Karen Johnson
Leadership for the Government Executive

Student Success Story

As chief deputy director for the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS), Karen Johnson is one of the highest-ranking health care officials in California.

She enrolled in Sacramento State’s Leadership for the Government Executive (LGE) program to challenge herself and advance as a leader to make a difference. “I have a strong work ethic and I’m a results-oriented person so I needed the tools that could help me lead change successfully in a large organization,” she says.

Karen is tasked with managing and directing the department’s daily operations and policy formation and implementation. Her leadership stretches across the department, enabling her to carve out a lasting legacy for the department’s future leaders.

LGE provided her with the skills she needed. “Critical leadership skills, now and in the future, require good communication, effective people management, empathy and emotional intelligence,” says Karen. “The LGE program focused me and provided the tools that were necessary for me to be effective.”

Karen graduated from the very first LGE cohort and continues to sponsor rising DHCS managers and executives. “I truly believe that I have developed my leadership skills based upon my participation in this course, my observation of others and my personal experiences,” she notes. “I have been able to shape and help create a department-wide vision, build partnerships, gain commitment and support, challenge and confront issues, and recognize and manage the impact of organizational change.”