Karen Keene, director of marketing at Dean Mead, has been chosen by i4 Business as one of its 2018 Business Leaders of the Year. Keene receives the distinction of Social Entrepreneur of the Year for her years of contribution to ATHENA Orlando Women’s Leadership. She also serves as the group’s president.
About her commitment to the organization and her advocacy for women, Keene stated, “I’m a strong supporter of seeing women who have remarkable talents and diverse backgrounds be brought to the forefront.”
Keene’s involvement with ATHENA International, founded by Martha Mayhood Mertz in 1982, began with the ATHENAPowerLink® Program. She helped bring the program to Central Florida in 2005. Keene then organized a group to bring in another ATHENA initiative – the Women’s Leadership Lunch. Keene and Jennifer Johnson established a partnership with UCF and enlisted the help of community leaders, which led to success. However, they didn’t stop there.
Following the successes of the other initiatives, they started ATHENA NextGen, which was a pilot program that is now being replicated in other cities around the world. Facilitated by local women leaders, each year a class of 55 women meets once a week for eight months to discuss leadership principles. The program in Orlando celebrated its fifth anniversary this year. It has graduated 265 emerging leaders and established a $100,000 scholarship with UCF.
Keene says her greatest inspiration comes from her mother. “She was such an advocate of women having a voice, and she would say to me, ‘I want you to go out there and find your passion, and then I want you to go out and try to make that opportunity available for other women.’ I try to remember that whenever it seems like it might be too much — that was what she left for me.”
About Karen Keene:
Keene joined Dean Mead in 2010. Prior to that, she was regional marketing manager and director of communications for the law firm Foley & Lardner LLP. Keene’s career also has included the role of marketing director at an engineering and architecture firm. She graduated from Rollins College with a bachelor’s degree in organizational communications.
About i4 Business – Business Leaders of the Year:
i4 Business recognizes the incredible entrepreneurs and business leaders who are shaping Central Florida. We tell the story of their professional journeys, the lessons that take a lifetime to acquire and the leadership principles that have guided their success.
In order to give our audience the opportunity to have an even more personal exposure to these transformative individuals and to celebrate their achievements, we present our Business Leaders of the Year event. The i4 Business 2018 Business Leaders of the Year is a rare opportunity to meet and hear from leaders in healthcare, technology, civic development, entrepreneurialism and more, who are having an impact not only their business sector, but on the larger business and cultural ecosystem.