Karen Martin

Karen Martin and her team provide Lean transformation and business performance improvement to industry, government, and the not-for-profit sector across the globe.

Private sector clients range from SMBs to Fortune 100 organizations and span nearly every industry. Government clients include local, state, and federal agencies. Karen has a particularly rich background in healthcare.

The primary entry points for engagements include strategy deployment, value stream transformation, problem-solving capability development, daily management system rollout, and disciplined process design and management. All engagements include a strong emphasis on leadership development.

Karen’s broad understanding of operations design and business management stems from her early career building the operational infrastructure for several rapid-growth operations that each grew into nine-figure companies through both organic growth and acquisitions. Since that time, she and her team have helped clients solve nearly every type of organizational problem that exists.

Her expertise also includes a keen understanding of customer value—which she honed while serving in sales and marketing roles—and extensive experience with legal and regulatory issues.

Karen’s process, quality, and work system design orientation evolved from her early career as a scientist (B.S. Microbiology, Pennsylvania State University) and was formally developed while serving as the Director of Quality for an organization that managed healthcare for 22 million Americans—and the Director of the Institute for Quality and Productivity at San Diego State University, where she oversaw the university’s sell-out Lean Enterprise and Quality Business Practices programs. Her passion for organizational learning and workforce development led her to a graduate program in adult learning (M.A. Education, California State University, Bakersfield).

Karen is known for her keen diagnostic skills and rapid-results approach to meeting client needs. A skilled change agent, Karen builds energy within work teams by helping them focus on an organization’s key performance goals—faster delivery of customer value more safely and at lower cost—while simultaneously transferring knowledge and building capabilities so clients become self-sustaining as quickly as possible.

Karen’s known as a thought leader in the business performance improvement space. An in-demand keynote speaker, Karen inspires her global audiences with high-energy talks that contain practical takeaways. She’s also the author of two Shingo Award-winning books: The Outstanding Organization and Value Stream Mapping (co-authored with Mike Osterling), and co-author of two tactical improvement books: The Kaizen Event Planner and Metrics-Based Process Mapping. Her latest book, Clarity First, was a finalist for 800-CEO-READ’s Business Book of the Year.

In 2020, Karen launched TKMG Academy, Inc.,—the firm’s online learning arm—to spread high-return business performance improvement practices to all corners of the earth.