, but in championing diversity throughout the advertising and media industry. In 2012 Karen launched the first ever Government backed Apprentice Scheme for the sector, where the apprentices qualify for an NVQ in Marketing and Communications.
In June 2014, Karen received an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday honours and in 2015 Karen was the first business woman to be named Britain’s Most Influential Black person in the Power List.
In 2015 Karen was appointed as one of four external advisors to help diversify the Civil Service, and as a DIT (Department for International Trade) Business Ambassador for No 10. Karen is also a Non-Exec for Creative England whose focus is to support new and emerging talent in the Creative Industry helping grow the UK Economy and a Council member of the Creative Industries Federation. In March 2016 Karen became the President of NABS, the advertising industry charity which focuses on health and wellbeing in the workplace and presenting the business case for Diversity.
Karen Blackett, was named chancellor of the University or Portsmouth in January 2017, succeeding broadcaster and Women’s Equality Party co-founder Sandi Toksvig.
Blackett will take up the role officially in October to coincide with the beginning of the academic year. She is a graduate of the university herself, having gained a BA in Geography in 1992 as well as an honorary degree in 2015.
Blackett added: “I am honoured to become Chancellor of the University. As an alumna of Portsmouth, I am thrilled to be able to return to the University and use my passion for developing talent and learning, to help create our next set of leaders.”