Karen Rosa West, PhD


Karen Rosa West is a partner in Heidrick & Struggles’ Chicago office and head of psychology, product research, and design for Heidrick Digital Product Laboratories (HDLabs). She is a lead architect for the Heidrick Leadership Framework and the firm’s proprietary tool, Leadership Signature®.


Karen is an executive coach and assessor who 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 & life sciences, natural resources, and FMCG. She leads a team that develops tools and methods to support the creation of deeper leadership insights at the leader, team, and organizational levels.

Previously, Karen was a director and part of the senior leadership team of an international boutique business psychology consulting firm. 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 firm where she focused on 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, including land, water, open ocean survival, aeromedical, and pilot flight training.

A licensed psychologist, she is also a certified professional coach through the International Coach Federation.


Ohio University, Athens, PhD in Industrial and Organizational Psychology

Ohio University, Athens, MSc in Industrial and Organizational Psychology

Wright State University, Dayton, BSc in Psychology