Karen Lane Christilles has been named the executive director of 712 Innovations. The announcement is made by Karl Klein, director of the Washburn Small Business Development Center, and chair of the 712 Innovations board of directors. Christilles is known for her leadership most recently as the executive director for the Topeka Performing Arts Center, executive director for the Kansas Arts Foundation, and as associate director and marketing director at the Lied Center in Lawrence. She assumes her position today at the co-work and makerspace organization.
Klein cited Christilles' experience as an entrepreneur and business owner and in managing nonprofit organizations, her extensive background in the arts as well as her experience in fund raising and working with community partners.
“We were looking for someone who understands the unique needs of entrepreneurs who are seeking the innovation inspired by a co-work environment and the community of people who want to gather to create, invent and learn,” Klein said. “We believe Karen is just the person to help us achieve this goal.”
"Karen has a passion for helping people achieve their aspirations and we are excited for her to become part of the revitalized downtown community,” added Klein.
"I am honored that the Board of Directors has selected me to lead the 712 Innovations team as Executive Director. 712 Innovations is at the cutting edge of how we work today. It meets the needs of anyone interested in living their business life on their terms by providing shared workspace, community, tools and services for entrepreneurs, freelancers, startups and small businesses. Downtown Topeka is an exciting area of the city to work in because of the architecture, beauty and history of the buildings that surround you and the strength and warmth of the people who welcome you. I am excited to engage with the staff, members, mentors and partners who are dedicated to 712 Innovations’ vision to enhance the vitality of our community and economy."
712 Innovations is a creative space where the members can access tools, office space and expertise. Located at 712 Kansas Avenue, it offers a place for everyone to turn dreams into reality, getting help making the next big product or just testing ideas. Members are encouraged to pursue creative ideas, prototypes, and products – resulting in market-ready business opportunities. In addition to the space’s economic and workforce development benefits, it provides the Greater Topeka Region’s most creative, enterprising and scientific minds a place to nurture a culture of innovating, educating, and collaborating. Visit 712innovations.com to learn more or to become a member.