Founder Bios


Karen E. Gross, Esq. Founder + CEO

Native to Connecticut and raised in El Paso, Texas, Karen earned her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin and her law degree from the University of Houston Law Center. Licensed in Texas, Karen spent a few years practicing criminal defense in Austin.  Prior to that she had the honor of serving as community director for the Austin Anti-Defamation League, a non-profit committed in mission to securing justice and fair treatment for all.  She oversaw the strategic growth and development of the office including the launch and implementation of the Austin/Travis County Hate Crimes Taskforce.  This community-minded initiative has the stated mission of reducing hate and bias throughout central Texas.

While taking time to travel and reconnect with family Karen developed the vision for Citizen Discourse.  One year in and she's as committed and focused as ever to build a movement towards a kinder and more civil society online and off.

Karen LOVES breakfast tacos, her dog Einstein, making big things happen, yoga, delicious (spicy) food and exploring places.  

Before law school Karen served as a policy director for an Austin City Council member.  This position helped instill a faith in democracy and good government. 

Karen has been recognized as a Texas Super Lawyer in 2016, 2017 and 2018.


Christopher P. Obal

As an entrepreneur, Christopher teamed up with five partners to start an online ticketing and merchandise business (TurnUp Group) that provided revenue streams for touring bands; he simultaneously built and maintained his own consulting practice dedicated to assisting small businesses and startups with their accounting and HR functions. In his media endeavors, he co-created a feature film (The Squealer), served as a freelance filmmaker in various capacities on numerous indie film projects while also working for KLRU, Austin’s PBS affiliate, as a camera operator and production assistant on shows such as Austin City Limits and Texas Monthly Talks. Although currently inactive, he passed the CPA exam in 2000 and previously toiled unhappily as an auditor, financial analyst, and senior accountant before declaring his independence from corporate America. His passions include media analysis/literacy, sustainable business practices, workers’ rights, and travel in an old VW van. Christopher holds undergraduate degrees in both Business (ORU) and Television/Film (UT Austin) and is currently earning a Master’s from CU Boulder in Media and Public Engagement where he and his cohort are creating a student-run media production department within the University.