Karla Raines

Karla Raines, Principal

Principal and CEO

Karla Raines is a strategic advisor to executives of social purpose organizations. Her reputation speaks to her ability to reveal an organization’s true values and distinction through empathetic listening. Karla brings an iterative design–thinking approach to strategy and planning, allowing her to develop original insights for clients.

She is sought-after for her ability to discern what is essential, articulate true market differentiation, and set a unique strategy that maximizes organizational capabilities while supporting the desired culture. Her approaches stretch effectively across sectors and industries. Karla embodies agility, vision, and warmth.

Karla understands that successful organizations communicate why they matter, not merely what they do. Her love for language and quest for meaning result in compelling statements of mission, vision, values, and strategy.

Karla advises boards of directors and leadership teams of high-growth, mature, and turnaround organizations in the creation of far-seeing and results-focused strategic plans. The strategic plan for the new College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences at the University of Denver illustrates the powerful results of her client partnerships.

Away from the office, Karla indulges her creativity through crafting something beautiful through art, interior design, or fashion.

Client Testimonials

She is very professional and has great “insight” into our business.  CCRP has partnered with Karla on a regular basis over the past 10 years to guide our strategic conversations and bring us to consensus decisions.  Karla has a keen ability to bring issues to light and have the group focus on appropriate discussions and plans of action. I am very pleased with the work and have great confidence in and respect for Karla.

—Patricia L. Peterson

President & CEO, Colorado Cancer Research Program


  • Quickly assessing issues and opportunities
  • Engaging all stakeholders in the process
  • Coaching executives and teams
  • Identifying the optimal suite of research and data to inform decision-making
  • Bringing creativity to process and plans
  • Building consensus for future strategies and plans
  • Creating bold and engaging strategic plans


People are often surprised to learn that Karla is an industrial engineer by trade (BS, Iowa State University). Her MBA (University of Texas) shines through. Karla stays abreast of the latest thinking in the field and designs custom frameworks, developed specifically for nonprofits facing strategy and business model challenges.

Community Involvement & Recognition

  • Co-Presenter, 2018 Americans for the Arts Annual Convention 
  • Co-Presenter, Colorado Creative Industries 2015 Summit “It takes a Community: Cultural Planning and the Art of Co-Creation”
  • Co-Presenter, Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation’s Fall Forum 2014 “Imagining 2020: Leadership Lesson’s from Denver’s First Cultural Plan in 25 Years”
  • Mentor, Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (YNPN) (2014)
  • Finalist, Outstanding Women in Business – Small Business Owner, Denver Business Journal (2012)
  • Finalist, Outstanding Women in Business – Consultant, Denver Business Journal (2010)
  • Advisory Board for the Center for Women’s Health Research at the University of Colorado, Corporate Committee Chair, 2011 Luncheon Chair (2009-current)
  • Steering Committee for the Center for Women and Entrepreneurship at The Women’s College of the University of Denver, Vice Chair (2009-current)
  • Leadership Advisory Council for the Colorado Nonprofit Association (2008-current)
  • Board of Directors for Curious Theatre Company (2008-2010)
  • Young Nonprofit Professionals Network, Advisory Board. (2008-2010)
  • Leadership Denver (2008)
  • Young Philanthropists Foundation Program Committee, Committee Chair (2008)
  • Taught workshops and given presentations to the Colorado Association of Funders, Rose Women’s Organization, Colorado Nonprofit Association, Colorado Business Committee for the Arts and Metro Volunteers.

Recent Radiance Blog Posts

Learn more

Learn more about Karla’s experience on LinkedIn.

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