So, who am I anyway?

Karen at age 4

So, who am I anyway?

I’m the kid who picketed for fairness at age four!

The picture tells the story…my older sister and brother got horses but my sister Kim and I did not.  So, we took the only logical action my father would understand – we went on strike for fairness among siblings!

My name is Karen Banks and my entire life I have never been afraid to take bold actions. They may not have always been “right,” but there is something both beautiful and empowering about taking action and making a leap of faith. At some point, we all reach that point where we ask ourselves, “What do I really, really want in life?”

I am the person who can help you figure out what you really, really want professionally – which I believe will lead to success and happiness in every aspect of your life.  How will you do that you ask – well, look at my website and that will tell you how but the real question is why can I do this?

Simple, I am amazingly innovative. My life has been anything but typical and I’ve experienced everything from working my way through college to owning my own highly successful IT recruiting and professional coaching firm for 16 years.  In between those two things, I had some of the craziest jobs you can imagine! They all led me to believe I could and should own my own business.  A BIG step, even for me!  I have always found a way to make things happen in life regardless of the obstacles.  My friends say, “Karen Banks always lands on her feet!” To what do I attribute this ability you ask -necessity and fabulously hard working parents.  They instilled in me the importance of basic, raw perseverance.  (I follow the advice of Coach Jimmy Valvano – “never, ever, ever give up!”)

My parents took the “boldest action” anyone could take – they left their parents, siblings, everything they owned, and boarded a ship in London to move to Canada in 1956 with $150.00 in their pocket. My father was determined his children would grow up in America, even if it meant getting there via Canada. He, like many immigrants, had dreams of a better way of life in the land of opportunity. Dad began his career in England as a tailor and worked in the garment industry in Canada. A few years later his dream was fulfilled when he took a position running a clothing factory in New Hampshire.  My parents did everything they could to make extra money. At night after working a long hard day, he and my mother designed, sewed and beaded wedding dresses.

From the time I could walk, I was known by my siblings as my father’s “baby leech”.  I was enamored with everything my father did.  He was so respected in the garment industry because he could step in and perform anyone’s job; from cutting the patterns, replacing the needle and bobbin on the sewing machine to constructing the garments – he was indispensable!  In the factory, when there was a production issue he was able to quickly resolve it.  His hands-on perspective gave him a unique understanding of how to make production run more efficiently earning him the respect of management and hourly workers alike.

From my father’s example I learned that no matter what my duties were, in order to be the best, it was critical to understand all aspects of the business, not just my responsibilities. In every position I have ever held from the time I was 15, I have followed his lead.  Throughout my career, I have had incredible managers and mentors. They appreciated (or at least tolerated) my desire to be like a sponge. I was relentless in my attempt to tap into their expertise and soaked up every piece of information possible. Through endless hours of work, my every move was fueled by my conviction to be the best.

After 16 years in the recruiting and coaching business, I made another somewhat intimidating but bold decision – to complete the CPCC program and earn the official title of Certified Professional Career Coach. After enrolling and paying for the course I confess, I seriously panicked!!  How could I possibly find the time to study, finish the course, work, sleep, eat and still run my firm? Well, I took it one page and a course at a time. Each step of the way the validation I received inspired me. Today I feel more informed of the most current trends and best practices in job search and career management. Yes, my goal was always connecting the “right candidate” with the “right job” BUT “the true reward”- “the true passion” is about bringing out the maximum potential in people – coaching them to be better than even they dreamed possible!

My life motto is “Never, ever allow challenges, hurdles, naysayers, or failures to stop you from pursuing your dream.”  I am thankful to my parents for providing me with such a great start in life! In America we are fortunate to have almost endless opportunities available and it’s OK if we don’t always know how to “make it happen”.  We all have our gifts and talents and I believe I can help you unlock the door that leads to the path you’ve always wanted to travel.

Karen M. Banks
Cue the music (Eagles)… “So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains and we never even know we have the key.”  (Eagles – Already Gone)