Charlotte’s Safe Alliance names 1st female CEO

Karen Parker, who has directed Safe Alliance’s development and communications efforts for several years, has been named CEO of the Charlotte-based advocacy group for victims of domestic violence.

Parker will be the first woman in the CEO role with Safe Alliance in the organization’s 105-year history.

She replaces Phil Kline, who has headed Safe Alliance since 2011 but is retiring at the end of this year. Under Kline’s leadership, Safe Alliance built and opened an 80-bed shelter for domestic violence victims and raised more than $9 million for construction efforts.

Parker has worked with a number of nonprofit and government organizations in North Carolina, Georgia and Texas, and she has been with Safe Alliance for 12 years. She was appointed in 2009 by then-Gov. Bev Perdue to chair the N.C. Domestic Violence Commission.

Parker is a published author and has made nearly 400 presentations and media appearances.

Kline, who came to Safe Alliance in 2012 after serving as president and CEO of the Mint Museum of Art, directed the effort that led to the January 2013 opening of the Clyde & Ethel Dickson Domestic Violence Shelter. He also led the organization through significant restructuring designed to focus on serving victims of abuse.

Safe Alliance serves more than 20,000 people annually in Mecklenburg, Cabarrus, Union and southern Iredell counties.