Co-Founder Women Survivors Alliance
Karen spent over 20 years as a healthcare administrator where she has focused exclusively on development and management of healthcare facilities. Most importantly, Karen is a survivor of two different types of cancer. The diagnosis made her understand from “both sides of the desk” the importance of proper treatment, resources and a positive mental attitude as both a worker in society, a patient and as a woman. She became a frequent speaker at many cancer events throughout the US and through those efforts saw the lack of resources available for specific issues related to cancer care. In the beginning, it was about children. In 2003, Karen founded “Billy’s Wish,” a nonprofit that helps children fight cancer through entertainment and educational programs. It provides age appropriate material to help children deal with the disease and what they will face through the colorful world of animation using DVD’s, CD’s and coloring books. The materials are now distributed free of charge to children with cancer and are available online and through hospitals in the United States. It was that route and her passion for cancer patients that took her in yet another direction.
In 2011, after five years of research and strategic planning and with the help of women survivors across the nation, Karen launched the National Women’s Survivors Convention and the Women Survivors Alliance, a 501c3. Karen now serves as Tennessee State Lead Ambassador for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. She also serves Survivorship Committee Chairperson for the Tennessee Cancer Coalition. In 2013, Karen was nominated for the Nashville NEXT Award sponsored by the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Entrepreneur Center.
Karen was also named 2011’s Health Care Hero by the Nashville Business Journal. She is also a member of the class 2011 of Leadership Middle Tennessee. She received the International Best of the Best Award by the Assisted Living Federation of America for her “On Modern Age” television show. Karen was the 2008 Nashville Business Journal Williamson County Impact Award winner; a 2009 Lifetime Television and L’Oreal Cosmetics “Women of Worth” nominee, and the recipient of the 2003 Small Business Council of America’s “Humanitarian of the Year” Award. In 2001, Georgia State Senate honored her with her own Resolution for her efforts with cancer advocacy and research.