After an extensive national search, the Great Plains Institute (GPI) has named Deborah Karasov as its new Chief Operating Officer. Deborah brings nearly 30 years of nonprofit leadership experience to the newly created role which will further enable GPI to advance its time-critical mission to transform the energy system to benefit the economy and environment.  

“Deborah’s proven executive leadership skills and the level of operational excellence she will bring to GPI will be absolutely transformative for us and the impact we can make,” said Rolf Nordstrom, GPI president and CEO. “GPI has had incredible success toward achieving our mission in our 20-year history, but we know we need to do more, and faster. Deborah joins us at a critical point in our organizational evolution as we continue to grow our national reach and work to achieve the level of impact we know is necessary and possible.”    

Karasov comes to GPI from Great River Greening where she served as executive director for more than 13 years, growing the geographic and operational outreach from a local to a statewide conservation leader. A champion for the environment and philanthropy, Deborah has held roles in academia, the nonprofit sector, and in federal government. She served on the Mayoral Task Force on Sustainable Development Policies in St. Paul, earned the Theodore D. Horowitz Citizen Participation Award from the City of Minneapolis’ Committee on the Environment, and earned a spot at the James P. Shannon Leadership Institute. 

“What has impressed me most about GPI is the incredible consensus-building approach that is so critical to its work,” Karasov said. “At a time when it’s easy to focus on what divides us—including on the climate challenge—GPI is able to bring together a remarkably broad range of stakeholders to find agreement and solutions. I am inspired by their work and thrilled to join GPI as we work toward a better future together.”    

Deborah earned her doctoral degree from the University of Minnesota, master’s from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, and her BA from Macalester College. She will join GPI on April 25, 2019.

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