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Karen Hartshorn Hilton


For the last 25 years, Karen Hartshorn Hilton has worked to make the world a better place through her work with government, non-profits and political organizations.  


Karen is currently a consultant for Growth for Good providing strategic planning and fundraising planning services. Elected in 2017, Karen currently serves as a Village Trustee serving on the governing body for South Orange Village.  Most recently, Karen organized training programs for progressive women seeking public office. As the founding Executive Director for Emerge New Jersey, she led the organization in developing the training program, recruiting potential candidates, managing the board of directors and fundraising. She managed the launch of Emerge Pennsylvania ( and Emerge Michigan ( and served as an advisor to Emerge’s national organization.


Karen’s work in government began in the Massachusetts State legislature, where she was responsible for fiscal and legislative issues relating to social services, children, and public health. She later assumed responsibility for fiscal issues related to special education within the Massachusetts’ Department of Administration and Finance.


She has been an active in South Orange throughout her career. She chaired the board of trustees of the South Orange Public Library for more than a decade, and still serves as the president of the library’s foundation. She has been a member of the Junior League for more than thirty years, and is a past president of the Junior League of the Oranges and Short Hills. She has been active with the South Orange and Maplewood public schools as well as a 14 year leader of two Girl Scout troops.


Karen worked with Women’s Way (, a non-profit focused on issues related to women and girls in greater Philadelphia, and Planned Parenthood in Philadelphia. She began her career as a ranger in Rock Mountain National Park.


Karen received her B.A. from William Smith College and her Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Massachusetts. Based in South Orange New Jersey, Karen and her husband are in the adventure of a lifetime in raising four children.

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