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May Team Spotlight: Meet Karen Sheperd

Karen Sheperd, Optima’s Human Resources Manager, was born in St. Petersburg, Florida, grew up in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, and eventually moved to California in 1977. Karen joined the Optima family in early 2020, but her wide-ranging career has included over twenty-eight years in mortgage banking. In addition to her formidable professional life, Karen is a devoted grandmother, birder, and gardener.

As Human Resources Manager, Karen enjoys making meaningful contributions to various aspects of corporate life, including payroll, recruiting, onboarding, and benefits administration. Client-wise, Karen handles human resources for an essential business in Carlsbad that manufactures key equipment for hospitals nationwide such as San Diego’s very own Rady Children’s Hospital who used the smart cabinet system to store the COVID vaccine. Karen also works for a distinguished interior design firm in Orange County. 

Outside the office, Karen loves to connect with nature. She enjoys birdwatching, and her home garden boasts eight birdfeeders along with seven fountains which attract ample feathered friends. Karen also loves to get creative around the home, and regularly tackles DIY projects both small and large with a little help and inspiration from HGTV. 

When Karen’s grandson was born, she was able to take time off work to care and bond with her growing family, and in the process moved from Orange County to the historic small town of Julian, California. Now, she enjoys spending time with family, specifically her three grandchildren. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Karen has made time to Zoom with her 17-year-old granddaughter and 7-year-old grandson in Florida. Locally, her 6-year-old granddaughter enjoys creating fairy gardens, practicing gymnastics, and watching Coyote Peterson adventures. 

A healthy balance between work and family remains essential to Karen. At the end of each day, she reviews her accomplishments and feels good about trying her best, finding solutions wherever possible, and planning for the next day. She tries to live by this wisdom from botanist Liberty Hyde Bailey: “A garden requires patient labor and attention. Plants do not grow merely to satisfy ambitions or to fulfill good intentions. They thrive because someone expended effort on them.” Karen relates to this quote in both her business and personal life. “When we apply patient labor and attention to our clients, co-workers, community, family, and friends,” Karen says, “we see growth, and lives thrive by our meaningful efforts.”


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