About Me

Karen Pace

My name is Karen Pace and I am director of Pace 4 Change. I have also worked for many years for Michigan State University Extension where I currently focus on issues related to adolescent violence including bullying, bias, harassment and dating violence. Through Pace 4 Change, I am honored to work closely with a diverse team to provide education and consulting for organizations and communities committed to positive change and social justice.

As a white woman, I believe that a pathway to deep change is a lifelong process of learning and action focused on addressing white privilege, racial healing and racial equity – as well as the intersections and complexities of identities and forms of oppression across gender, class, disabilities, sexual orientation and other differences. My formal education as well as significant professional and personal development experiences, have taken me on a journey of intensive, in-depth learning around these issues. The most important learning experiences have been in authentic community with diverse groups of people and these have been powerful and life-changing for me.

My relationship with Dionardo Pizaña has been extremely significant to my growth and learning around these issues. As friends, colleagues, co-journeyers, co-creators and co-facilitators, Dionardo and I have extensive experience providing highly effective and powerful learning processes for groups across Michigan and across the U.S. Our work is grounded in important characteristics of authentic relationships across differences – and working closely with Dionardo has provided the support, challenge, love, healing and hope needed to sustain my passion and commitment to positive change and social justice. Read a piece that we co-created focused on building and sustaining authentic relationships across differences.

I am deeply grateful for all of my teachers and mentors, as well as all those who have come before me in this work. I stand humbly and powerfully on the shoulders of so many – a very diverse group of educators, scholars, activists, community members, writers, filmmakers – youth and adults – whose stories and work have helped inform my own process of learning. Ultimately, I see myself as an educational activist, and I'm proud of the strong skills I possess in leading, teaching and facilitating groups around these incredibly important issues. My work is centered in love, hope, healing, growth and change, and I am honored to work alongside friends and colleagues to address these issues within organizations and communities.

About Pace 4 Change

Ripples in Water

Our work is grounded in the belief that human diversity is an asset that strengthens groups and organizations – and that our differences provide opportunities for greater creativity, innovation, relevance, problem-solving and decision-making.

Along with these opportunities for growth and excellence come challenges as we learn to work together across race, gender, class, disabilities, sexual orientation and other differences. We all have assumptions and beliefs – some conscious and many unconscious – that may create barriers to our relationships and partnerships across differences. Pace 4 Change assists you in achieving your goals for creating more welcoming, inclusive and equitable environments for clients, customers, employees, students, children, families, agencies and others with whom you work and serve.

My colleagues and I have provided hundreds of impactful programs and processes for thousands of people across the United States. We hope to have the opportunity to work with you and your group as well!

Significance of 4

I am "Number 4" out of five sisters in my family which is one of the reasons I chose the name Pace 4 Change for my organization. My family is extremely important to me, and my parents and sisters have provided love, support and inspiration that continue to inform the way I walk in the world and the work that I do in communities. I also have an amazingly wise social-justice-minded daughter who inspires me – and she was born on the 4th day of the 4th month of the year. The natural environment is also important to me, and the four seasons of the year represent beauty, diversity, complexity, balance, and spirituality to me.

The number 4 also refers to the four levels of oppression and change: personal, interpersonal, institutional and cultural. The four levels provide an important framework for analyzing and assessing multiple forms of oppression. Learning about the four levels many years ago transformed my understanding of these complex issues.

Lastly, several Native friends, colleagues and elders have taught me about the importance of the four directions of the Native American medicine wheel – teachings which have enriched me personally and professionally.