What you might want to know about Karen…

I grew up

on a sheep farm in the Finger Lakes area of New York. Reading and exploring the countryside were my favorite activities. I was very active in 4-H (where I learned public speaking as well as how to cook & sew – lost arts!) I was also a braniac – I attended college classes during my Senior year before graduating 2nd in my high school class.

I graduated from college

from the State University of New York at Brockport with a BS in Computer Science and Math. I married my high school sweetheart at the beginning of my 2nd year, worked at an Italian restaurant on weekends, and finished in 3 years (so I wasn’t much of a party girl!)

My first post-college job

was developing an information system for the Monroe County Board of Cooperative Educational Services. I interviewed the Rochester area school transportation directors, analyzed their requirements and designed a system to support the cooperative transportation of handicapped students to centers which met their special needs. I was devastated to discover at the end of the grant period that use of my system was prevented by liability laws.

My second post-college job

included a lot of travel to universities in Denver, New Orleans, and beautiful downtown Troy, New York! For over 2 years, I customized and installed an Alumni Development System for Information Associates, Inc.

The travel got old and it became clear that there weren’t any promotional opportunities for me, so I looked for a company where I could “settle down” and grow.

I spent 18 years

at my third post-college company – IBM – in a variety of technical and project management positions. I started as a systems engineer in the Rochester NY branch office, helping small businesses utilize the power of the computer. I was soon transferred to Atlanta where I spent the next 17 years as a systems analyst in software development, an SE on the Coca Cola Account Team,  project manager on a multi-year software development project for a Home Health Care Company, and project assurance manager in IBM Services Division.

I decided to homeschool

our daughters when IBM made me a downsizing offer. They were both at a wonderful Montessori school and we decided homeschooling was the best route to continuing the child-centered education they were thriving with. I used an eclectic approach which included online classes, group classes, traditional textbooks, and experiential activities. They are both college graduates and amazing young women.

During the ten years I was homeschooling,

I was a coordinator with several secular homeschool groups and I taught an American Government class. I was a very involved volunteer and elected Treasurer of the recreational soccer club our daughters played with, and I made costumes for the community plays my youngest daughter was involved in. My older daughter and I also completed the U.S. government’s CERT Training Program which provides education for disaster preparedness and training in disaster response skills.

It was time for a new direction

when my youngest daughter decided to pursue her acting interest at a public school magnet program. It was pretty clear to me that corporate America just wasn’t the best fit for me so I decided to apply my technical and project management abilities on the internet with small businesses.

"Virtual MBA"

I completed the AssistU Virtual Assistance Program in 2010 and spent the next several years getting my “virtual MBA” (as my daughter calls it!) as a business owner who supported and advised solopreneurs in a variety of niches.  In addition to business OJT, I received business coaching from Monica Shah, Christine Kane, and Pamela Bruner.

After a while, a pattern emerged.

My work with clients would start out focused on a specific technical project and evolve to helping them see the bigger picture of their business and what processes and perspectives were needed. The clients I can help the most have been growing their business for a while – they aren’t “newbies.” (I explain this more here.)

I volunteer with AFS

an International Exchange Student organization, interviewing host families and students applying to go abroad and providing support to students who are staying here with host families. I spent the summer in Malaysia when I was 17 and I truly believe intercultural awareness is a path to world peace.

I am also becoming more active with the Atlanta WordPress community.

My professional memberships include:

    • National Association of Women Business Owners
    • Women’s Professional Development Network
    • Wordcamp Atlanta

I am also becoming more active with the Atlanta WordPress community.