Karen Clark Cole

Karen Clark Cole_Chapter Be-mark_gsellman

Karen Clark Cole is one of those people who you meet and wonder, “Has she found extra hours in the day?!” She’s someone who you want to shadow and figure out how she manages to run two companies and still have time for a personal life. Well, it is because she makes the time to do both and has made the conscious effort to live a life where she is present and living in the moment. And this is how she runs her companies, too – expecting the same of her employees.

Karen is the CEO and Co-Founder of Blink UX, a Seattle-based User Experience Research and Design Firm, and about a year and a half ago started a speaker event that has turned into Girls Can Do, an event series that “hosts events around the country…where girls come to engage, connect, and share experiences with amazing women speakers who are pursuing their dreams.” The ultimate goal is to inspire a generation of possibility thinkers.

Girls Can Do started as a one-time event, but it became clear to Karen that the movement was bigger than she was and that it needed to continue and grow. She realized that there was a real need for young women and girls to have role models to look up to and realize that they had the potential to do and be anyone that they wanted. It was important that this space was created and that there was a way to connect the need with the real life stories of possibility.

So, she did not necessarily choose this new path to walk down, but it was there and she had no choice but to follow it and see where it led. We discuss how she balances it all, the importance of being truly present and learning how to listen to your intuition.

Listen below to learn more about Karen’s Chapter Be story…



DFC_2468-mark_gsellman[02:00] What is Girls Can Do and how did it come to be?

[7:00] Why Girls Can Do is all about focusing on what women are doing and the power of sharing positive stories about possibility. What can happen when you tap into your creative subconscious and start thinking, “I already am.”

[9:45] You can change what you believe. “If you believe something about yourself, you can actually change that and believe something different.”

Girls Can Do_Seattle2015_Karen Clark Cole-mark_gsellman

How Karen’s move from being a studio art major to working in technology is really all about creative thinking.

[14:14] Karen’s experiences and perspective on being a woman working in the technology field.

[17:05] How Girls Can Do was a happy accident – it was a movement that started itself!

[22:22] The impact that Karen’s daughter had on how she ran her businesses – “Be Present” became her philosophy across the board. “I realized I had a choice, and I made the choice to be in the moment.”

DSCF7391-mark_gsellman[27:36] “Everyone has the potential within them to do whatever they want.”

[30:43] The struggles with starting Girls Can Do. “Don’t be afraid to adjust or change on the fly!”

[37:28] Karen’s advice if you see a need in your community – “Have a vision, but start small” and know the difference between your intuition telling you something is wrong and feeling uncomfortable.



A Possibility Thinker

What’s your favorite quote?

“Aliveness is the real enjoyment in doing what you do. It’s excitement…exhilaration that makes you feel glad to be alive. It’s the joy, stimulation, and pleasure that makes life worth living. The best way I’ve found to generate aliveness is to get someone to do what they really want to do. What you want to do is always your best option in life, because life appears to be set up for you to get what you want, IF you dare to want it. So, when you are making choices, do what you want most – NOT which choice makes the most sense.”  – Anonymous

Worst work experience?

Security guard at a community center

What is your definition of success?

Feeling happy, fulfilled and making a difference in the world.

How do you tap into your creative energies – especially when you are feeling drained?

Going for a long run always clears my mind and helps me see things more clearly and in better perspective. I also am very creative on airplanes! It has just the right amount of white noise, focused space, alone time and the best view in the world. I always have better perspective after a long flight.

What does “to be” mean to you?

Living life with purpose and to the fullest every day.

How do you spend your time when you are procrastinating?


Ideal READING LIST – books, websites, blogs, podcasts, magazines, etc. that you would want on your Swiss Family Robinson deserted island?

  1. Fully Present: The Science, Art and Practice of Mindfulness by Susan L. Smalley PhD and Diana Winston
  2. Lou Tice’s Personal Coaching for Results by Thomas Nelson [You have to be very conscious about what you let into y control your forethought. When you do this, you can achieve really anything.]
  3. INC Magazine

Favorite song with “be” in the title?

Don’t Be Shy by Pearl Jam

Girls Can Do from dZinenmOtion on Vimeo.



Images via Mark Gsellman & Girls Can Do

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