Hiya, I'm Kara.
Executive Summary version:
I'm an unconventionally resourceful, former bean-counting, question-asking machine, critical thinker, and strategic problem-solver who’s been turning around stressful, chaotic situations for individuals and organizations for over 20 years. It's how I typically feel most creatively in flow.
What I’m up to now:
After a decade of supporting frazzled, Type-A women at the intersection of functional health & lifestyle redesign, I launched Le vital corps Salon podcast in 2016. As salonnière, I host successful working women – from artists to change agents to astronauts - and ask them how they navigate BS and sidestep burnout. This gets me invited to host all kinds of conversations at conferences and events.
Additionally, I created the 33K Task List Project. It’s my attempt to collect and transform 33,000 handwritten task lists from women into art and explore how we juggle obligation and desire. Take a peek here.
It may seem like I have a lot of energy now. It wasn’t always that way.
I grew up in a small New England town where the diversity was largely French Catholic or Irish Catholic. (Boring.) I did my homework. I played sports. I followed the rules (ok, mostly followed the rules). As a 1st-gen college student, I worked really hard to get the "right" job as Certified Public Accountant. After interning, I rolled into my senior year with a job with one of the 3 most prestigious firms on the planet. Eventually, it led me to the New York office. Wasn't I fancy?
Turns out, the "right" job was so wrong for me. I was externally successful, but internally bankrupt. At points, I was working 100-hour weeks. My health was eroding from all the take-out, boozy client dinners, stress overload, and lack of sleep. My energy and creativity were sapped. My weight exploded. I cried in hotel rooms as I missed family & friends' birthdays or milestones because I needed to be a "team player." Let's not even talk about dating. For what? A small card from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that said I could count dollars and inventory.
What did I do? At first, I self-medicated. It was a mind-numbing, gut-scrambling mix of emotional eating, partying, and oversleeping (when I actually could sleep). Surely, this caught up to me. By my mid-20s, I was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome and handed a fistful of prescriptions. Take until you don't need them. It went way beyond just having a pissed-off digestive system. My job and my lifestyle were rotting my guts out.
What did I do next? With prescription in hand, I left my doctor's office. For one city block, I cried. The next, I got mad. For the last city block, I thought, "Giving my condition a name doesn't change the fact that I've literally shit my suit pants in public as a stone-cold sober, working professional woman. Thanks, double-Ivy League Doc, but I'll take it from here." Then, I hopped on the subway. As I slid into a seat, I took stock of everything that I had learned and all of the skills that I had acquired. All of the analysis and process re-engineering training. All of the client service training. All of the time management & accountability training. All of the sports training. All the books that I had read and geeked-out over. All of it. Plus, liberal dose of intuition.
Turns out, I was great at cleaning up messes. Whether it be a high-profile, bankrupt company, an early-stage startup, an ex-boyfriend, or well, me. I have a knack for coming into a painful, chaotic situation, quickly assessing what’s really going on, and identifying what changes will turn things around. So, I became the Chief Consultant & Advocate for myself.
One by one, I layered in changes and made some experiments. Exercise. Better eating habits. Figuring out why I'd binge on saltines or marshmallow fluff standing at my kitchen counter. Sleeping more. Stressing less. Cooking more. Advocating for myself. Negotiating for change. A job with less travel. A job with less hours. A Pilates apprenticeship. A health coach training program. A plant-based culinary program. Functional nutrition training. Transitioning to working for myself with clients that inspired me. Starting a podcast.
It took me many years to make all of those changes and experiments. I tried and failed. I tried and succeeded. It took a lot of heart, smarts and guts. It still does. There’s always an opportunity to learn and grow.
Besides the School of Life, you can learn more about my work and education right here.
What's the deal with the name vital corps?
The name of my boutique practice is pronounced like vital core. The meaning is quite literal: vital: \ˈvī-təl\ adj. 1: full of life and vigor + corps: \ˈkȯr\ n. 1. French, from Old French cors, from Latin corpus body; 2: a group of persons associated together or acting under common direction
What is my mission at vital corps?
To create a connected vital corps of healthy, energized, and assertive women leading lives spiked with passion + slathered with joy.