Career change marries interests, outdoors

Community Portrait
By: Michael Kirby
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Karen Killebrew went through a sort of midlife career change and came out of it a satisfied and content soul. Disenchanted with her career in the travel industry and how the Sept. 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center affected how and where people travel, Killebrew was ready for a change. Moving to the Auburn area in 1995, she still had ties to the Bay Area and the travel industry until, in 2001, Killebrew went in search of mentors who might be able to help her access her skills. “I was trying to figure out just what life after 30 years in the travel business would be and I started searching around to solidify what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, and I knew what I didn’t want to do,” Killebrew said. She met with a life coach who helped her discover what she might consider meaningful work in a new career utilizing her interests and skills. In the travel industry, Killebrew always loved writing, putting together business newsletters, developing Web sites and facilitating ideas. Her search led her to public relations, marketing and media consulting for nonprofit organizations that she felt were important, deserving of attention and personally interesting to her. Always mindful of the outdoors, interested in nature and photography, gifts she feels were bestowed on her by her mother, Killebrew cultivated work centered on three organizations. Killebrew is a part-time staff program specialist with PlacerArts, and through her company, Nature Media Network, Killebrew works with California Watchable Wildlife and Placer Grown. She oversees the Web sites, outreach and public relations for each of these community organizations. PlacerArts promotes the expansion of arts and humanities throughout Placer County. California Watchable Wildlife is a statewide organization working to set up viewing areas for the public to see wildlife habitats throughout California. Placer Grown is a nonprofit group consisting of local farmers and community members concerned with local organic farming and overcoming the many obstacles of maintaining a small farm. Killebrew is board president for 2010 and works with a committee of 11 members. “The nature nonprofit organizations are the theme that ties it all together for me,” Killebrew said. “I’m a hiker, I love being outdoors. Wherever I go I always want to get out and walk. I’ve always been like this and living in the foothills is just beautiful, every day,” Killebrew said. Killebrew lives in Applegate with her husband of 35 years, Steve, and is excited to be in a new career that lets her work with and for several area organizations that serve our community so well and make living in the foothills so special.