Karen Tay


Faculty, Smart Cities

About Karen

Karen is a Princeton-educated policymaker, strategic communicator and organizational transformer, who serves as 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 heads global technology talent networking for Singapore, profiles Singapore’s smart cities work globally, and builds strategic relationships with industry, Governments and thought leaders.

Karen’s enduring passion is to see more equitable, sustainable cities which are built on collaboration and trust among people and leaders. Her career has served this vision in various ways.

Education. She designed and implemented a $1B package of policies to enable more equal access to affordable, quality preschool education for children from lower and middle income families, and played a critical role in setting up the Singapore Institute of Technology – the first university to offer work-study degree programs to students from vocational backgrounds.

Strategic communications and political speechwriting. She founded a new strategic engagement function in the Education Ministry, strengthening its ability to connect with the public on controversial policies, and served as a political speechwriter to many members of the Cabinet, including the Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister.

Technology for public good. In her current role, she is passionate about bringing technology, policy and business models together to maximize public value and minimize public risks. She writes about this at www.techandpublicgood.com and speaks on the topic globally, addressing thousands of business and Government executives at platforms such as CES, SXSW, Singularity University Global Summit, AI EXPO.

Coaching and leadership development. She is a trained executive coach who has supported dozens of leaders through organizational transformation.

Areas of Expertise

Autonomous Vehicles  •  Smart Cities  •  Facilitator  •  Moderator

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