Karen McGraw

Combine performance detective, entrepreneur, and researcher together, and you get Dr. Karen McGraw. Karen is a results-oriented business and performance consultant and the founder/owner of Silver Bear Group (www.silverbeargroup.com). She is a trusted adviser to leaders on solutions to improve the value and outcomes of their most important asset—their people. Her personal mission is to improve organizational effectiveness and eliminate barriers to peak performance, enabling individuals, teams and organizations to deliver better results. Clients trust her to select, design and/or implement tailored solutions that address critical issues, engage stakeholders in project success, and deliver long-term results. Karen's career as a business consultant and researcher spans industries including healthcare, financial and insurance, technology, pharmaceutical, manufacturing, logistics, mining, professional services, and oil/gas/energy, as well as non-profits and government. 

Karen began her business career ensuring the cognitive effectiveness of educational software tools and managing knowledge engineering in Texas Instrument’s AI Lab. Her groundbreaking research in knowledge acquisition techniques resulted in publication of her first book, Knowledge Acquisition: Principles and Guidelines (Prentice-Hall). Heeding her entrepreneurial spirit, Karen founded and led Cognitive Technologies, a consulting firm specializing in improving how people think, learn and work, until its successful acquisition. She has gained deep business and customer relationship insights through Director-level positions at RWD Technologies, Saba, and Loral. Concurrently, she has been an adjunct faculty member at the University of Texas, Arlington (where she conducted research in requirements for AI systems) and the University of Maryland. A warm, engaging teacher and a natural researcher, Karen has contributed to the success of many performance consultants, professional change agents and knowledge engineers through her contributions to the fields of human performance improvement (HPI), change management, and requirements engineering.

Karen holds a doctorate and a master’s degree from Texas Tech University in the fields of Curriculum and Instruction and Educational Psychology, where she specialized in the impact of technology on cognition and learning. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston, where she studied psychology and education. She is credentialed in the use of personality assessment tools such as the Golden Personality Profiler and the Myers-Briggs. Karen is a co-author of the Performance DNA (an HPI methodology), the Scenario-based Engineering Process, and User-Centered Requirements: The Scenario-Based Engineering Process (LEA), and is the author of EASE, a practical organizational change management methodology. She also designed, developed and facilitates ATD’s Improving Human Performance and Master Performance Consultant programs. She has published 6 books and over 50 articles in topics ranging from knowledge engineering and human performance analysis, to change management, process improvement, and collaboration technologies.

Karen lives in Austin TX with her husband and rescued pets, and volunteers on behalf of animals, the environment, and her church. She is a citizen of Chickasaw Nation and a member of ATD and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation.

Topics (8)