Karen first studied social services. She worked with clients of different cultural backgrounds in Belgium and with clients with Autism Spectrum Disorder in Finland, allowing her to refine her intercultural communicative competences. Overcoming communicative barriers, due to disorders or intercultural differences, she learned the importance of valuing every unique way of communicating. She was able to develop an open communication style that speaks to many different groups of people.
Leaving the social sector with an interest for structural inequality in society, Karen went on to the interuniversity masters degree in Gender and Diversity at Ghent University, University of Leuven, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Antwerp University and Hasselt University. During her masters, Karen specialised in gender as a ground of structural inequality within society and more specifically in economics, (international) politics and organizational culture. She wrote her master thesis on the transformative potential of manuals for gender mainstreaming and the challenges of using this approach to facilitate cultural change in organization.