Why I Do What I Do

I love working with people on their careers. As a career-changer myself, I know how important it is to find satisfying, motivating work. I also know that staying motivated by our work requires constant change and growth. The career that suited me in my 20s no longer fit me in my 30s.

I found my way to career counseling in 1999, and in the intervening years have helped hundreds of clients identify and achieve their career goals. When I started this work, I focused on career exploration and job search. Over the years, I’ve retooled my practice to reflect the type of work that I found most motivating.

When I started doing career counseling, I focused on helping clients identify the right job or career, and on executing a job search. Once they landed the job, we both thought our work was done. But then clients would come back, seeking help managing their career. I realized that career management is a critical part of a successful career. Every career hits bumps in the road— difficult supervisors, reorganizations, layoffs, and gender or racial discrimination. Providing support through the growth periods of careers is some of the most satisfying work I do.

Helping clients figure out what work will suit them best continues to be at the heart of what I do, but I’ve expanded that work to focus on all types of career clarity. I’ve learned that periodically, you need to re-evaluate where you are and what you want next.

A number of my clients have realized through our work that they didn’t want a job, they wanted a business of their own — so I’ve had the privilege to support the creation of many new consulting and private practice businesses.

I honed my skills as an international trade negotiator in my first career and discovered that negotiation was also an important career skill. I’ve developed a specialty in workplace negotiations of all types. Not only do I help clients prepare for negotiations, I’m also an expert consultant on negotiation skills for my career development colleagues. I wrote Coaching Clients Through Career and Other Workplace Negotiations to help my fellow career counselors and coaches become comfortable with negotiations.

I also created, under the auspices of the Career Planning Academy, the Certified Salary Negotiation Specialist (CSNS) credential. There’s nothing I love more than to think through a negotiation with a client and help them develop their own negotiating skills.

After more than 20 years in the business, I’ve had a number of clients who are CEOs, executive directors, or on the senior leadership team, and many more who were headed there. I realized that developing an executive mindset is a lifelong effort, and that even young professionals can benefit from thinking strategically about their career growth.


Held by Karen


Licensed Professional
Counselor (LPC) in the
District of Columbia


Certified Career Counselor
(CCC), a designation of the
National Career Development
Association (NCDA)


National Certified Counselor
(NCC), a designation of the
National Board of Certified
Counselors (NBCC)

I also belong to many of the relevant national and local associations involved in career counseling, including the National Career Development Association (NCDA), the Maryland Career Development Association (MCDA), the American Counseling Association (ACA), and the National Employment Counselors Association (NECA).

The Savvy Career Counselor


The Savvy Career Counselor

Career counselors and coaches get a step-by-step tour through the tricky process of coaching clients on salary and other workplace negotiations. From ways to utilize leverage and avoid traps, to sealing the deal, this book will answer questions counselors and coaches face when guiding clients through salary negotiations.


Certified Salary Negotiation Specialist (CSNS)

For career coaches and counselors, college advisors and workforce development professionals. This 20 hour, multi-media course will teach you everything you need to help your clients negotiate salary offers, raises and more. In addition to attaining the Certified Salary Negotiation Specialist (CSNS) designation, you will also be issued a certificate with 20 continuing education hours from the Career Planning Academy.

  • One conversation with Karen sent me on a path I had never considered or even knew was possible in my industry.

  • Thank you for providing the guidance and encouragement to broaden my horizons. The world beyond my current professional circumstances now seems much more open and promising.

  • Karen was fantastic at helping me navigate my career evolution and progression. She helped me think about my career as a journey and broke down the steps both psychologically and logistically.

  • Working with Karen has helped me tremendously as I navigated through a difficult period with a previous supervisor, and helped me set the stage for future career success. Her advice and guidance helped position me to get noticed, and I was!

  • I love working with Karen because at the end of each session I feel re-energized and motivated in my job search, with a concrete plan of action. She always has new ideas/approaches, is positive and encouraging.