Staff Spotlight: Karen Christensen, Administrative Assistant
Karen was born and raised in Indianapolis and went to Perry Meridian High School (the same school as Carley, our Development Manager). She received an undergraduate degree and a master’s degree from Indiana University’s business school with emphasis on marketing, advertising and new product development, along with a minor in organizational structure. Karen says she has always enjoyed psychology and understanding what motivates people, which led her to study the strategy behind driving consumer behaviors during her college career.
During college, she was a member of the Delta Zeta sorority and president of her house. Leading a house of about 80-90 young women was her first leadership role.
After graduating, Karen worked for a subsidiary of Dow Brands, focusing on marketing research and new product development. Ziploc bags, bathroom cleaners and Saran wrap were just a few projects she helped with.
Karen opened and managed her own consulting firm for several years before beginning a career with Eli Lilly and Company. She supported the company’s global marketing research efforts for products in the development pipeline, from new insulin products to mental health drugs and beyond, for 10 years.
By that time, Karen was the mom of two children, Cara and Andy, and took a break from her career to focus on raising her two feisty teenagers. Now her kids are ages 21 and 18 and both attend Purdue University. When Andy left home to begin his freshman year in fall 2016, Karen decided to look for part-time work.
She knew she didn’t want a high-stress, corporate environment for herself anymore and set her sights on administrative work for a local nonprofit. That’s how she found her way to the Komen Central Indiana team in September 2016 as the Administrative Assistant!
The Komen job was the first and only place she applied. Karen has two sisters, both of whom have been diagnosed with breast cancer, and so she says she immediately felt a personal connection to the job posting. Her older sister is a 15-year survivor, and her younger sister was diagnosed seven years ago and is now living with metastatic disease, meaning her cancer can be treated but will never be cured.
Karen works three days a week and is often the first face you see when you walk into our office! She battles our office machines when they are out of line (which is often), and says she enjoys being able to serve others in her role with the organization.
Karen is also passionate about giving back in her free time, from taking mission trips to Haiti and Peru, to volunteering with her church and helping with other community-oriented projects when a need arises.
Karen is married and lives with her husband Bill and their rescue dog, Nera, in the Meridian Kessler neighborhood. She enjoys being active and her hobbies include tennis, running, reading, taking pictures, scrapbooking, traveling and spending time with family.
She started 2017 with a bang by taking back-to-back trips to Colorado and then a two-week trip to Myanmar (Burma), which she says was a bucket list item for her! She says she enjoyed exploring and taking in the country’s traditional culture during her trip.
If you could stay one age forever, which would you choose? 30s because you are more confident as an adult for the first time, but still young and energetic.
What was your first concert? Queen at the Indiana Convention Center
If you were a city, which city would you choose to be and why? San Francisco because of the diversity and natural beauty surrounding it.
Why do you like living in Central Indiana? I grew up here and am familiar with everything. I also have access to everything I want here.
What’s a good book you read recently? Non-fiction: Evicted, Fiction: Homegoing