Meet Karen, Our February Member In The Spotlight

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Meet new Cape Fear CREW member, Karen Widmayer!

Karen comes to the CREW Cape Fear chapter after many years with CREW DC (where she is still a member). She brings vast knowledge, experience and passion to the Communications committee. Karen is the principal of KW Communications LLC and specializes in Public Relations and Branding. She has been married for 29 years to her husband Derek, and has two children; Sam, 25 (with his wife, Becky), who is in graduate school at NC State exploring evolutionary genetics, and her daughter, Lexi, 23 (with her husband Mike), who is a first-grade teacher in Montgomery County, MD.

In her own words, Karen says, “I am a classic Type A that thrives on my client work. My goal these days – after having just moved to Southport last summer from Maryland – is to combine my busy client work with a little more time with my horse, some beach time and quality time with friends and family. My family is my passion – just incredibly proud of my kids and amazed at their drive, compassion, maturity and goodness. Both our kids got engaged 10 days apart in 2016 and we had two weddings in 10 months! I’ve been riding since I was 13 and currently enjoy my horse, Mirage, who is boarded at a brand-new stable off Midway Road. As has happened before, my new barn friends are becoming my closest network of friends and the barn is truly my happy place! We have a dog, Pogo, and 2 cats – Dory and Piper – all rescues. We are excited to be starting on our next home – just a short walk from our current one. I’m a real estate geek so this is fun for me and my husband!”

As far as her career goes, Karen says she has had the best of both worlds. When asked how she got into her field, Karen says, “In 1983, I responded to an ad in the paper, fresh out of grad school, for a job as an assistant at a company in DC. I was the assistant to the president’s assistant AND the backup receptionist. Lower than low, lol! The company was a small, privately owned developer about to become the biggest name in real estate in DC. I grew with the company and was able to move to a new communications department they formed where I learned the ropes from a national level professional.” She had a long career as the in-house head of Corporate Communications for a company that started as the premier local developer in Washington, DC (The Oliver Carr Company) and then became a publicly-traded national office REIT, CarrAmerica – and a wonderful 12-year career as an independent consultant. She was privileged to spend more than two decades developing one of the top brands in commercial real estate in the country and working with the finest people around during the CarrAmerica years. She was one of three women on the Executive Committee of that $3 billion company when it was sold to Blackstone Group at the top of the market in 2006. Karen enjoyed tremendous support from the leaders of the company and joined CREW DC during her career there. After the sale of CarrAmerica, she started her own firm, KW Communications, to be the small PR and brand consulting firm she had always wished she could find. She says she feels so lucky to have a number of long-term retainer clients and to be treated as a part of the team by all of them. Her current clients include a private equity firm, FCP, who is very active in the Carolinas these days, as well as a small DC developer and a corporate art consultant. She also currently provides consulting services to CREW DC and serves on their Communications Committee.

Karen has been a member of CREW for more than 15 years and says the relationships she’s made and friendships that started there have been remarkable. Karen says, “The Communications Committee gave me an opportunity to learn and apply leadership and eventually led me to help the organization, which was growing very rapidly, upgrade and improve their visibility in a very busy and competitive market. I have had numerous clients come to me because of CREW connections. I am so excited to be a part of Cape Fear CREW as well!”