Karen Lee Downes

Karen Downes


Core Team Director, UK, Costa Rica, Australia


Social entrepreneur, Transformation SME, Author.

Co-Founder and Director FemmeQ,

Founder The Flourish Initiative, Member of Catalyst 2030,

Co-Chair Bounce Beyond.



Over the span of her 35-year career, Karen has founded and launched successful start-ups, supported social change initiatives to transform entrenched cultural norms, developed and led transformational leadership programmes around the world.  She is a healer above all else. At the beginning of her career, she trained in five alternative healthcare disciplines, building a multi-million-dollar Aromatherapy company from kitchen tabletop to global business success story, her mission was to ‘return natural healing modalities to the healers; women’. Whilst building her business and empowering women across Australasia,  she committed to eradicating inequalities at a global scale, joining the Hunger Project, as an investor and activist. For years she travelled to India and Bangladesh to end the subjugation and marginalization of women which had been identified as fundamental to ending the chronic persistence of hunger. It was here she learned that without the inclusion of women as equal partners, a village will remain impoverished, that the feminine is critical to building a flourishing community. She is a trained facilitator of Joanna Macy’s work –  ‘The Work that Reconnects’ – how to move from the Industrial Growth Society to a Life Sustaining future.

Upon moving to London in 2003, she began to advise business leaders, designed and led transformational leadership programmes around the world. In 2015 in response to the overwhelming statistics on the progress of women and gender justice, Karen co-founded the global movement, FemmeQ: Feminine Intelligence. The first of 5 subsequent International Summits was launched in Berlin in 2016. FemmeQ is a global movement, that aims to answer the question ‘What’s missing in our human and social systems that would enable a flourishing future?’ FemmeQ offers a unique approach, to catalyse transformation at any level of society for the purpose of building more just and equitable societies and organisations.

In 2020 Karen became a member of Catalyst 2030 and joined Bounce Beyond as a lead steward bringing her expertise and experience as a system thinker and transformation subject matter expert. Subsequently travelling to Costa Rica to work on the ground focusing on women’s empowerment in community projects. Alongside her consulting roles she designed, launched, and facilitated the successful online programme ‘The 12 Virtues of Soulful Leadership’, which is now in its third year. She now lives in the UK after spending 2 years in the experiment of leading a nomadic life. She is the proud mother of her beautiful daughter, Rebecca.