Karen was visiting a friend in Washington D.C. and was invited to attend a few meetings at the Capital. She was given a list of the meetings in session and was told that they were board meetings so be sure to sit in one of the chairs along the wall. Karen decided to attend a Professional Women in Building meeting figuring she had something in common with them, but never expecting what would unfold in the meeting. When she arrived she did as she was told and sat along the wall. To her surprise, right before the meeting began someone on the board motioned for her to come and sit in a chair at the table and participate in the meeting. It was at that moment that Karen knew that she had found a place where she truly belonged and had “A Seat At The Table.” Fast-forward 7 years and Karen is the 2021 Chair for Professional Women In Building and it’s now her mission to make sure that everyone has a “Seat At The Table.”
Karen’s mission for 2021 is to ensure that all of the women that are part of our industry know that we share a common bond. If you are a builder, a tradesperson, affiliate—whatever your role, you are part of the important work that we do as an industry. The organization is made up of women and men who support the important work of ensuring that American families have safe, affordable homes to raise their families and create memories. It’s meaningful work.
There are 4 guiding principles for this year.
1. Inclusion—Everyone Has A Seat At The Table
2. Mentoring—As an industry we are challenged to mentor the next generation of leaders.
3. Leadership—It’s not what we can do on our own, but what we can do together.
4. Diversity—When we empower everyone, the industry benefits and American families benefit.
She was instrumental in chartering and is the past Chair of the Greater Lansing Professional Women in Building council. She is currently Chair of the NAHB PWB Executive Board as well as 2019 Chair of NAHB 55+ Council. Karen was the first woman (along with her husband) to be inducted into the Michigan Construction Hall of Fame, they were named the #1 Builder in North America in Customer Service by NRS, National Volunteer of the Year by St. Jude, Building Partner of the Year by Homes For Our Troops, and given The Ballantine Award for Extraordinary Service. Karen was named the 2017 Advisory Board Member of the Year by NAHB as a result of her service with Michigan State University. Karen and her husband were named 2017 Greater Lansing Business of the year and Karen was named the 2017 NAHB Professional Woman of the Year.