About Dr. Karen Wade

Professional Biography

Dr. Karen Wade is an organizational psychologist and registered nurse with over 40 years of experience in roles spanning direct patient care, program design and outcomes evaluation, project management, and leadership development/talent management. The first 13 years of her career she was a practicing registered nurse followed by 20+ years in other professional fields. However, following the death by suicide of her son, Andrew, in 2011, Dr. Wade re-directed her career toward understanding and strengthening mental health systems of care. The first step was reinstating her nursing credentials. She studied for and re-took took the nursing licensing exam, and got her first ‘foot back in the door’ nursing jobs. Between 2013 and 2023 she worked as a travel nurse in places where the seriously mentally ill find themselves: homeless, incarcerated, or hospitalized. She is now certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center in Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing. For a number of years she and her family sponsored The Andrew Wade Friendship Foundation with the mission of “supporting young adult wellbeing” and suicide prevention efforts. 

Between 2004 and 2011 Dr. Wade was an organizational/leadership development consultant working with organizations, teams, and individuals to build sustainable cultures of leadership excellence. She was on the staff of RHR International, a global firm of management psychologists specializing in executive development. Her client projects included Bank of America, AutoTrader.com, The Veteran’s Health Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention where she coached high potential senior leaders preparing for expanded responsibilities. She trained international managers with Schering-Plough, a pharma company challenged with closing plants and laying off employees. She advised the hiring committees of the Grocery Manufacturers’ Association and The Nature Conservancy regarding their choice of CEO and Chief Conservation Officer, respectively. She also consulted for several years with the home furnishings industry to update their sales/marketing processes to more directly appeal to the woman consumer. 

Prior to 2004 Dr. Wade spent over a decade creating and/or evaluating new programs and managing research projects domestically and internationally for health and human services agencies. Major accomplishments include: project-managing a U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) study introducing a maternal-infant health innovation into a system of clinics in Ecuador; gender equity specialist to a USAID evaluation team assessing the effectiveness of a micro-enterprise lending bank in the Dominican Republic; leading the formation of ChildStrength, a child abuse prevention/treatment research center affiliated with Children’s Bureau of Southern California She was lead author on the winning proposal awarded to Claremont Graduate University to evaluate the California Wellness Foundation’s statewide Work and Health Initiative (at the time the largest research award to the university). Dr. Wade has also been adjunct faculty at The University of Redlands and UCLA Extension in programs that upgrade the knowledge and skills of health professionals.

Most recently, Dr. Wade endeavored to integrate her background in organizational psychology, positive psychology, and nursing/healthcare in producing two books: Career Clarity for Nurses: Navigating Nursing in Challenging Times (2020, Morgan James Publishing) and Clinician Retention Strategies: The Healthcare Executive’s Guide to Leading through the Storm and Keeping Your Vital Staff (2021, Difference Press). Her 8-module online program: Leading for Wellbeing: Helping Healthcare Leaders Experience, Plan and Implement a Workplace Wellbeing Initiative, combines concepts from both books (2024).

Karen’s home base is Ventura County, California. She travels extensively and also enjoys spending time with her grandchildren and exploring the ecosystems of the central California coast, especially the Channel Islands.

Specialized Credentials

Ph.D. Psychology/Organizational Behavior (specializations in cross-cultural psychology and program evaluation) from Claremont Graduate University; 2000

M.A., Psychology, California State University, San Bernardino, CA; 1986

B.S. Health Science, University of Redlands, Redlands, CA; 1983

A.A. Nursing/RN Program, Pasadena City College, Pasadena, CA

RN-BC Registered Nurse – National Board Certification in Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing

  • 10 years working with people with many different types of mental health challenges and/or traumatic experiences
  • Developer, Young Adult Suicide Loss Support Group, The Andrew Wade Friendship Foundation

HeartMath Certified Practitioner: Clinical Management of Stress, Anxiety, and Self-Regulation

Positive Psychology and Leadership Development

  • 5-Course Specialization in Positive Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, Coursera Program
  • Licensed Content Provider of masterclasses in positive psychology topics from PositivePsychology.com, The Netherlands.
  • Licensed Consultant, Hogan (Leadership) Assessment Systems. Tulsa, OK
  • Licensed Provider, Developing Personal Resilience, Resilience Alliance, Atlanta, GA
  • Former Trainer, Leadership in Times of Change at RHR International
  • Former Trainer Building Resilient Teams with Resilience Alliance

Click here to download Dr. Wades complete curriculum vitae. 

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Karen Wade’s credentials include a doctorate in Psychology, with an emphasis in Organizational Development, and she is licensed in the state of California as a registered nurse. She possesses a national certification in Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing from the American Nurses’ Association Credentialing Center.  She is not a licensed physician, clinical psychologist, or psychotherapist. The information provided in this website, and through her advisement services is intended for informational, educational and inspirational purposes intended to inform, educate, inspire and encourage personal and professional growth. The information on this website, and the services offered by Dr. Wade, are not a substitute for medical, psychiatric, or psychotherapeutic consultation, diagnosis, and treatment from licensed professionals in those domains. The user has sole responsibility to consult with those professionals to maintain their physical and emotional health as needed.

Copyright © 2024 Dr. Karen Wade. All rights reserved.