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Karen Besserman is Emerge Washington’s inaugural Executive Director. She comes to Emerge Washington with a long history of managing and advocating for women candidates. Before moving to Seattle, she managed the campaign of Sharon Sayles Belton in Minneapolis, the first African-American woman elected as mayor of a major city. She also worked in Seattle on Maria Cantwell’s campaign for the Senate in 2000.

In 2001, Besserman started Besserman Associates, a consulting firm specializing in local candidate and issue campaigns, individual fundraising and public affairs and advocacy. The firm helped with the Women’s Bioethics Project launch a national book club program and the World Association for Children and Parents (WACAP) develop a program to feature adoptable children on the news each week with the goal of finding them families among other major projects. Her other clients included the State of Washington, the Committee for Children, the Minority Executive Directors Coalition and the Refugee Women’s Alliance.

You can reach Karen at