KAREN DOSANJH – BLAZING BRAVE NEW PATHS FOR GENERATIONS TO FOLLOW

For the past three decades, Karen Dosanjh has built a reputation for blazing brave new paths in Marketing, Public Relations & Communications in the global technology industry. She has overcome gender and cultural barriers to reach new heights in the corporate world as the Vice-President of Marketing at OSI Digital, a digital transformation leader. She leads the company’s global marketing strategy and is the first woman to earn that esteemed title at OSI. Karen is a force to be reckoned with in Canada’s tech marketing sector and was instrumental in helping launch three successful tech start-ups here in BC including Bit Stew Systems that exited for $200 million upon acquisition by GE in 2016.

BY J. M. LEE

For the past three decades, Karen Dosanjh has built a reputation for blazing brave new paths in Marketing, Public Relations & Communications in the global technology industry. She has overcome gender and cultural barriers to reach new heights in the corporate world as the Vice-President of Marketing at OSI Digital, a digital transformation leader. She leads the company’s global marketing strategy and is the first woman to earn that esteemed title at OSI. Karen is a force to be reckoned with in Canada’s tech marketing sector and was instrumental in helping launch three successful tech start-ups here in BC including Bit Stew Systems that exited for $200 million upon acquisition by GE in 2016.

Karen has also earned her flowers receiving many awards and accolades for both her professional and community service. In 2019, she was honoured with the Shakti Award for “Professional Achievement.” In 2023, she was named a finalist for the Surrey Board of Trade’s Women in Business Awards in the “Corporate Leader” category. In 2023, she was selected as a BC Business Magazine “Women of the Year” in the “Entrepreneurial Leader” category and was one of the first woman of Punjabi heritage to be featured on the magazine’s cover.

Also in 2023, she was named the Darpan Magazine Extraordinary Achievement Award winner for her work as a “Heritage Defender” for preserving                    South Asian history. In 2024, she was declared a finalist for the YMCA Woman of Distinction award in the “Business & Professions” category.

If you meet Karen, you will know that she doesn’t do the work for the recognition, and you will be immediately struck by her humility and kind nature. Karen credits her parents, the Late Gurdev Singh Johal, and her mother, Harbans Kaur Johal, who is now 92, for their guidance, pure love, and sense of duty to help others.

“I’m a daughter of honest and hardworking immigrants who eventually became farm owners in BC. They worked tirelessly for decades to build a life for three generations of our family in Canada. I cannot help but bring their generosity of spirit with me to every single room that I enter.”

She also credits her in-laws, Sarjeet Singh and Gurdev Kaur Dosanjh, for lovingly supporting her and inspiring the meaningful work she has done to preserve the history of the first South Asian settler families in Canada. Through this deep commitment to preserving South Asian heritage and experiences, Karen volunteered her time to author a book and co-produce a documentary film that gives voice to the early settler migration experiences of South Asians in Canada. In May 2020, she wrote Untold Stories: The South Asian Pioneer Experience in BC, which illuminates the experience of the first wave of Sikh settlers from India to Canada in the early 1900s and is now part of the BC curriculum in Surrey schools.

In 2022, Karen partnered with SikhLens to produce a film, Hidden Histories: The Sikh Migration Path to Canada, released in Canada, the US, India, and the UK. In February 2023, the Canadian government invited Karen to premiere the Hidden Histories film at the SikhLens Film Festival in India where she was the keynote speaker. She also traveled to Sri Harmandir Sahib, the Golden Temple, to donate copies of her book to the world-renowned library. Karen consistently shares this critical history by speaking with youth who benefit from significant cultural content in their classrooms in Surrey, BC schools.

Karen is also an incredible mentor and gives her time to speak to young women starting out in business to share her deep knowledge and career experiences. In 2018, she established the first-ever GE Women’s Network in BC to help more women enter technology careers. Karen also regularly serves as a guest speaker and mentor at SFU’s Beedie School of Business, Segal Graduate School of Business, and UBC’s Sauder School of Business.

Karen believes that South Asian women still face major cultural, gender, and societal barriers. She says, “South Asian women are rising to the top of every industry despite the many obstacles that we still face. Watching our community’s vibrant, powerful, and commanding women rising is like witnessing diamonds forming. It’s beautiful thing to both see and be a part of.”

On a personal note, in 2025, Karen will celebrate 25 years of happy marriage with Dr. Darsh Dosanjh. She advises young women to choose their partners wisely and look for someone who will wholeheartedly support their ambitions and dreams. She says, “I’m so grateful that Darsh inspires me to be the best version of myself in every aspect of my life.”

Aside from her career and community contributions, Karen’s utmost priority is lovingly raising her boys with her husband, Darsh. She is mother to two young men Navin, 22 and Dayvn, 19, who are now pursuing educations and careers in Health Sciences. Karen encourages working mothers to stay in the workforce while raising their children even if it means adapting to a part-time work schedule in those formative years. She says, “I know first-hand that it’s not easy for Moms to be there for everything, all while managing demanding jobs and careers. But it’s important to ‘stay in the game’ as it will get easier as time goes on. Prioritize your children but don’t lose sight of yourself along the way. Your children will appreciate you for it and your future self will too.”