News & Stories

Karen M. Olsen '83

President and CEO of BalMed LLC, and Member, California Lutheran University Board of Regents

“I’d like to propel science at Cal Lutheran to where we can recruit the best new minds," she says.  "Other universities have huge endowments and foundations to go along with them. The dollars really have an impact at Cal Lutheran. That’s what’s mindful for me. A gift is appreciated, it’s respected, and it’s impactful. It’s nice to have that feeling (as a donor).”

“I run companies,” Kären Olson explains, “typically manufacturing companies. So a science background has always helped me in critical thinking as well as in understanding the materials issues. I can understand and talk to the chemists…and ask the right questions.”

Currently her company provides strategic consulting to early-stage biotechnology, chemical and food companies on bringing new products to market and setting up financial systems for manufacturing. Previously, she was president of the industrial group of Scapa, working to develop bonding solutions for industrial use. In an earlier position she ran a startup out of Johns Hopkins seeking a biomarker for a cancer test.

She draws on her dual degrees in chemistry and medical technology from Cal Lutheran when she presents a new vision for a company, in new product development, and also in resolving customer issues.