Faces of Hope: Karen Ortiz, Outreach Specialist
August 13, 2019
Karen Ortiz is a member of HopeWay's dedicated team of Outreach Specialists who meet and build relationships with service providers, including hospitals, outpatient therapists, education consultants, and other specialty doctors, in a multi-layered effort to spread the word about HopeWay and our premier services.
Karen and her family moved to Charlotte 12 years ago from Scottsdale, AZ. She has a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a concentration in Marketing from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. Karen has worked for Fortune 100 companies like NCR Corporation and Abbott Laboratories in sales, marketing and training. She was a Girl Scout leader for 10 years, is a certified bee keeper, and has been involved in various boards and volunteer positions at her children's schools. Enjoy getting to know more about Karen through the fun Q&A we did with her below!
Q: If you could pack your bags and leave today for vacation, where would you go and why?
A: I would dare myself to merely pack a backpack and travel light to Italy. I have never been and would adore seeing the Sistine Chapel, The Last Supper, Cinque Terre, and the list goes on. I love art and would be in heaven.
Q: What is your favorite method of self-care?
A: I'm an avid reader and read 30-40 books a year. It's one of my favorite past-times that both relaxes and educates me. I practice yoga regularly and meditate and pray. I believe in Dr. Peck's (HopeWay psychiatrist) explanation of how mental health is like the seat of the stool. Sleep, exercise and diet are the three legs on which it stands. When one of those three legs are missing, you're out of balance.
Q: What is the next thing you want to cross off your bucket list?
A: I find the most exciting and enjoyable moments in life with family and friends have been spontaneous and completely organic. I'm not a fan of bucket lists, and tend to go the road less traveled to see where that takes me. Adventure is just around the corner and joy can be experienced every day in the smallest moments.
Q: What is one of your favorite memories of working at HopeWay?
A: One day, after finishing a tour with a local psychiatrist, I returned to our lobby. There I witnessed one of our clients saying good-bye to her treatment team as she prepared to discharge from programming. There were hugs, smiles and happy tears. Sincere requests were made to keep in touch, and the look on her face (and her husband's) is forever ingrained in my mind. She was so happy and hopeful for the future. Another beautiful surprise was that I saw her again at the Out of Darkness Community Walk - a walk to fight suicide. We walked together, and she shared her story of how HopeWay saved her life.
Q: Why did you choose to work at HopeWay?
A: My role is a particularly beautiful marriage of my neuroscience pharmaceutical experience, personal interest and passion in mental health/addiction and sales experience. It taps into what brings me joy while also utilizing my strengths. The Japanese concept of Ikigai, meaning "a reason for being", is what I hoped to achieve when I chose to work for HopeWay. Like most families in our country, I have been touched by mental illness and addiction. Knowing that I work for a mission-driven organization that helps people access the care they deserve when there aren't many places to turn, is frankly amazing.