Military service runs deep in Karen’s family, with both her parents having proudly served in the Armed forces. Aged 18 and fresh out of high school, Karen joined the Royal Australian Air Force, keen to follow in her parent’s footsteps and explore the world beyond her hometown of Redcliffe, QLD.
The 20-year RAAF career that followed included many highlights; participating in an overseas exchange program between RAF and RAAF personnel, promotion to Warrant Officer, and being the first RAAF woman to lead an all-female flight on a Battle of Britain parade amongst them. Working predominantly in training and education roles, Karen provided career advice and support to serving members preparing to transition from the ADF. Her last few years of service saw her work come full circle as she travelled around Victoria, attending various tertiary and school career expos when she interviewed hundreds of young men and women interested in commencing their own rewarding ADF careers.
Since leaving the RAAF, Karen has worked in various HR/recruitment and career transition roles across many different industries, including Emergency Services, Engineering, Utilities, Mining and the Not-for-Profit sectors and is now Diversity Recruitment and Careers Manager with Aurecon.
With firsthand experience of the challenges they can face, Karen is a passionate advocate for veterans. As well as holding a long-standing voluntary role as Board Director at her local RSL club, Karen has previously worked as a Senior Pathways Officer for Soldier On. Through this role, she has seen first-hand the positive impact Soldier On’s support services offer veterans and their families. She is excited to maintain that connection now as a Soldier On ambassador.