Karen Leigh, CEO & Founder

Karen Leigh is the CEO and Founder of Sensational Kids. She is an award-winning Social Entrepreneur who is passionate about Social Enterprise and making a difference to the lives of children with additional needs. Inspired by her vision of a better future for children with additional needs based on her own experience of being a parent to children with additional needs, Karen has led Sensational Kids from foundation in 2007, directly impacting the lives of over 9,000+ children from all over Ireland.  Karen completed the Social Enterprise & Governance Programme at the DCU Ryan Academy and has a Diploma in Management and Employee Relations from the National College of Ireland. Karen is also a voluntary founding director of SERI (Social Enterprise, Republic of Ireland).


Under Karen’s leadership Sensational Kids has won several awards

  • Rethink Ireland; Growth Fund Awardee (2020-2022)
  • Ireland Funds Flagship Awardee (2018)
  • Social Innovation Fund Ireland; Social Enterprise Development Fund (2018)
  • The All Ireland Business All Stars Charity of The Year Award (2017)
  • Best Educational Support Charity – at Female CEO Excellence Awards (2017)
  • GSK Ireland Impact Award (2016)


Karen has also been the recipient of several awards:

  • Listed as one of Europe’s Top 100 Women in Social Enterprise published by Euclid Network (2021)
  • The Irish Women’s Awards, Services to Charity/Third Sector (2019);
  • Irish Tatler Social Entrepreneur of the Year (2018);
  • Winner Social Enterprise CEO of the Year, Republic of Ireland awarded by Female CEO Excellence Awards (2017);
  • Network Ireland Businesswoman of the Year Awards, Winner of National & Regional Social Enterprise Categories (2017);
  • Social Entrepreneurs Ireland, Impact Award (2014);
  • Kildare Rehab Person of The Year Award 2009.