Karen Lightman

Executive Director

Metro21: Smart Cities Institute

Karen is an internationally recognized leader in building and supporting communities based on emerging technologies.  At Metro21, Karen leads the strategy, outreach and programming of the institute, enabling the deployment of CMU technology in collaboration with municipal and equity partners throughout the region.  Karen has expertise with commercializing academic research, building industry-based consortiums and strategically leading teams to explore market-based opportunities.  Her diverse background spans the consumer, military, healthcare, manufacturing, and automotive sectors.  Karen is ranked by EETimes as one of the top 25 “Women in Tech” and was inducted into the SEMI/MSIG "Hall of Fame" in October 2020.  She is a passionate advocate and spokesperson for technology solutions to real-world problems and has held several board positions locally and nationally and is currently treasurer on the board of the MetroLab Network.

Karen has a BA from the University of Vermont (UVM) and a MS in Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College. She and her family reside in Pittsburgh, PA.