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Karen Starns

Chief Executive OfficerOJO Canada

Austin, TX

Member Since August 2022


Executive Leadership
Marketing Strategy
Innovation & Growth


Karen Starns is CEO of OJO Canada, acquired in 2023 by Royal Bank of Canada. She was previously Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at OJO. Karen's outstanding track record of building global brands, driving growth, and solving complex business challenges has been shaped by two leadership stints at Amazon, 13 years at Microsoft, and a global leadership role at Pearson. Karen is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, a lecturer in the McCombs School of Business Master of Science in Marketing program, and Chair of the Advisory Council for the Master of Science in Marketing program. A brand marketer at heart, Karen is skilled at building brands that people love and can’t live without. At OJO, she is focused on deepening audience understanding and empathy, leading consumer engagement, and establishing OJO as a brand of choice for homeownership - one of life's most complex and consequential decisions. Karen is an active mentor of women and up-and-coming leaders, including the CEOs of two social enterprises — Cielo Hammocks in Mexico and Sosai Renewable Energies in Nigeria.

Published content

Is your business website a standout? If not, how can you create one?

expert panel

Consider these 13 design steps recommended by leading industry experts. When you're in the process of developing (or revamping) a company website, you can't be afraid to take risks, break the norm, and add a little more personalization to your brand image—especially if it means reaching out to an untapped market for conversion. But once you've suddenly captured the attention of potential customers and clients, how do you build on that momentum and keep it going? The next step is to offer them substantial information that is engaging and interesting to drive home a clear message of intent. Below, 13 Fast Company Executive Board members each provide one tip for designing a website that will get noticed in today's competitive marketplace.

13 ways to elevate your work-from-home space and daily productivity

expert panel

Inspire yourself to get stuff done in a new and improved remote work environment. Just because remote work affords you the freedom to maintain your business and family responsibilities alongside each other from the convenience of your home, doesn't mean it's okay to lose sight of maintaining an organized, professional, and productive workspace—when you are on the clock. Doing so allows you to concentrate wholeheartedly and remain stimulated by the daily projects and long-term projects on your plate.  If you are feeling siloed or unmotivated with low energy in your current WFH space, below, 13 Fast Company Executive Board members share their innovative ideas to help remote business professionals create comfortable, focus-driven workspaces that keep them inspired and motivated to produce great work each day. Applying these tips will also enhance work-life balance and protect physical and mental health.

18 ways to find balance in your remote work life—every day

expert panel

Don't let your physical or mental health go by the wayside. Landing a remote career opportunity with a great company may seem like the ideal solution to help busy employees navigate their current circumstances, especially for those in need of additional resources to balance a job that they truly love with caregiving responsibilities or other challenges they may be facing at home. However,  it's more than essential to make the most of what a true work-life balance should look like when the lines begin to blur. Based on their own remote work experiences, 18 Fast Company Executive Board members offer their top suggestions for promoting the best physical and mental health possible while working remotely. To keep moving and stay engaged with others, try the following.

19 ways to be more confident in your role at work

expert panel

Changing your mindset will enable you to achieve more success. In the workplace (and in life), it's perfectly human to sometimes obsess over the three Cs—competing, comparing, and complaining—when it comes to dealing with others and reviewing how our own accomplishments or failures stack up. It becomes a much bigger problem when an individual chooses to stay stuck in that mindset because it can hinder them from moving forward in their career and personal life. Below, 19 members from Fast Company Executive Board share what lessons they've learned from their ability to overcome patterns of previous self-doubt, and how they were able to forge ahead to a better path of success. 

Nine reasons why e-commerce is thriving

expert panel

Leaders discuss the rise and impact of online businesses. For small-business owners, e-commerce is a game changer—connecting startups with 24/7 access to ideal target markets at a rapid pace. If you want to be a standout, it's essential to differentiate your brand of products or services by offering a unique value proposition and a seamless online shopping experience to encourage return customers.  Knowing that a potential customer is just one click away, business leaders and their teams must also do a deeper dive to determine the underlined meaning of customer behavior patterns and tailor, as needed, to the individual e-commerce experience. Below, nine Fast Company Executive Board members explain how the pros of e-commerce (mainly) outweigh the cons and help businesses meet their bottom-line goals.  

Seven meaningful ways leaders can cultivate a sense of belonging

expert panel

I'm passionate about all things growth hacking, leadership development, and inclusion—so much so that I created a conference, developed a game, and wrote a book about the root of it all: growing deeply human connections.  So, what does it take to build a company culture that fosters those types of connections? We all know there's merit to in-person interaction, but paying for office space and asking your team to commute every day may not be the answer. Instead, the same money that some leaders may put toward rent can be used for team kickoffs, company retreats, and interpersonal events. These activities are far more thoughtful and effective in building personal relationships, connections, and a sense of belonging. The key is to make any team gathering intentional, which ultimately ends up being more productive—and less expensive.  To help other leaders cultivate a sense of belonging, I asked members Fast Company Executive Board Company Culture, an online community that I lead, for their top culture-building tips.   

Company details

OJO Canada

Company bio

OJO Canada guides consumers through the home journey by providing a customized home search experience, on-demand access to a network of industry experts, and the support of financial resources. OJO Canada aims to make the home ownership process more accessible to more Canadians.



Area of focus

Real Estate

Company size

51 - 200