Jewell names Critical Thinker of the Year


Karen Daniel has been selected by William Jewell College for its inaugural Critical Thinker of the Year Award. Daniel was honored at Jewell’s Celebration of Achievement event where she shared her personal and professional journey with moderator Roshann Parris and 500 guests.

The award is designed to recognize a distinguished Kansas Citian who works for the betterment of the community and demonstrates the College’s attributes of a critical thinker: analytical, passionate, creative, problem solver, humanitarian, truth seeking and innovative.

Daniel retired in 2018 as executive director, CFO and president of the Global Finance and Technology Solutions division for Black and Veatch. She holds a master’s degree in accounting and started her career at KPMG, holding several senior leadership positions and becoming a partner.

Daniel is devoted to helping Kansas City thrive, having served on the boards for Commerce Bancshares, Greater Kansas City Community Foundation and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City; and currently serving on the boards for Snap-on Incorporated, Livongo Health and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. a past president of the Kansas City Parks and Recreation Board, she led the $80 million restoration of the Liberty Memorial. She believes that every person deserves a quality, affordable education and for this reason, has served on several boards and established a Legacy Fund to create a cultural center, fund scholarships for Black students, and support diversity and inclusion initiatives at Northwest Missouri State University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in accounting.

She was the first African-American woman to serve as chair of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and the first African-American woman to become an owner of a major league baseball team, the Kansas City Royals. 

In 2015, she was named vice chair for President Obama’s Advisory Board on Doing Business in Africa, and she received a William Yates Medallion for Distinguished Service from William Jewell College in 2018.