Immediate Past District Governor Karen Thomas
Immediate Past District Governor Karen Thomas has a long association with the Rotary organisation having commenced as a member of the Rotaract Club of Murwillumbah Central. 
Karen served as District Governor in 2022-2023, the same year as the first female Rotary International President, Jennifer E. Jones.
Karen was born and raised initially on a beef farm south of Murwillumbah. She undertook her 3yr general nursing training at Lismore Base Hospital graduating as a Registered Nurse, returned to Murwillumbah, married and had four precious children – Benjamin now 35, Thomas now 32 and twin girls Charlotte and Rachelle now aged 26. She also now has two grand-daughters—Olivia and Holly.
Whilst continuing nursing she furthered her studies part time earning a Bachelor of Health Science, post graduate qualifications in Accident and Emergency Care, Critical Care and Cardiac Care. During this time she relocated to the Southern Gold Coast with the children, continuing her career working in Intensive Care and Cardiac Care for many years.
Further post graduate studies in Diabetes Management and Treatment led to her founding a Diabetes Management Company and continuing clinical practice for approx 20 years.
Tragically her beloved partner Max lost his battle with lymphoma in 2015.
Following a period of remote diabetes consulting in Mount Isa and Cloncurry she now resides in Kingscliff with her ‘fifth baby’ – a shih tzu named Kiki.
Karen’s Rotary journey began aged 20, as a charter member of the first Rotaract Club of Murwillumbah, sponsored by the RC of Murwillumbah Central. She is a Past President of RC of Burleigh Heads and the RC of Mudgeeraba, during the time she and Max resided on the Western Gold Coast.
With changing life circumstances, she returned to reside at Burleigh Heads and remains a member of the RC of Burleigh Heads. Her Rotary journey has included participating in a RAWCS project in remote Fiji undertaking diabetes screening and education of villagers, Assistant Governor (3yrs) and AG/Mentor to new clubs (1 year).
Karen feels a genuine commitment to and passion for the organisation of Rotary. She offered inspiration and support to district clubs, encouraging caring of all members, increasing membership retention, supporting diversity equity and inclusion and conflict management strategies and encouraging women in Rotary. She encouraged awareness and involvement in the Rotary focus area of disease prevention and treatment, particularly in the area of chronic disease.