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Karen McDaniel, Ph.D. headshot
Karen McDaniel, Ph.D.
Senior Advisor
O: +1.870.340.2886
M: +1.870.273.4443


Karen McDaniel is a Senior Advisor in ZRG’s Higher Education Practice. Karen has over 20 years of experience in higher education with a strong background in organizational behavior, human resource management, leadership development, behavioral analysis, and mathematics.

Previous Experience

Prior to joining ZRG, Karen held many academic positions within Arkansas State University, where she served as Associate Professor of Management, Director of Graduate Programs, Department Chair, Faculty Athletics Representative, and Chair of Intercollegiate Athletics Committee. Additionally, she served as Chair of the Sun Belt Conference Faculty Athletics Representatives (FAR) and served on the NCAA Faculty Athletics Representative Association Executive Committee. During her time at Arkansas State University, she was awarded the College of Business External Service award three times, as well as the College of Business Excellence in Graduate Teaching award. Furthermore, her graduate Leadership Development course was awarded Signature Course Distinction by the University. Karen additionally served in Assistant Professor of Management positions at both University of Tennessee at Martin and Radford University. Karen has numerous academic publications in top-tier management journals as well as multiple papers she has presented at academic conferences.

During her career, Karen has served on countless academic and athletic search committees, including searches for Chancellor, Athletics Director, Athletics Compliance Director, Eligibility Specialist, Director of Hospitality, Career Services, and numerous faculty positions. In addition, Karen serves on the Executive Committee and Board of Directors as well as the Emerging Leaders Advisory Council for the Jonesboro Regional Chamber of Commerce.


  • PhD, Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management, University of Memphis.
  • MBA, Management, Union University.
  • BSBA, Management, Mathematics, Data Processing, Accounting, Secondary Education, Union University.


  • Certified Practitioner of the MBTI© Step I and Step II Instruments, The Myers Briggs Foundation.
  • Crisis Leadership in Higher Education, Harvard Kennedy School Executive Education.
  • Leadership for the 21st Century: Authentic Leadership, Harvard Kennedy School Executive Education.
  • Intercultural Etiquette and Protocol Trainer, Protocol School of Washington.
  • Outclass the Competition – Executive Presence in a Global Environment, Protocol School of Washington.
  • Corporate Etiquette and International Protocol Consultant, Protocol School of Washington.

Leadership Development

  • Delta Leadership Institute Executive Academy, Delta Regional Authority.
  • Leadership Arkansas, Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce/Associated Industries of Arkansas.
  • Leadership Jonesboro, Jonesboro Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Practice Groups