2024 Woman of Influence: Karen Starns

Karen Starns

As Chief Executive Officer of Houseful, Karen Starns led the company’s integration with Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), following their 2023 acquisition of OJO Labs’ Canadian operations. Starns is now running a startup inside a $130 billion-plus financial services company, accelerating efforts to help more Canadians realize their homeownership goals. Leaning on more than 25 years of experience, including nearly four years as CMO of leading proptech startup OJO Labs, Starns led impressive business growth in the first year as an RBC company, rebranding from OJO Canada to Houseful, and building the organization structure and Houseful culture.

An award-winning brand and business leader, Starns has spent her 25-plus year career in some of the world’s most impressive tech companies — including Amazon and Microsoft. Her superpower of scaling people and businesses led her to OJO Labs in 2019 and her track record of accelerating industry and consumer impact in her role as CMO made her the ideal choice to take on the CEO role at Houseful.

Through the acquisition and first year as an RBC company, she has led the business strategy, built an outstanding executive team, developed the organizational structure and established an operating model that enables Houseful to align deeply with RBC’s mortgage business, test and learn efficiently and deliver high value experiences to consumers, Realtors and mortgage specialists. Excellence in business and operational leadership has positioned Starns to shepherd the organization through tremendous change and onto new heights as a Canadian homeownership platform.

Recently, equipped with Houseful consumer insights, Starns shared her perspective with housing journalists across Canada on the challenges and tradeoffs that first-time homebuyers face. She is often invited to speak on business and brand with leaders across industries. Starns is a lecturer in the McCombs School of Business Master of Science in Marketing program, and past chair of the Master of Science in Marketing Advisory Council. She is a Fast Company executive board member, and board member of the Miracle Foundation, an international nonprofit that aims to empower vulnerable children to reach their full potential. Starns is an active mentor of women, leaders in transition and up-and-coming social entrepreneurs.


Karen Starns


Chief Executive Officer

Company Name:


3d rendering of a row of luxury townhouses along a street

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