Salt Lake City

Economic Development

Phone: (801) 535-7200 | Email:

Karen Gunn

Karen Gunn

Business Advisory Board, District 6

Karen Gunn has been a member of Salt Lake City’s Business Advisory Board since 2016. She represents District 6.

Karen has over 35 years’ experience as an educator, corporate manager, and business owner. She currently is principal strategy consultant for Gunn Consulting Cooperative, LLC. With partners in Utah as well as other areas of the United States, Karen facilitates local, national, and international strategic initiatives for both private and public-sector clients, which includes a targeted interest in small business creation and development. Prior to starting Gunn Consulting Cooperative, Karen served as Associate Provost for Economic Development at Salt Lake Community College, overseeing programs associated with workforce and economic development, global entrepreneurship, small business development and women’s business development. In that role, she also served as the Executive Director for Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program a premier public/private partnership with the Goldman Sachs Foundation to provide training, mentoring and capital access for small businesses to grow along the Wasatch Front.

Karen is the recipient of SBA, Refugee Services, and Chamber awards as a champion for women-owned businesses. In 2015 Karen won the ATHENA Award from the Salt Lake Chamber, a national award given to those who demonstrate excellence, creativity and initiative in business, provides valuable service by devoting time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community, and assists women in reaching their full leadership potential.

Karen has special interest in global advocacy for women and girls targeted to education, enterprise, and economic advancement. She has established academic and economic development projects in India, Brazil, Ukraine, and China. She is a board and executive member of local organizations advocating equity for women in education and the workplace.

Thank you Karen for bringing your experience and tenacity to Salt Lake City!

Q&A with Karen Gunn

What are you excited about in District 6? District 6 has always been a vibrant community for entrepreneurs and small business owners; it is exciting to see more diversity in type and size of businesses coming to the area.
What changes would you like to see happen in District 6?  More condo/ownership opportunities to support the growth and to balance out the abundance of apartment options.Because of geographic boundaries, District 6 business owners don’t often get a chance to gather together for round table discussions about common challenges and successes. I would love to create greater opportunities for owners to periodically gather at each other’s establishments to share ideas.
What is your favorite “Third Place” to hang out in the District 6 neighborhood? A tough question—I have several! Eggs in the City for great omelets; The Kings English with a good book top my list.
What do women-owned small businesses in Salt Lake City need more help with? Women-owned businesses often have specific challenges (not unique to Utah) In addition to navigating available resources, women business owners need a strategic framework which helps develop advanced leadership, technical, and networking opportunities to take their companies beyond start up and initial growth stage.
What is Salt Lake City doing right for business? Three critical things come to mind—a; creating a solid economic/workforce development strategy and action plan; b: working to streamline sometimes cumbersome and lengthy processes impacting businesses and their owners; c: advocating and promoting an environment which embraces diversity to welcome business owners regardless of race, ethnicity, culture, or gender.
What is the first word or words that come to mind when you think of Salt Lake City? A “global” city—ability to leverage local business and community resources to become an international economic hub.
Anything else you would like to add? It is a privilege to be part of the Business Advisory Board and work with an exceptional economic development team serving Salt Lake City!

About the Business Advisory Board:
The Business Advisory Board (BAB) is made up of city business owners and community leaders who partner with Salt Lake City’s Department of Economic Development. Its members are appointed by the mayor and must be SLC residents and/or have ownership interest in a Salt Lake City business. BAB helps direct city economic policy, promotes small business growth, supports local entrepreneurs, and encourages businesses to relocate to our city.

As part of an ongoing effort to keep SLC’s business community in the loop, the BAB shares synopses of monthly meetings on the Salt Lake City Economic Development’s blog page. Recordings are available to the public as well.