Lorie Karnath, one of the women we are featuring in RenWomen: The Dawn of a New Renaissance Led by Exceptional Women is only the second woman to have held the post of president of the formidable Explorers Club in New York City. Members of this club have included Sir Edmund Hillary, Theodore Roosevelt, Neil Armstrong, Dian Fossey, and Chuck Yeager to just name a few.
For Lorie, exploring is much more than just climbing the mountain “because it’s there.” It is instead about exploring to make a difference. Each trip she takes has a purpose – whether it be to examine the effects of global changes in Antarctica, conducting field research on flora and fauna in Malaysia, building schools and bringing in supplies to remote regions of Burma or China, or doing paleontological digs in Alberta, Canada.
Five words guide Lorie’s philosophy: Explore, Discover, Share, Preserve, Sustain. Explorers in her view need to not only go out and explore, but make important discoveries that help advance science and broaden our knowledge base. They need to then share those discoveries with the community, with businesses and with governments. And ultimately they need to help us understand how to preserve and sustain the things that are essential to our lives. As she explained in an interview with National Geographic in 2011, "Exploration must be focused on learning and bringing back - and adding to our overall body of knowledge."
Beyond this unique and challenging career, Lorie Karnath is accomplished in many other fields. As a writer, she has penned a number of nonfiction books exploring science, creativity, and the arts (including her latest on architecture in Burma); as well as countless articles and blogs for publications like the Huffington Post. She is an active education advocate, and is involved in initiatives to foster education, especially science education. As she told me: "I strongly feel that you can't survive in this world without scientific knowledge… You need an understanding for your day-to-day life in terms of medical decisions, technical decisions and lifestyle decisions."
She has expanded this need to educate the world about science into helping to organize high level global symposia - often through a group she helped found called Molecular Frontiers Foundation. These symposia have featured leading scientists and Nobel laureates discussing cutting edge scientific topics like the brain, emerging technologies in bio-medicine, and alternative energy.
And interestingly, Lorie started out in the world of finance! She has an MBA degree and she worked as an international investment banker, during which she helped launch a number of start-up companies, particularly in bio-tech and new technologies. She explains, in typical RenWoman fashion, how that first career helped enormously in the career paths she pursued later: "My background in finance helped provide a very important tool to help companies, individuals, and ideas along the way."
Lorie Karnath, like the other RenWomen we are proud to feature in our book, is a great example of a woman to whom the word "limits" is meaningless, and whose thirst for adventure, discovery, and knowledge is boundless.
Find books by Lorie Karnath at http://www.amazon.com/Lorie-Karnath/e/B0045B3XCW. For information about Molecular Frontiers Foundation, go to: http://www.molecularfrontiers.org/symposia