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Dr. Karen Somerville

Dr. Karen Somerville

Academic Coach

Contact information



Dr. Karen Somerville is an award-winning leader, educator, executive coach, advisor, management consultant, board member, researcher, and accountant. She is the President of Performance Plus Group, which specializes in leadership development, organizational change and organizational culture.

Karen has taught in a number of universities in Canada and the United States. She has been with Athabasca University since 2016. Her work as an educator is informed by more than 30 years of experience as a leader/senior manager in all three sectors (private, public and non-profit). As a management consultant, she has worked with very diverse clients from The World Bank to technology start-ups.

In the early stage of her career, Karen worked as an accountant, and she maintains her accounting designation to this day. However, much of her work in the past twenty years has been focused on leadership development, organizational change and organizational culture. Her training and experience provide a unique perspective to tackle the complexities of organizational change and organizational culture while understanding the impact on the organization’s bottom line.

As an executive coach, Karen’s clients are typically those in the C-Suite, or those who aspire to be in the C-Suite. She has developed 360 multi-rater assessment tools for leadership skills and executive presence that clients find helpful to provide a basis for coaching.

Karen has also served on numerous boards over the past three decades including the Board of Governors of the Ontario College of Trades (Governor), the Canada-Minnesota Business Council (Director and Treasurer), Big Brothers Big Sisters Twin Cities (Director), the Central Park Community Association (President), International Social Services Canada (Director), the Children's Aid Society of Ottawa-Carleton (Vice-President and Director), and the Ottawa Chapter of the Strategic Planning Forum (President and Director). She currently serves as President of Canadians for Properly Built Homes, a national not-for-profit organization.

Research interests

  • Organizational change
  • Organizational culture
  • Women on boards

Educational credentials

  • PhD in Management (Carleton University)
  • MBA (University of Ottawa)
  • Certified Executive Coach (CEC) designation (Royal Roads University)
  • Chartered Director (C.Dir.) designation (McMaster University)
  • Certified General Accountant (CGA Ontario)

Professional affiliations

  • CTT Certified Consultant, Barrett Values Centre
  • International Coaching Federation
  • Chartered Professional Accountant
  • Certified General Accountant