AESC CEO Karen Greenbaum Recognized with IDEA Award

Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants IDEA Award presented at annual global conference in New York   

Today at their annual AESC Global Conference in New York, the Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants (AESC) honored Karen Greenbaum, CEO of AESC, with the AESC IDEA Award for her commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity and access.   

Karen has served as CEO at AESC for the last decade. Within that time, she has played a critical role in advancing the profession, ensuring that AESC sets the quality standards for the profession globally while shining a light on the high-impact work done by AESC members. 

Karen has remained a vigilant champion for inclusion, diversity, equity and access in the profession. In the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd, Karen led AESC through a genuine diversity, fairness and belonging awakening. Together with CEOs from AESCs largest member firms, Karen co-authored AESC’s Diversity Pledge and Guiding Principles. The pledge, which has since been signed by 150-plus CEOs, is a bold commitment to combatting bigotry. Each CEO who signs this pledge is committing to developing and deepening actions toward inclusion within their own firms, with the clients and candidates they serve, and in their communities. 

Six original coauthors and the first signatories of AESC’s Diversity Pledge personally endorsed Karen’s selection: 

Since its creation, Karen has been the key driver ensuring AESC and its members live up to that promise.  

Under Karen’s leadership, AESC’s IDEA Councils were born. AESC's five IDEA Councils ensure the association remains on a path toward furthering our DEI mission, elevating the conversation around diversity and inclusion. In the aftermath of the US Supreme Court decision undermining affirmative action in US college admissions, Karen brought AESC Diversity Council members together to address the decision and its implications.  

Amid a global backlash against DEI, Karen led the development and execution of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Creating Competitive Advantage Through Fairness, Inclusion and Belonging, an AESC report. This research brought together the expertise of AESC members and the insights of clients committed to DEI work around the world. 

Additionally, Karen is a regular author and frequent speaker on topics including the positive business impact of diverse and inclusive leaders, teams and culture; critical CEO business issues; the key to attracting and retaining diverse executive talent; the importance of leading with purpose; the impact of legislation on talent and leadership solutions; and overall trends and innovations in the Executive Search and Leadership Consulting profession. 

Karen is a member of the 30% Club, a global group of Chairs and CEOs committed to board diversity, and The Committee of 200, a global non-profit focused on advancing women in business. She was recently featured in the book Women Mean Business, a celebration of trailblazing women who have risen to the top of the business world and helped others do the same.  

Karen's commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion precedes her tenure at AESC. Before joining AESC, Karen served as the President and COO for the $1 billion US business of Mercer Consulting/MMC, a Fortune 200 company and later as COO for Nixon Peabody LLP a nearly $500 million global 100 law firm. She also served as an executive search consultant and partner. 

About the AESC IDEA Award  

The AESC IDEA Award was established in 2020 to support the goals of the AESC Diversity Pledge, signed by more than 100 CEOs of leading executive search and leadership consulting firms. The award recognizes initiatives within the executive search and leadership consulting profession that demonstrate an exemplary commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity and access. These initiatives must be of sufficient significance and external impact to be recognized as excellent by the profession.   

About the Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants        

Since 1959, AESC has set the quality standards for the executive search and leadership consulting profession. AESC Members represent 16,000+ trusted professionals in 1,200+ offices, spanning 70+ countries. AESC Members are recognized experts providing consulting services in the areas of leaders, teams and culture to the world’s leading organizations. They leverage their access and expertise to place more than 100,000 executives each year in board of directors and C-level positions across industry sectors. Dedicated to strengthening leadership together, AESC and its members share a deep commitment to the highest quality standards in executive search and leadership consulting—for the benefit of clients and the profession. We Shape. Connect. Educate. Innovate. Learn more about us at aesc.org. For AESC’s career services, visit bluesteps.com.