“Karen possesses a unique combination of strategic thinking and in-depth knowledge of the legislative process and education policy. She understands how to leverage the power of public education into compelling statewide advocacy.”

“Karen has been a true leader in California’s K-16 educational system. She is a bright, dedicated and passionate advocate who has led successful advocacy campaigns throughout our state for over 30 years.”

“She knows how to speak truth to power, but is neither dogmatic nor a browbeater, both common failings among others who do this work. She is refreshing and energetic and thoughtful, and will be an asset to any team.”

Jeffrey L. Bleich

Former United States Ambassador to Australia

Former Chair, California State University Board of Trustees

“Karen is strategic, tireless, mission-driven, and relates to others at all levels. She is simply one of the most capable people with whom I’ve had the privilege to work with in State government. She has a sophisticated grasp of policy, a strong instinct for opportunity, and the skills and heart to get things done.”


Jose Medina

Chair, Calfornia Assembly Higher Education Committee

“…I can say from first-hand experience that Ms. Zamarripa knows how to bring people together.”

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“Ms. Zamarripa is an outstanding advocate. Having worked with her during my years in the legislature, I can say from first-hand experience that Ms. Zamarripa knows how to bring people together. With decades of experience, she understands policy, politics, and stakeholders. She is sharp and strategic while also being personable and a pleasure to work with. She has a genuine passion for advocacy and fosters a collaborative spirit to work towards a desired goal. I look forward to our ongoing work together in the future.”


Ruben Arminana

Emeritus President, Sonoma State University

“Karen is a superb public policy analyst and lobbyist who works miracles with legislators and agencies. She works harder and longer than anyone I know and her persistence and creativity always pays off well. Her speciality is education and young people. Having come to education from a political background, I always appreciated and endorsed her activities and efforts. I want her on my team.”


Daniel Hurley

CEO, Michigan Association of State Universities

Former Associate V.P. for State Relations and Policy, American Association of State Colleges and Universities

“Karen Zamarripa is one of the nation’s foremost voices on how institutions and systems can harness the full array of stakeholders and resources to marshal state support for public higher education. From the strategic to the tactical, her years of experience serving as the chief advocate for the nation’s largest public university system makes her a terrific consultative source for helping institutions design, implement and evaluate a dynamic higher education state relations program.”


Jane Wellman

Senior Advisor, College Futures Foundation

“She knows how to speak truth to power, but is neither dogmatic nor a browbeater, both common failings among others who do this work.”

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“It is my great pleasure to comment on Karen Zamarripa’s qualifications. Karen has been a valued colleague for over twenty-five years in higher education, at the state legislative level, within the institution, and at the national level. She understands the intersection between public policy and higher education better than most people in the country, and is an effective and well informed translator of each side to the other. She knows how to manage the political decision making process both within the academy and in state government, and can anticipate when and how decisions will be made. She knows how to speak truth to power, but is neither dogmatic nor a browbeater, both common failings among others who do this work. She is refreshing and energetic and thoughtful, and will be an asset to any team.”


Christian Osmena

Vice chancellor for College Finance and Facilities Planning, California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office

Former Department of Education

“What sets Karen apart is how meaningfully she connects to those with whom she works—in Sacramento and also throughout the state and across the country—and how deeply she cares about the students, families, and communities, we are here to serve. Working with Karen is a genuine pleasure.”

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“Karen Zamarripa is a master of the craft of developing, enacting, and implementing public policy that works well. Navigating the Governor’s administration and the state legislature is second nature to her. She brings more than good strategy to projects, though. What sets Karen apart is how meaningfully she connects to those with whom she works—in Sacramento and also throughout the state and across the country—and how deeply she cares about the students, families, and communities, we are here to serve. Working with Karen is a genuine pleasure.”


Dr. Joseph I. Castro, Ph.D., M.P.P.

President and Professor of Educational Leadership

California State University, Fresno

“I’ve worked closely with Karen and have witnessed firsthand, her ability to artfully navigate complex and sensitive political situations. Her strong relationships with both legislators and staff will serve her clients well in a variety of public policy subject matters.”


