Karen Rosa West, PhD


Office Location: Chicago

Phone: +1-312-496-1892

Karen Rosa West is a partner in Heidrick & Struggles’ Chicago office and head of psychology, product research & design for Heidrick Product Laboratories (HLabs). She is a lead architect for the Infinity Framework and the firm’s proprietary tool, Leadership Signature®. She also develops other tools to support the creation of deeper leadership insights at the leader, team, and organizational levels. Karen is an executive coach and assessor who also advises boards, CEOs and HR leadership on areas of talent management, succession planning, and leadership development. She works globally, has lived internationally, and has a deep concentration in insurance, healthcare and life sciences, natural resources, and FMCG, although she has worked in a wide variety of sectors.

Prior to joining Heidrick & Struggles, Karen was a director and part of the senior leadership team of an international boutique business psychology consulting firm. She specialized in executive assessment and coaching while creating long-term and customized talent pipeline solutions for clients in the financial, FMCG, oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, and insurance businesses. During her tenure, she led three different offices, two stateside, Chicago and Houston, and one in Mumbai, India. She also worked for another international business psychology consulting firm where she gained experience in the manufacturing, retail, mining, utilities, hospitality, and non-profit sectors, with a focus in LATAM.

Her early career was with the United States Navy where she served as a lieutenant commander aerospace psychologist. In this role, she specialized in effective teamwork and resource management of aircrew and ground support. She earned her wings as a naval aviator through the Navy flight surgeon designation program that included land, water, and open ocean survival training, aeromedical training, and pilot flight training.


Karen was awarded her PhD and MSc in industrial/organizational psychology from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio and a BSc in psychology from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. A licensed psychologist, she is also a professional certified coach through the International Coach Federation.