Karla Organist

Program Manager


M.S. in Community Development, Iowa State University. Coursework in Math, Statistics and Business, University of Minnesota. B.A. in Elementary Education, Luthor College.


Karla plans, designs and conducts interactive sessions for IDM community clients; delivers and manages IDM programs and technical services at the community level; advises community clients on specific economic development strategies; and makes presentations at economic development conferences and workshops.

Professional Accomplishments

Karla brings an extensive work history to her role at IDM.  Before joining IDM, Karla worked for Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission (UERPC), the Council of Governments representing a five-county area in Northeast Iowa.  There she served as the economic development coordinator for Fayette County and as the senior community and transportation planner for the entire service area.  Karla also worked for First Children’s Finance as a business consultant and financial trainer for childcare businesses, and she gained substantial experience in business planning, nonprofit management, grant writing and private sector engagement as the associate director for Fayette County Economic Development.  Karla brings additional entrepreneurial experience as a small business owner.  She owned and operated a successful coffee shop and café in New Mexico for five years, a xeriscaping business, and most recently was co-owner of a downtown retail business in West Union, IA.  Her employment history also includes mortgage banking and elementary school teaching.  

Latest News & Views