Karen turned her attention to veterans when several members of the Michigan Congressional Delegation asked her to create a public outreach vehicle that would communicate their support for the troops who had been recently deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Many servicemen and their families mistakenly believed that their legislators did not support them due to those legislators’ repeated, criticism of both the wars and the decision to put Americans in harm’s way.
The resulting program, called “Hugs for the Holidays,” raised nearly $20,000 in six days to help the families of deployed service men enjoy a festive Christmas.
Due to the relationships she built overseeing “Hugs for the Holidays” she was charged with investigating inequities in the pilot training program. As part of this effort she created an advisory board which consisted of: The Tuskegee Airmen, The Black Pilots Association and Bessie Coleman Association.
Karen started her own public relations firm, The Write Idea in Detroit, Michigan, upon her departure from the U.S. House of Representatives. However, most of her potential clients were drawn to her ability to interact effectively with the federal government. So, while The Write Idea was created to be a public relations firm, it functioned as a government consulting firm.
This situation eventually gave Karen the opportunity to combine her two biggest interests when a company that trained veterans for jobs in broadband asked her to help them obtain a federal contract to train Michigan veterans for jobs outside the state. In an effort to provide services to veterans and telecoms in Michigan, Karen created a training program to prepare veterans for jobs in their own state.
Karen holds a B.A. in Journalism from Wayne State University and is pursuing a M.A. in Public Relations & Organizational Communications. She also has a strong desire to create a model that will allow government contractors and telecoms to work together to train the workforce of the future.