Karen Tay


Smart Cities

Karen is a Princeton-educated policymaker, strategic communicator and organizational transformer, and a member of the Singapore Government’s top leadership corps.

In her current role, Karen is Singapore’s International Smart Nation Director, based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She profiles Singapore's smart cities work globally, builds strategic relationships with industry, Governments and thought leaders, and helps public service organisations understand the potential and risks of emerging technologies such as Autonomous Vehicles, Artificial Intelligence and IoT. She is passionate about making sure that technology benefits the widest number of people, and write about this atwww.techandpublicgood.com. She is a sought-after speaker globally. 

Karen has a track record of creating innovative policies and new functions in the public sector. 

Her early work included SkillsFuture, a nationwide program which enables Singaporeans to continually upgrade their skills throughout life. As part of this, she helped to establish the Singapore Institute of Technology - the first university to offer applied degree programs to students from vocational backgrounds, thus, blurring the lines between industry and the classroom. Enrollment will reach 10,000 by 2020. 

Karen championed new policies worth $1B to enable more equal access to affordable, quality preschool education, and new opportunities for people with disabilities. She set up a new strategic engagement function in the Education Ministry, strengthening its ability to connect with the public on controversial policies. 

Before her move to America, Karen was a strategy and policy advisor and speechwriter to the Prime Minister and his Cabinet on technology and social issues. 

Having set up numerous new functions in the government, Karen acutely understands the challenges of disrupting a large organization. She has a passion for helping other leaders walk through these challenges in a way that is healthy for themselves and the organization.


  • Policy, Law & Ethics
  • Smart Cities
  • Finance
  • Education
  • Autonomous Vehicles
  • Artificial Intelligence in Public Services
  • Job Displacement and Skills Renewal
  • Leadership and Coaching