Karen was born in Barnsley in 1964 and grew up in Rugby with her parents and sister, Sarah. Karen went to Rugby High School for Girls and then onto East Warwickshire College. Her mum was a nurse and her dad a local head teacher. She went to work for Ford Motor Company at the age of 18 as a trainee accountant living in Brentwood in Essex.
She married Richard, a geologist, in 1984 and they moved to Wrexham. They have two children, Lizzie and Chris.
She is company secretary of RKL Geological Services Ltd and also a trainer for the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, for which she has worked with many countries, including Bosnia, Slovakia, Serbia, Mozambique, Moldova, Kosovo and Montenegro.
Richard is a consultant geologist. Richard, like Karen, spends four nights a week on average in London, with their family home in Redditch. They enjoy entertaining their friends and family there at the weekends.
Karen has a keen interest in education and is Chair of the Redditch West School Trust, having previously been the Chair of Governors at Vaynor First School. She is very much hands-on and likes to meet with pupils and teachers wherever possible.
Her interests include travelling, knitting, cooking and music.