Molly Corbett Broad

Emeritus President, American Council on Education

“Karen has proven successful at interfacing between policy and politics to achieve the best results for students, colleges and universities. Any college or university would be fortunate to make the strategic choice to engage Karen as an advocate and as a partner for improving the academic experience for generations to come.”


Amy Costa

Former Education Consultant

California Senate President pro Tempore Don Perata (ret.)

“Karen possesses a unique combination of strategic thinking and in-depth knowledge of the legislative process and education policy. She understands how to leverage the power of public education into compelling statewide advocacy.”


Adam Day

Chief Administrative Officer, Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation

CAO, Sycuan Indian Nation

Chair, California State University Board of Trustees

“…I admire the success she has had over the decades for the system and our students.”

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“Ms. Zamarripa is one of the best advocates I have had the opportunity to work with, and watch as she influenced both the policy and political processes of our state. And as someone who has direct experience in local, state and federal politics, I admire the success she has had over the decades for the system and our students. She knows how to connect the dots, make the case, tell a story, bring people together, and get the job done.”


Kevin De Leon

Emeritus Senate President Pro Tempore, California Legislature

“During my tenure in the Legislature, I always found Ms. Zamarripa to be responsive, collaborative and willing to push the envelop in developing higher education policy in California. Her ability to think outside the box has been of great value to my colleagues and I in an environment where the status quo cycle is often hard to break.”


Laurence Furukawa-Schlereth

Retired Chief Financial Officer

Vice President for Administration and Finance

Co-Executive Director, Green Music Center

Sonoma State University

“Karen is a most talented, skilled and experienced university administrator who was an artful and productive leader at the California State University for over two decades. Most notably, for the first time in my twenty-five year ensure at the University we received a fully funded budget in 2015-16. This was due in great part to Karen’s vision, political acumen and strategic skills.”


Monica Henestroza

Higher Education Advisory to the California Assembly Speaker

“Most recently, she orchestrated California State University’s high-profile advocacy campaign that resulted in an ongoing state augmentation of approximately $100 million for the university’s core budget.”

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“Karen possesses the drive, experience and creativity to achieve ambitious goals for the higher education institutions she represents. Most recently, she orchestrated California State University’s high-profile advocacy campaign that resulted in an ongoing state augmentation of approximately $100 million for the university’s core budget. As a result of these efforts, the university is enrolling an additional 10,000 students and deepening its investments in initiatives to improve its graduation rate and close the achievement gap. It was a pleasure to partner with Karen on this win-win for the university and the state of California.”


Bob Linscheid

Senior Advisor to President, Economic Development for Cal Poly SLO

President Emeritus, SF Chamber of Commerce

Trustee Emeritus, California State University, 2005-2014

“There is no one more qualified to help an organization to develop a strategy that leads to success.”

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“I have worked with Karen Zamarripa for well over a decade in my role a Trustee for the California State University system. During the time our system benefitted greatly from her strategic, knowledgeable and respected insight in state, federal and local politics.

She is a quick study, an effective communicator, and a strong leader who not only knows what needs to get done but how to do it. There is no one more qualified to help an organization to develop a strategy that leads to success. The award-winning #standwithcsu is just the most recent example of her skill and expertise in creating a campaign, or better yet a political movement, which resulted in increased funding for the California State University (CSU) when no one thought it was possible.”


Laura Metune

Vice Chancellor Government Relations, California Community Colleges

Former Higher Education Consultant, California Community Colleges

“As a lobbyist Karen is a powerful negotiator and bold advocate. As a colleague Karen is honest, communicative and trustworthy.”


Kyle Button

Associate Vice President for Development and Campaign Director

California State University San Marcos

“I have worked with Karen for many years building a broad-based advocacy network promoting accessible higher education of quality for all Californians. Karen is committed, connected, competent and creative — the hallmarks of any great advancement professional.”

Bobbie Metzger

Former Press Secretary, California Governor Jerry Brown

Former Assembly Speaker Willie Brown

“Her strategic abilities, willingness to work hard to achieve the stated goals and her complete understanding of politics and higher education policy set her apart from all others in the field.”

