Karen has worked at the University of Manchester for almost 20 years taking a variety of roles such as senior administrative officer, senior international officer, head of school administration and external relations manager. In 2010 Karen took up the deputy director role at the Confucius Institute to this date. Prior to that she worked at Jardine Matheson both in London and Shanghai.
Karen helped to set up the Confucius Institute at the University which aims to increase understanding of UK and China through people to people exchange, language and culture. She led the UK government funded Study China Programme from 2007, which has enabled over 5 000 UK university students to experience China, and many continue to study and work in China after graduation. In 2015 Karen was involved in the visit of President Xi Jinping to the University by providing language and cultural advice to the University.