Each decade of our lives has its own lessons, and Karen Caprino-Burg was nice enough to share hers with us here at Linking Indy Women.
In a career and life that has spanned three states and work for large corporations and her own self-owned businesses, Karen’s wealth of experiences have helped to shape the vision of her life.
From a young age, Karen always saw herself with the ability to do anything she put her mind to. This attitude was especially helpful to Karen as a young single mom who found herself living in a state without a support system. After a chance meeting, she began work as a facilities manager, a career for which she had no training, or degree. “Say you can do it and then figure it out later,” says Karen.
Despite her lack of background in the area, she quickly rose through the ranks of the company – but she was craving the support system of family. She decided to take a chance and relocate to be closer to loved ones, but in doing so took a step back professionally – but she didn’t let that stop her. Career wasn’t the only thing on her mind at the time – she also knew she needed to continue to enrich herself personally, participating in local theater productions (a passion since she was a small girl) and getting involved in women’s-based organizations.
Though she enjoyed her facilities work, her 30s brought a period of reflection on how she had fallen into her career, not picked it for herself. “Sometimes you have to hit the reset button – take a step back and see what else you want and what else you want to do,” says Karen. She began to explore what she really wanted to do with her life, and after a life-altering medical diagnosis for her mother, decided to change the direction of her life – finish her undergraduate degree and go to medical school. But life had other plans – despite her desire to go to medical school, she missed out on the opportunity, by one open spot, in her program. Not getting deterred, she applied to a graduate school wellness program and got in – which meant going back to college with a young daughter at home and a decade of age on her fellow students. Life also gave her another twist at this time – she met her husband and went from being a single mom of one to a blended family with five children.
On the heel of changes in her personal life, Karen and her husband decided to pursue their own business, a line of restaurants – which produced a fair amount of debt for the family. As this accumulated, not only her bank account, but her happiness, was impacted, as she was attending graduate school full time and running the restaurant business. “When you aren’t doing what you love, if effects ALL. Don’t stop doing what makes you happy.” What made Karen happy was helping people with their wellness journeys – so that is where she turned for part-time work to help pay down the family’s debt.
While enjoying her wellness work, Karen wanted to use her experiences to help other women, especially those in or looking to start a business. As she was seeking opportunities to promote her own small, wellness-based business, she found that vehicles for promotion were expensive and not plentiful – and she wasn’t the only one seeking them out. This led her to launch her own line of magazines, including Indy Metro Woman and Indy Kids Directory to help fill the void.
Karen also launched We Are Changing Lives during this time, to help both women AND men who were looking to change their wellness journeys. But as with life, another twist was waiting in the wings. Karen and her husband had invested in property right before the economic crash of 2008. After working to overcome major debt for the second time in her life, Karen says “no matter what, there is a way out. I recommend always having multiple streams of income.”
Continuing to work with her successful business, Karen now shares her top life lessons with fellow women entrepreneurs and her grandchildren. Some of her best advice?
- Live with an attitude of gratitude
- Always listen to your heart
- Don’t compare yourself to others – this is your journey
- Don’t give up – people will tell you no, but so what!
- Really love those you love, all out
- Don’t get bogged down by what you are SUPPOSED to do
- Walk through open doors, every time
Thanks for sharing your inspiring story with us Karen!
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