Karen is a ‘San Antonio Girl’, through and through. Aside from a couple of short stints in New Braunfels and Seguin, she’s lived in San Antonio her entire life. She shares her home in Baja King William with her daughter, Megan, and enjoys spending time with her mother, two brothers and sister, all of whom live in San Antonio.
While attending college in San Marcos, Karen met a white water outfitter who eventually became her boss, and she began a career as a professional oarsman — both on white water rafts and kayaks. That career lasted beyond college. She rode the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon in a 13 foot boat, and also practiced her oarsman trade on rivers throughout the United States and in Mexico. While no longer an oarsman by trade, she occasionally enjoys rides on rivers throughout Texas. In addition to manning the oars, she served as a river cook on most of her expeditions… catching fish, building fires, and preparing meals. She’ll be picking up the oars again this weekend — on calm waters — to compete in the Ford Canoe Challenge. She’ll be piloting the Mud Queen canoe.
Since her days as an oarsman, Karen has worked at a number of jobs. She ran her own business — a 24-hour answering service for local businesses — for several years. She worked for the North Chamber of Commerce and then for 15 years for the SA Greater Chamber of Commerce. And during that time she worked a second job as a bartender and waitress at Waldo’s.
Today Karen works for SA Scene — the largest locally owned, locally grown city magazine in San Antonio — as the Director of Sales. She also works part time for Gallery Vetro on Houston Street and for La Villita as its “invite the tourists to come over” girl.
Karen has always kept busy with charity, spiritual and civic work. She chaired the Make a Wish Foundation’s San Antonio Gala for two years. She has been a member of the Paseo del Rio Association for 15 years. In 2005 she was the Association’s “Mud Queen” (she raised the most money — of a number of competitors — to support the Association). She is very involved with the Blessed Sacrament Academy and was on the committee that started the Sticky Wickets annual Fiesta fund-raiser, which helps families and youth to become self-sufficient. She is very active in the two churches she attends — the Trinity Baptist Church and the First Baptist Church.
Currently, Karen serves food every Friday at the 4th Street Café, operated by the First Baptist Church. Everyone who works in the front of the restaurant is a volunteer, and all their tips go to Haven for Hope. Karen reports that last year they turned in $92,000! The café is located at 207 4th Street and is open from 11am to 2pm every weekday.
Next week Karen will start as a volunteer with Elder Care (a Christian Senior Services program), providing companionship to senior citizens.
Karen has a number of interests and talents. First and foremost, she is a “foodie” and a cook. She loves to have dinner parties and has at least two a month (she hopes at some point to have one a week). She collects cookbooks and “anything/everything kitchen”. She recently started writing her own cookbook and she will also illustrate it — which touches on two other talents… she is an artist and a writer. Karen is also a dancer and performed with Urban 15 for two years.
Karen loves sailing, reading and movies. She loves dogs — and plans to have a poodle someday. His name will be “Mr. Fabulous” and he will probably be a red-head from a poodle rescue organization. Karen loves being around people. For a short time she worked out of her home, but didn’t enjoy that because she loves and needs to be around people.
Karen sums up her purpose in life as “faith, family, friends and philanthropy”. She stops in at the Lavaca & Friends Happy Hour when she can, and you’ll often find her out and about at various San Antonio events and establishments. Say hello the next time you see her, and stop by the 4th Street Café on a Friday for lunch!