Kari Knutson, MA, is a native of Colorado and an educational professional with over 23 years of experience in K-12, higher education environments, as well as state governments, and community organizations. She is an educator, professional speaker, counselor and performer whose company, Knutson Speaks helps to take psychology “off the couch" and bring it to the people. Kari is an expert in the field of emotional intelligence (EQ) and human development. Her speaking and training work is focused on helping people transform their organizations through developing interpersonal skills and bridging cultural and communication divides.
Kari received her undergraduate degree in Psychology and Philosophy from Cornell College in Iowa. After college she earned her Masters degree in Higher Education Administration from Appalachian State University in North Carolina.
Kari then went on to work at Harvard Medical School in Boston. She worked in the Peabody Society where she helped to design and implement programs to support medical students. While at Harvard, Kari was involved in numerous activities related to the social and emotional growth of medical students. Her work with the Harvard Medical School students inspired her to focus more of her attention on student affairs and eventually she wanted to become a counselor.
After meeting her first Deaf friend at the age of 28, she decided she wanted to become fluent in American Sign Language and develop a greater understanding of Deaf culture. She was honored to be selected for the Masters program in Counseling at Gallaudet University in Washington DC, the only university in the world specifically for Deaf and hard of hearing students. Upon graduating from Gallaudet, she went to work at the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing as a case manager for clients in the Boston region. She also worked at Northern Essex Community College in Deaf Services where she helped recruit Deaf students and developed programs to support them while in college.
Kari later attended International Summer School at the University of Oslo in Norway where she received a Certificate in Special Needs Education. While in Norway she met amazing people from all over the world! Kari was honored to be chosen as the American representative for her certificate class, a professional group made up of 18 people from 18 different countries.
Kari is an avid traveler who has traveled solo to 13 countries and has a vast knowledge of different cultural practices and perspectives, as well as different signed and spoken languages. She is fluent in American Sign Language and can give presentations in English or ASL.
Kari currently works part-time as a school counselor at Crown Pointe Academy a K-8 charter school in Westminster, Colorado. She is responsible for counseling students as well as running school-wide social emotional learning and bully prevention programs. She lead the initiative to develop two specialized programs for teachers and co-leads both groups. CPA 1 is an innovative program for first year teachers to help them thrive, not just survive their first year and TLC is Teacher Leader Corps, a cutting-edge program that focuses on how we can retain good teachers and expand their reach by offering creative programming and ongoing support.
Kari started her company, Knutson Consulting to expand her message outside of the school setting. She started giving public presentations on Emotional Intelligence and Bully Prevention and since that time she has increased the number of topics she speaks on (see presentations tab). In 2018 Kari decided to change the name of the company to Knutson Speaks and now she offers presentations, public workshops, coaching, and her one-woman storytelling show.
Her coaching focuses on two topics: Emotional Intelligence and Better Public Speaking. For people who are invested in improving their Emotional Intelligence (EQ), Kari helps clients learn and apply techniques for self-awareness and self-regulation as well as how to use EQ to communicate more effectively and intentionally. She also offers coaching to people who would like to improve their public speaking with the on-stage skills, tools and confidence, making the content of presentations more accessible, interesting, and dynamic, or maximizing the impact of visual presentations.
In addition to her work as a counselor, coach, and professional speaker, Kari is also a performer. She wrote, directed, and stars in a one-woman storytelling show called “Ain"t Never Met a Stranger, Stories From the Passenger Seat". This show is all about our human connection and the ridiculous, wonderful, touching, complex, funny, and beautiful ride of life. The show has been performed in Denver and Philadelphia.
Kari lives in Denver with her husband, two children, two cats, and five very emotionally intelligent guinea pigs.