Karen was first introduced to BOEC as a ski program volunteer and recalls sitting in the volunteer orientation and thinking “how impressive the staff and volunteers were and how great it would be to work full-time with such an awesome group.” That goal was realized when Karen joined the team as Finance Director in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic turned things upside down. This meant that her job transformed into a continually shifting role to provide financial stability and work through unusual circumstances. Her previous role in risk management at United Launch Alliance in Denver, which launches satellites for NASA’s space missions, had prepared her for both stressful and precarious situations. She explains, “This experience has helped to learn how to keep perspective when things seem chaotic at BOEC. I can comfort myself with “At least a rocket didn’t explode…”.
Karen also shared what she enjoys about her role with BOEC this way, “A lot of finance roles are insulated from the day-to-day business activities of the organization. However at BOEC there is a constant sharing of successes, challenges, stories, and “thank you’s” from program participants. I’m awed, humbled, and never in danger of losing sight of our BOEC mission, which makes it very gratifying to come into work each day. Were she to choose another job at the BOEC, she would be a raft guide. Her reasoning, “so I could introduce new groups to the awesome experience of floating through the wilderness and just experiencing everything nature has to share with us.”
Sonya Norris, BOEC Executive Director, considers Karen a critical member of the BOEC leadership team who not only brings her knowledge and expertise in business and finance to the organization, but also contributes to the bigger operational picture in a way that was at first unexpected but quickly became invaluable. “I don’t know what we would have done without Karen during the pandemic. Not only did she keep us focused on financial sustainability and ways to accomplish that, but she also contributed to those long discussions about programming, staffing, training, risk management and so much more. And then, at the end of a long day, Karen is the one who will always say – “let’s go for a ride!” which of course is the BEST way to end a stressful day”.