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Member Spotlight: Karen

Member Spotlight November 30, 2018

At, we appreciate our community of skilled members! For our next Member Spotlight, we sat down with Karen Etchells, experienced Digital Marketer. Read about her approach to digital marketing and life.

Humans: Please tell us about yourself! When did you realize that Digital is your passion?

Karen: I studied communications and journalism in college. However, I struggled with shyness. I was drawn to writing but had difficulty interviewing others for the college newspaper, frightened of public speaking, etc. I was discouraged by advisors who told me that careers in writing were few and there was no money to be made. 

Being the daughter of a divorced mom who raised me and my sister alone, I was encouraged to find a good day job with benefits. I accepted a position as a Letter Carrier with the US Postal Service. I delivered mail for 10 years, familiar with every crack in the sidewalk and every household’s magazine subscriptions, but feeling unfulfilled. 

It was 1995 and I was delivering catalogs for the Rhode Island School of Design’s continuing education program. I paged through a catalog and felt an immediate pull. The “Worldwide Web” as it was called, was in its infancy. The program I chose was Computer Graphics. 

By that time, I was a mom of four children. I left my Letter Carrier job for a new position positioning me in front of a computer. As an Administrative Assistant for a non-profit, I learned the ins and outs of a very basic Apple Macintosh computer, came home to put on dinner for the family and attended classes at night. It was during those classes when the first ever web design class was offered at RISD. Learning to write basic HTML in plain text and how to format imagery for the screen, I could see it was the wave of the future.

Humans: You have been working as the Marketing Consultant since 90s! How has your job changed over this time?

Karen: I no longer need to code in plain text! Today’s tools and plugins make my work easier. Staying on top of changing trends in Digital Marketing is the biggest challenge.

Humans: Has the way you attract your clients changed since you started?

Karen: Being able to position my services in front of a wider audience is a tremendous advantage. puts my skills at the forefront of potential clients that I wouldn’t have otherwise reached. Networking in general, both online and off, has been the best way to grow that “know-like-and-trust” factor, which opens doors to new business opportunities.

Humans: Marketing professionals sometimes have to deal with difficult, capricious clients.  What is your approach to them?

Karen: My job is to serve as a trusted resource and provide guidance. Clients may sometimes come across as difficult because they have a vision of what they want to achieve, and they’re not always clear on the best way to get there. They need to be heard, so most importantly, my job is to listen. The better I understand challenges my clients face, the more effective I can be in helping them to achieve their vision.

Humans: How do you tailor your content?

Karen: Content must be created to address the needs of the target audience. Every good business responds to a problem their potential customers are currently experiencing. I create content that clearly identifies the buyer persona, speaks to him/her in a way that shows the problem is well understood and clarifies how the great buyer will feel after the problem is addressed.

Humans: Do you have a favorite work case?

Karen: A favorite case study of mine was back during the dot-com boom. A businessman with numerous domains discovered me on the Internet and had me build four different websites for him. We had just one conversation by phone, and he paid me upfront. This was most unusual because we had never met in person, but he was for real, and the projects progressed smoothly!

Humans: A piece of advice for anyone considering to take your career steps

Karen: I would say my best piece of advice for someone just starting out with a Digital Marketing career, is to network with others in the field. The field is constantly evolving and it’s important to stay ahead of the curve. Having strong connections with others who have complementary skills can most definitely be a win-win arrangement!

To learn more about Karen, visit her profile:

Stay tuned for more spotlights on skilled members of our diverse community.