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“California has the most complex systems of higher education in the country. In addition, government in the Golden State is complicated and arduous. Karen negotiated these institutions better than anyone I know with tenacity, a complete grasp of the issues and incredible success for more than a quarter century. Her strategic abilities, willingness to work hard to achieve the stated goals and her complete understanding of politics and higher education policy set her apart from all others in the field.”


Lou Monville

Trustee Emeritus, California State University Board of Trustees and Former Chair of the Board, 2014-2016

Partner, Raincross Advisors

“Advocacy is important but what makes for a successful campaign is the strategy designed to achieve your policy and political goals. Having worked with Karen Zamarripa there is no doubt that she has the skill, knowledge and better yet the instinct to craft a winning strategy to get the job done for any organization or cause.”


Kristin Olsen

Stanislaus Board of Supervisors

Former California Assembly and Former Republican Leader

“She is extraordinarily well versed in the myriad of issues that fall under the umbrella of “education” – student and faculty needs, testing, admissions, labor, certification, financing, siting, construction, and the list goes on.”

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“Karen has a tremendous understanding of California’s education system (kindergarten through Ph.D.) and the dynamics that drive the development of public policy. She is extraordinarily well versed in the myriad of issues that fall under the umbrella of “education” – student and faculty needs, testing, admissions, labor, certification, financing, siting, construction, and the list goes on. Further, Karen is keenly aware of the seismic changes taking place in education that are being driven by technology and open source approaches. While many claim to be an expert in education, Karen legitimately is one.”


Eloy Ortiz Oakley

Chancellor, California Community Colleges

President Emeritus, Long Beach Community College District

“As a colleague, I have consistently turned to Karen for advice and wisdom regarding some of the most challenging higher education policy issues in California.”

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“As a colleague, I have consistently turned to Karen for advice and wisdom regarding some of the most challenging higher education policy issues in California. Her knowledge of the legislative and policymaking infrastructure is unmatched and makes her an extraordinary asset. Her tenacity and drive also make her a worthy opponent anyone or organization threatening the ability of the university to serve students.”


F. Owen Holmes Jr. ‘93

Retired Associate Vice President

University Advancement, Government and Community Relations

“Karen Y. Zamarripa is an integrated advocacy professional. A signature quality of Karen’s is strategic engagement of all stakeholders. Her results? Millions of students, many from underserved communities, were able to realize their dreams, in part, because of her leadership and expertise in integrated advocacy.”


Kimberly Rodriguez

Education Advisor

Senate Pro Tempore Kevin De Leon

California Legislature

“Karen Zamarripa’s expertise in higher education policy and budget issues is unparalleled. As staff, the ability to work with an advocate with her policy and fiscal depth is paramount to developing policies that benefit California students and their families.”


James M. Rosser

President Emeritus, California State University, Los Angeles

“She was a tremendous asset for CSU and will be the same for any entity that taps into her expertise and experience.”

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“Karen shares my core principles regarding equal opportunity and success for all students. As importantly, she knows how to develop an idea, create a movement, and get results. The Stand with the CSU campaign is just one example of her ability to educate, engage and empower communities to make change real. She was a tremendous asset for CSU and will be the same for any entity that taps into her expertise and experience.”


John D. Welty

President Emeritus, California State University, Fresno

“Ms. Zamarripa is a very effective advocate and problem solver who can be counted upon to get the job done.”


Assembly Member Reggie Jones-Sawyer

Chair, Legislative Black Caucus California

“Karen has always been someone I have relied on to keep me apprised of issues facing the California State University system and higher education as a whole. She has earned an immense measure of community and peer respect for her professionalism and leadership here in Sacramento.”


Das Williams

Santa Barbara Board of Supervisors

Former Assembly Member, California Legislature

Former Chair, Assembly Higher Education Committee

“Practical and savvy, but not jaded, there are few like her.”

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“…and confidence in Karen. She has character attributes that can be counted on. She is honest, caring and thoughtful. She is not afraid to say what she thinks, and will stand on a particular issue. Karen is a tenacious higher education advocate, but unlike many advocates for worthy causes, she entertains no self-delusion about her cause or what challenges it is faced with. Practical and savvy, but not jaded, there are few like her.”