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Portrait Project: Karen Henry

Karen E. Henry, CPA

“Here at The Forest, I found the missing piece.”

Karen Henry’s father was in business and her mother was a nurse. Struck by the romance of the former and skilled in math, Karen originally aspired to be a math teacher. “I loved taking things apart, finding out how they worked, and putting them back together,” she shares.

Originally from Pennsylvania, she earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) with a major in Accounting from Shippensburg University. CPA licensed in both Pennsylvania and North Carolina, she started her career in audit with KPMG (a Big Six accounting firm then, part of the Final Four now), then moved to internal audit with Hershey Foods before relocating to the Tar Heel State in 1996. Prior to joining The Forest, she worked for public international companies, gaining significant experience in audit, financial reporting, SEC reporting, internal controls, and compliance.

Coming to The Forest at Duke was all about finding purpose and meaning. “Even though I was doing important work, I felt there was something missing,” Karen admits. Since those working in Finance never saw or heard from readers of the information, she never knew if her audience received or understood the data she provided. “There was no connection.” At The Forest, however, she gained many opportunities to teach and share the information in a way that proved useful to her customers and therefore affects their lives in a positive way.

A Forest resident once said of Karen, “She is delightfully different from the drab stereotype of an accountant.” And indeed she is! When she isn’t at work, Karen excels in playing the guitar, piano, and clarinet and took dance for many years. She loves music and traveling and dreams of visiting every country and learning to play every instrument.

Forest team member since 2005