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Karen Ballard

Global Travel & Tourism Team Leader, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, USA

In 2014 Karen joined the U.S. Department of Commerce as a Foreign Commercial Officer. Her overseas posts included Sydney, Australia and Buenos Aires, Argentina. She returned to Idaho in 2021 to join the local U.S. trade office where she focused on helping Idaho companies export. Recently she was invited to lead the Global Team for Travel & Tourism for the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service, working closely with the National Travel and Tourism Office. Both the Commercial Service and NTTO are part of the International Trade Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Before joining the International Trade Administration as a foreign service officer, Karen was a client of the Commercial Service. Karen worked for the Idaho Department of Commerce for twenty years, first as an International Tourism Trade Specialist and then as the Administrator of the Idaho Tourism and Film office. While promoting and marketing Idaho, her travels included Governor’s trade missions to Mexico, Brazil, China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan all supported by U.S. Embassies. She also worked closely with the Commercial Service’s overseas offices to develop markets for Idaho tourism in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Austria, Scandinavia, New Zealand and Australia.

Karen received her degree in Legal Studies from UC Berkeley before relocating to Idaho. She began her career with Elkhorn Resort in Sun Valley, which is where she met her future husband Brian when he asked to join her round of golf.