Karen Birch


Email: karen[at]the3rdi.co.uk
Web: www.the3rdi.co.uk
Phone: 07974 450690

Karen is an entrepreneur with a wealth of experience in creating and supporting co-operative enterprises. The founder and managing director of the3rdi magazine, a member owned co-operative since the start of 2011, Karen is also managing director of Cortex Media Limited, specialising in supporting and promoting ethical business practices. Karen knows how to bring businesses together to foster collaboration and generate growth and change across both public and private sectors.

Karen is on the advisory board for Co-operative Development Scotland and is one of the women cited by Co-operative Women’s Challenge as most influential, within the
co-operative movement.

Through her work at, and beyond, the3rdimagazine, Karen is also actively involved in many groups seeking to promote equality including, but not exclusively:

  • initiatives to get more women into the boardroom of corporations and onto public bodies
  • projects to strengthen women’s voices in and into government
  • programmes to inspire young women and to create positive role models.

She is also involved in community collaborative initiatives such as the An Tearman Foundation and Reforesting Scotland.

Karen is on the boards of Glasgow Women’s Aid and Women’s Library and has been appointed, as one of just 50 women in the UK, as an ambassador to promote enterprise and entrepreneurship. She is also communications chair at Association of Scottish Business Women and Scottish Changing the Chemistry.

Her business career has spanned a multitude of high level positions, including:

  • Director General of the Scottish Biomedical Association, a combined Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer role
  • Marketing and design business owner, serving biotechnology companies
  • Consultant to Scottish Enterprise local agencies, advising on technology transfer opportunities and advisor to Scottish Parliament on strategic e-commerce
  • Various senior positions and entrepreneurial business start-ups, including an
    e-commerce business, which became Scotland’s largest internet retailer.

Karen is a regular speaker at conferences, business schools, workshops, and events on co-operative and community enterprise, leadership, women into business and ethical business practices.

As well as her current role at the3rdi Magazine, Karen is a gallery artist, a teacher of yoga and meditation, and a volunteer befriender at a community for adults with learning difficulties.

Karen’s experience in business covers all aspects aspects from start up to succession planning with specific expertise in:

  • Business start ups
  • Collaborative, consortia and community based co-operatives
  • Business growth and development
  • Ethical business practice
  • Governance

Karen has a degree in Zoology from Sheffield University and MBA from North Staffordshire University.

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