Chad Karsten hails from Rogers City, Michigan, a small town of about 2,000 people at the tip of the Lower Peninsula. He found his way to the Lansing area thanks to his wife Brooklyn, who was attending Michigan State University, which is where Chad would end up attending law school. While at MSU, Chad worked for Fahey Schultz Burzych Rhodes for two years. After he graduated, he was offered a full-time job there and has been in the area ever since. Specializing in labor and employment law, Chad found fulfillment in advocating for fair treatment in the workplace.
It was through Chad’s mentor at work, Lizzie Mills, that he first learned about Highfields – an organization he would soon become deeply involved with. “Lizzie is a former board member at Highfields, and in 2021 she asked me if I was interested in joining the board,” said Chad, reflecting on the process. “Lizzie is a fantastic person to work with, and she generally steers me toward good opportunities. I sat down with her and Highfields’ CEO Brian Philson, and after hearing Brian’s passion, it was an easy decision.”
Chad started on the Highfields board in April of 2021, and is now the current Board Chair-Elect. “In early 2023, Brian called and asked if I would be interested in being Chair-Elect,” said Chad. “I was a little caught off guard but also extremely humbled, I obviously accepted and was excited for the opportunity.” Chad is on the Personnel and Finance Committee as well as the Executive Committee at Highfields.
Chad believes the passion throughout the organization is what sets Highfields apart from the rest. “It’s rare to see everyone in an organization be so bought in to the mission,” said Chad. With Brian’s leadership and the staff’s dedication, Chad envisioned the organization flourishing and expanding its impact. “I’m seeing prosperous signs from Brian and the staff,” said Chad.
Chad is excited for the opportunity to become Board Chair and looks forward to working alongside like-minded individuals to create positive change at Highfields.