State Treasurer Fitzgerald announces Karen Austin, his Chief of Staff, was awarded the 2021 Chris Allen Memorial Award for Outstanding Advocacy in Public Finance from the National Association of State Treasurers (NAST). Austin was nominated for the award by Fitzgerald. “For over 30 years, Karen has been an advocate, leader and dedicated individual in not only my office, but also for advancing NAST priorities,” Fitzgerald said. “As NAST has grown over the years, Karen has been an active participant and a mentor many members have come to rely on - whether they are new to state treasury or have been in the arena for many years.”
The distinguished Chris Allen Memorial Award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated outstanding service advocating for and advancing NAST priorities over the prior year. As 2020 proved to be a difficult year, Austin adapted and adjusted quickly, while continuing to help her NAST colleagues. Austin has actively chaired and participated in numerous committees for NAST and other treasury organizations. Among many examples of her great accomplishments, Austin led the committee to create and write the 2021-2024 College Savings Plans Network Strategic Plan in the midst of a pandemic.
“It was truly an honor to receive this award,” Austin said. “State Treasurer Fitzgerald has set a great example as a leader and an advocate. The NAST organization has provided me opportunities to become a stronger Iowa treasury staff leader as well as to advocate on a national level for the people in Iowa impacted by our programs.”
As Chief of Staff for Fitzgerald, Austin provides oversight for all treasury operations and consumer programs. “I am proud to have Karen as a member of my staff and a leader in my office,” said Fitzgerald. “She is very deserving of this national recognition and it was an easy decision for me to nominate her.”
Austin earned her B.A. in sociology and political science from Simpson College, Certified Public Managers certification (CPM) from Drake University, Certificate of Public Treasury Management from Pepperdine Graziadio Business School and her MBA from the University of Iowa.