Profile of Past President, Karen Dempsey
Karen Dempsey was elected President of the National Council of Women of Canada in 2007 in Regina and was re-elected for a second term, taking office at the June 2009 AGM in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. Through Annual Briefs, numerous letters, and Round Table discussions with members of Parliament, Karen has brought issues of prime importance to the attention of the government over the past two years. These included the need for a national water strategy and a national energy strategy, a renewed call for compliance with gun control laws and the gun registry, the need for a national, comprehensive child care program, reform of the EI system, and grave concerns re nuclear power and the burial of non-fuel waste. During this time, the Board implemented many cost-cutting measures and a commitment to work toward self-sustainability. To that end, Firm the Foundation, a fundraising initiative, was introduced in 2008.
Before being elected to the Board in 2003, Karen was twice AGM Parliamentarian and a member of the Constitution Committee. She was a member of the HRDC Income Security Programs Survivors Advisory Round Table in 2003, and from 2005-06 was a member of the National Advisory Committee, Canadian Association for Prior Learning Assessment. From 2003-07 as NCWC Vice President Economics, Karen wrote Briefs to, and/or appeared as a Witness before, House of Commons Standing Committees on Finance, Status of Women, and Human Resources; was Lead VP for the Common Program “Housing for the Homeless;” and was a delegate to the International Council of Women (ICW) Triennial in Kyiv, Ukraine, in 2006.
In addition to being NCWC President, Karen is an Executive Committee Member of the International Council of Women, an ex-officio Board member of the NCWC Development Organization, a Board member of the N.S. Branch of the Royal Commonwealth Society, and President of the Halifax Local Council of Women. Karen is also a long-time member of the Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW), having served on the Board of Directors and represented CFUW on the Canadian Commission for UNESCO’s Sub-Commission on Education from 1998-2000 and chaired the Libraries and Creative Arts Committee from 2000-02. In addition she has held many offices in the Halifax Branch of CFUW, including two terms as President.
Karen graduated Acadia University with degrees in arts and education, studied business at Dalhousie and Mount Saint Vincent Universities, and has worked in the fields of education, organizational management, and logistics. As a former marketing and logistics consultant, she has several years’ experience organizing major conferences, trade exhibits, industrial tours, and a variety of other events. Her work has included providing logistical support for the Atlantic Alliance Aerospace and Defence Association delegation attending the 2004 Farnborough International Air Show in the UK and the 2005 International Paris Air Show at Le Bourget. She also worked in the oil and gas sector for many years and participated in major international shows such as Offshore Europe in Aberdeen, Scotland, and the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston, Texas. She has lived in Halifax for 35 years and was married to the late Ben Dempsey, an international pipeline specialist and oil/gas consultant.