Karen is our Office Administrator. Her support of the employees and clients of NAP is invaluable. Here is a quick Q & A with Karen!
What is your role at NAP?
My official title is Office Administrator but that doesn’t paint a true picture of all I do to support the employees and clients of the agency. I do provide a variety of administrative duties which range from answering phones to stuffing mailers. I’m also a technology coordinator serving as a liaison between our employees and our IT consultant and carriers. Perhaps the biggest portion of my time is spent supporting our Accounting Manager by reconciling commissions received from our carriers and brokers. I love the fact that I provide support to each department and each employee!
What would people never guess you do in your role?
Each month I reconcile an average of 125 separate commissions statements. Think of it as balancing 125 checkbooks to the penny each month!
What aspect of your role do you enjoy the most?
Believe it or not, I really like answering the phones. I try to be a pleasant first contact to our customers before directing them to the employee who is best suited to handle their call. However, my favorite aspect of my job is the commissions reconciliation. I’ve always been organized and precise, plus I love working with numbers, so it is an ideal fit for me!
Before working here, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?
May I tell you one of each? My most unusual job was during college when I was hired as a temporary employee to do inventory at a local department store. The job had to be done at night when the store was closed. I spent several sleepless nights counting every single item in the kitchen department. Not very glamorous, but certainly unusual. The most interesting job I’ve ever had was as a paraprofessional in my local elementary school. The 12 years I spent working with special needs children were some of the most rewarding years of my life so far.
What kinds of hobbies and interests do you have outside of work?
Many of my outside interests involve volunteer work, much of it at my church. I am a Deacon and hold the position of Secretary for that committee, I greet and register clients at our local food pantry, and I participate in the Hand Bell Choir. Last summer I joined the Mission Team and spent a week in SC doing a variety of home repair projects for families in need. I’ll be heading back to SC with the team in July to spend a week doing disaster work resulting from last fall’s flooding. When I was working at the elementary school, I began helping to organize one of my favorite volunteer programs, the Senior Program, which pairs sixth-grade students with senior citizens as mentors to emphasize ways to have fun without drugs and alcohol. Outside of my volunteer activities, I enjoy antiquing, attending concerts, anything that involves being at the beach, and, above all, cooking. I find it very rewarding to transform ordinary ingredients into something extraordinarily delicious!
What is one thing you couldn’t live without?
That’s easy: the unconditional love and support I receive from my husband, Bruce, and children, Jennifer and Daniel.
What is your hidden talent or an interesting fact about you?
I love to travel! So far I’ve been to 24 states and 22 countries/territories. My number one travel goal is to someday visit Australia and New Zealand.
What is your favorite movie and book? Why?
My favorite movie is It’s A Wonderful Life. It has become a part of my family’s Christmas tradition to watch it together every December, and yes, I always cry at the end. To me it is a yearly reminder that our actions can and do make a difference in the lives of others, even if it is not immediately apparent. My mother was a librarian so I grew up with a love for reading. I love how a good book can paint a mental image that makes you feel like you are a part of the story. Two that have done this especially well are The Jungle by Upton Sinclair and Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier. It is so hard to choose one favorite so let me just say this: my favorite book is any book I’m reading on a warm, sunny beach!
What is your motto, personal mantra, or favorite quote?
Treat others as you would like to be treated. So basically I try to live by the Golden Rule.
When are you happiest?
My husband, Bruce, and I have two wonderful children. Because we are practically “empty nesters,” there are fewer opportunities for the four of us to be together. Nothing makes me happier than spending time with them. And if we happen to be on the beach, I’m even happier!