Karen Clopton

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Commissioner

An award-winning trailblazer, Karen Valentia Clopton brings deep knowledge, demonstrated expertise, and non-partisan insight into the political and regulatory arenas. She has served in top leadership, board, and executive positions in both governmental and non-governmental organizations across many regulated industries and discreetly assists both private and public companies navigate domestic and global compliance, governance, multi-cultural, human resource utilization, and regulatory/legislative changes. She is currently General Counsel and Vice President of Access and Inclusion for Incendio

An award-winning trailblazer, Karen Valentia Clopton brings deep knowledge, demonstrated expertise, and non-partisan insight into the political and regulatory arenas. She has served in top leadership, board, and executive positions in both governmental and non-governmental organizations across many regulated industries and discreetly assists both private and public companies navigate domestic and global compliance, governance, multi-cultural, human resource utilization, and regulatory/legislative changes. She is currently General Counsel and Vice President of Access and Inclusion for Incendio International. A nationally recognized civil rights advocate, she is currently a San Francisco Human Rights Commissioner.

She has had an illustrious career of many historic “firsts” and bi-partisan political appointments across three decades and several diverse administrations. She was the first African American California Public Utilities Commission Chief Administrative Law Judge and served for nine years. An experienced general counsel, she was the first African American woman to serve as: General Counsel for the CPUC; General Counsel, a gubernatorial appointee, at the California Department of Corporations; and Chief of Operations and Corporate Counsel for the San Francisco State University Foundation, Inc. Commissioner Clopton was the first African American elected President of the League of Women Voters of San Francisco. She also served as the National Legislative Chair for Jack and Jill of America, Inc. She was the first African American woman appointed to the San Francisco Civil Service Commission in its then 100-year history; first by Mayor Frank Jordan in 1993 and then re-appointed by Mayor Willie L. Brown in 1999, where she successfully streamlined the merit system for over 25,000 city and county employees. She was serving an unprecedented fourth term as President of the Commission when the Port Commission recruited her in 2000 to become the Port of San Francisco’s first Chief of Operations, managing a 45-million dollar budget, including overseeing legislative affairs, ensuring Port security, and serving on the citywide Joint Security Task Force convened after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Commissioner Clopton continues to utilize her expertise in safety, security, and disaster relief management and prevention on the Board of the American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter, where she serves as the Chair of the Access, Equity, and Inclusion Initiative.

Commissioner Clopton is a nationally recognized leader, speaker, and author in corporate, legal, and judicial ethics, corporate governance, elimination of bias, and human resource risk management. She honed her expertise as a leader of the State Bar of California: Commission on the Revision of the Rules of Professional Conduct; as Chair of its Council on Access and Fairness; and Task Force on Admissions Regulation Reform Implementation. An expert in human resource management law from her tenure at the National Labor Relations Board Division of Advice and Regional offices and decades in private practice, she serves on the Editorial Board of the California Labor and Employment Law Review and chaired the State Bar’s Labor and Employment Law Section’s Executive Committee.

An accomplished author and lecturer, Commissioner Clopton graduated cum laude in Political Science and Hispanic Studies from Vassar College; studied in the Vassar Wesleyan Program in Madrid, Spain and is fluent in Spanish; earned her Juris Doctor from Antioch University School of Law; and won the prestigious and highly competitive Maguire Fellowship for postgraduate study in international and comparative labor management relations with Professor Lord Wedderburn at the London School of Economics, England, and the ILO in Geneva, Switzerland. The American Bar Association awarded her the 2017 Robert B. Yegge Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Field of Judicial Administration and the 2010 Mary C. Lawton Award for Outstanding Government Service. The National Association of the Administrative Law Judiciary elected her to its Board of Governors in 2017. Commissioner Clopton has received many awards throughout her career, including the 2013 Silver SPUR Lifetime Achievement Award from the nation’s pre-eminent urban planning and research organization, SPUR, and was recognized for this honor by Congress, the California State Senate and Assembly, and San Francisco's Mayor and Board of Supervisors for championing integrity, transparency, and public access in government.

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25 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 800
San Francisco, CA 94102