MEET KAREN

I’m currently an Executive Creative Director/Managing Partner at beauty@gotham, a New York advertising agency. I love my job and the people I work with, and feel blessed to have found a way to channel my creativity, passion for writing, and desire to mentor others into a career that teaches me new things every day.

In my spare time, I write fiction and volunteer my creative and copywriting services to progressive political campaigns.

What all three pursuits have in common is the skill I’ve worked hardest to develop over my years in the industry: storytelling.  

Fiction—well, that’s obvious. When you’re reading something for fun and not for work, or to learn how to work your new coffeemaker, you’re going to stop reading after the first sentence unless the story pulls you in. It doesn’t have to be fancy or literary or trying to save the world. It just has to make you want to know what happens next. 

Advertising content, even at its shortest and most snackable, needs story to cut through the clutter and make people care. Not a long rambling story, mind you, but a baked-in narrative that makes you see a lipstick as a form of obsession, say, or a light fixture as a means of enchantment.

In politics, it’s not enough to articulate a policy. It’s not even enough to live by it. Today you need to wrap it in a story that makes people care enough to actually show up at the polls and vote for you.   

What I do for candidates is what I do for brands and for the characters who begrudgingly come to life in my fiction. I squint hard at them until they reveal their essential truths. And then I tell their story.